NCHA Honors 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees

The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) elected new officials and honored Hall of Fame inductees at the 2010 convention in Grapevine, Texas.
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The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) elected new officials and honored Hall of Fame inductees at the 2010 convention in Grapevine, Texas.

June 30, 2010 -- The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) held its annual convention, sponsored in part by Boehringer Ingelheim, June 18-20 at the Hilton DFW in Grapevine, Texas. New officers were elected, and Hall of Fame inductees were recognized at the 2010 convention.

Seven new executive board members were installed at convention. Chris Benedict, of Weatherford, Texas, will serve as NCHA President for the next year. Benedict is taking over for Chubby Turner, also of Weatherford, Texas, who was the 2009-2010 president.

President-elect Keith Deaville, of Covington, La., is next in line for the presidency and will take the position at the 2011 convention.

Ernie Buetenmiller Jr., of Union, Mo., was recently elected as vice president by a vote of membership.

The open At Large position was filled in a run-off election between Bruce Richerson and Bill Riddle. By majority vote, Richerson accepted the three-year term at the General Membership meeting.

Three regional representatives were elected to serve the next three years - Region III selected Don Strain, of White River, S.D.; Region IV selected Chuck Smith, of Canal Winchester, Ohio; and Region VIII selected Matt Gaines of Weatherford, Texas.

Members Hall of Fame

The NCHA Hall of Fame was created to honor those who consistently exhibit high moral character, good sportsmanship, fairness, extraordinary commitment to the cutting horses in the NCHA, and an exemplary contribution of time, effort and interest in the NCHA and its basic endeavors.

New inductees to the NCHA Members Hall of Fame were honored at a reception Saturday night. Inductees for 2010 comprised Judy Burton Armstrong, of Gladewater, Texas; Bobby Cook, of Port Allen, La.; Carolyn Crist, of Fort Worth, Texas; Don Neuenschwander, of Houston, Texas; Dave Robson, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Mike Wells, of Houston, Texas.

Judy Burton Armstrong, daughter of Bob Burton, was riding before NCHA was formed. She learned to cut on one of her father's horses, NCHA Hall of Fame mare Miss Nancy Bailey, and competed against legends like Matlock Rose, John Carter, and Buster Welch.

Judy's mare of choice as a teenager was a paint named Calamity Jane. In 1956 and 1957 she finished in the Top 10 aboard Calamity Jane in the NCHA Open. She was the first teenager to be in the Top 10. Calamity Jane became the first mare entered in the American Paint Horse Association Registry and was inducted in the APHA Hall of Fame. Judy is still involved in the industry and owns several cutting horses shown by her nephew Randy Fanning.

The late Bobby Cook was active in many disciplines from shoeing to training, but he chose to focus on cutting. As Bruce Richerson put it, "His lifetime earnings were made the hard way--showing at weekend cuttings. Weekend after weekend throughout the years, Bobby would attend shows, helping anyone who asked. He loved the NCHA and presented it in a positive manner to all those who surrounded him."

Bobby took an active role in his clients who were mostly non-pros, amateurs, and youth cutters. Many of his youth clients went on to win the NCHA Youth World Championship. He was an NCHA AAAA judge and was admired for being fair and impartial. He also encouraged others to give something back to the sport through judging.

Carolyn Crist has worked within every department in NCHA. When she came to work in September of 1976, NCHA had six employees and no specialists. Carolyn came to NCHA in the era of Zack Wood who personally trained her in every area of the association.

Gala Nettles, Madisonville, Texas, noted that "everybody knew Carolyn. You might not know anyone else in the show management, but you knew Carolyn. She was the voice and face of NCHA. Everyone associated her with the association." Carolyn considered NCHA her family and has enjoyed watching riders grow up in the association.

Don Neuenschwander helped lay the groundwork for NCHA's solid financial footing. Don's background in banking allowed him to bring NCHA up to speed in the accounting department where NCHA had only had different checking accounts that shows were managed through before Don's help. He and his father sorted through all the association's bank statements and set up an accounting system. A complete set of books was developed after three months--at no cost to NCHA.

As part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, he also worked with NCHA to incorporate the World Finals with the rodeo in the 1980s. Don started cutting when he bought a horse "by accident". A friend sent

Dave Robson's farm background not only got him his first job, it also got him to his first cutting in the late 1950s when he started watching the greats like Peppy San, Matlock Rose, Chunky Woodward, and Bill Collins. He bought his first acreage in 1973 and showed in AQHA classes for a few years before joining in the snaffle bit futurity hype. That led to his first cutting horse purchase from Bill Collins.

Dave then became a director, president, and then one of the board of governors of the Canadian Cutting Horse Association. He launched the Canadian Supreme, held in Alberta each fall, which has been called Canada's best show. Last year it paid out nearly half a million dollars, and it includes a stallion/foal program with 117 participating stallions. Dave is a straightforward, committed cowboy/businessman with strong values.

Mike Wells bought his first horse at age 28 and tried his hand at calf roping. That all changed when he bought the first cutting horse he ever rode, an old King Ranch gelding named Bob K Jr.

Mike joined the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1965 where he served on and later chaired the cutting horse, Quarter Horse, and Palomino committees. He also served as a director for AQHA and NCHA, on NCHA's executive committee, and played a major role in bringing the NCHA World Finals to Houston in the 1980s.

During his years as a competitor, Mike earned a place in the non-pro top 10 and was a judge at the NCHA Futurity and Super Stakes. Mike is noted for being a humble man who serves his community and its youth and a steadfast Christian. These characteristics and many more have earned him the respect of the cutting horse industry as well as his professional peers.

Affiliate of the Year
The Affiliate of the Year award recognizes an outstanding organization based on entries at the affiliate's shows, innovations, awards and sponsorships, cooperation with other affiliates, and other activities.

The 2009 Affiliate of the Year award went to Western States Cutting Horse Association. Gail Holmes and Dan Stroh were in attendance to accept an official NCHA trophy on behalf of Western States.

The 2009 Reserve Affiliate of the Year was PK Cutters Cutting Horse Association. Clay Johns and Secretary Dee McLachlin accepted a plaque on behalf of the PK Cutters.

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Awards
Each year, AQHA recognizes the top breeding horses based on money earned by their offspring in NCHA competition during the calendar year. Each winner received an official AQHA trophy.

Chers Shadow was the 2009 leading dam. Co-owner Lindy Burch, Oxbow Ranch, accepted the award.

Cat Ichi earned the 2009 leading freshman sire trophy. Guy Woods accepted the trophy on behalf of Jo Ellard, EE Ranches.

High Brow Cat took his seventh leading sire award. Jack Waggoner, Waggoner Ranches, accepted the award.

Horses Hall of Fame
Cutting horses are inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame based on their earnings or by winning at least two designated major events or World Championships. Five horses qualified in 2009. Each received an official Hall of Fame certificate.

Hydrive Cat, owned by Shane and Jane Plummer of Fort Worth, Texas; Metallic Cat, owned by Alvin and Becky Fults of Amarillo, Texas; Oh Cay Felix, owned by Patrick and Laura Collins of Lincoln, Ill.; Our Little Dyno, owned by Jeffrey and Margaret McCoy of Weatherford, Texas; and Third Cutting, owned by Carl and Shawnea Smith of Jacksboro, Texas.

Non-Pro Hall of Fame
Non-Professionals are inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame based on earnings or on having won a combination of designated events. Five non-pros were inducted in 2009. Each received an official Hall of Fame certificate.

Lindy Ashlock, Baird, Texas; Spunky Hawkins, Morton, Miss.; Billy Martin, Millsap, Texas; Lach Perks, Rockford, Ill.; and Stacy Shepard, Summerdale, Ala.

Open Rider Hall of Fame
Open riders are inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame based on earnings of more than $1 million or by winning a combination of designated events. Five riders were inducted in 2009. Each received an official Hall of Fame certificate.

David Costello, Paso Robles, Calif.; Zeke Entz, Collierville, Tenn.; Sean Flynn, Weatherford, Texas; Lee Francois, Murchison, Texas; and Gavin Jordan, Wilton, Calif.

The Zack T. Wood Memorial Golf Tournament kicked off the convention on Thursday, June 17. The first place team was comprised of Nick Karanges, Bobby Hunt, Trey Hunt, and Mike Muzile. Longest drive winners were Shawn McCoy and Mike Muzik. Mike Muzik and Chris Hodges were closest to the pin winners.

The NCHA has more than 20,000 members from a wide range of backgrounds. Each year more than 2,200 NCHA-approved events are held throughout North America, with more than $43 million in prize money awarded. For more information visit www.nchacutting.com.