November 7, 2006 -- The reined cow horse industry has evolved from the dedicated trainers and breeders who passed on their knowledge for future generations. At the annual National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Hall of Fame Banquet, held September 28 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, N.V., Bob Knudson, Jim Roeser, Royal Cutter and Doug Williamson were inducted.
A Minnesota native, Bob Knudson began his career buying, selling and training stock horses to establish himself as a trainer. However, it was Knudson's trip to Texas to attend a cutting demonstration by Bust Welch that put him on the map when he brought the use of leg cues on cow horses back to the West Coast.
The biggest event of the day was the Cow Palace Grand Nationals, and Knudson won the prestigious Stock Horse class three years in a row; twice on Bold Rose and once on Cho Cho Plaudet. The fourth year he took 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th place before traveling to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Show to capture the Working Cow Horse Championship. Knudson won the Open year end saddle for the California Reined Cow Horse Association four years in a row, won the Green Stock Horse year end Championship twice, and was the first winner of the World Champion All-Around Stock Horse Championship on Cho Cho Plaudet.
Knudson served on the NRCHA board of directors for about 14 years, and made the deal with John Asquaga to get the Snaffle Bit Futurity moved to Reno. He's been a teacher and mentor to many people, including Paul Hansma, who has won over $4 million in cutting competition.
Jim Roeser was born in Caldwell, Idaho, to a ranching family. He grew up penning cattle, starting colts and riding races at local tracks. Roeser soon found a calling in rodeo, and qualified for the first National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959. He qualified for the finals five times between then and 1964, and took several bareback and saddle bronc championships, as well as being the All Around Champion several times at the Caldwell Night Rodeo.
While riding at the Salinas Rodeo, Roeser took notice of the stock horse classes and retired from rodeo in 1965 to enter the cow horse world. He was one of the founders of the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association, which held its first Futurity in 1975. Roeser placed second in that first futurity and two years later won it on Nik Nack. Between 1982 and 1989 he qualified five horses for the finals of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. He won the bridle class at the Idaho Futurity many times on such horses as Lahekin Tu, Whirlaway Derby, Chase Me Dry, Real Dry and Miss Dry April.
In 1986 Roeser and his wife Carlene Soloman were able to buy the ranch of their dreams on Squaw Creek in southwest Idaho, and Roeser Ranch has since been recognized as an outstanding traditional family ranch that produces world class cow horses. Roeser was honored by the NRCHA in 1991 with the Vaquero Award and in 1994 as Stock Horse Man Of The Year. He remains the only man in history to have qualified for both the NRCHA Futurity finals and the National Finals Rodeo.
Bred in North Texas by Rex Cauble, this son of the NCHA Hall of Fame sire Cutter Bill hit the ground in 1968. Royal Cutter was out of Royal Ida May, a daughter of the great Royal King, and as a yearling attracted the attention of NRCHA Hall of Famer Don Dodge. Soon the gelding was on a trailer headed to California.
Royal Cutter went on to win the herd work, the rein work and the fence work at the Snaffle Bit Futurity with Ken Sutton. Bobby Ingersoll won every major bridle horse competition on him, and after showing him 22 times had only one second place finish. Royal Cutter won the Snaffle Bit Futurity and Hackamore Stakes and made a try for the Triple Crown. Once again, Royal Cutter proved unbeatable as he was crowned the champion of the Bridle Sweepstakes, making him the only horse in NRCHA history to win all three events. Two years later he won it again, and again at age 14.
He retired from reined cow horse competition in Bend, Ore., and passed away in 1995 at the age of 27. His memory lives on in the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest cow horses of all time.
Born in the Southeast corner of Oregon, Doug Williamson grew up as a cowboy on the family ranch. At age 19 Williamson rode his horse Baldy C to beome the high point working cow horse in the nation.
By 1978 Williamson was training full time in Nampa, Idaho, and for 14 years he trained everything from halter horses and cow horses to English equitation horses. In 1987 he pulled through a battle with cancer, and in classic fashion, was aboard Montana Lynx seven months later, taking the reserve championship and winning over $20,000 at the Biggest Little Cutting In The World. Williamson later captured the Open title at the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1992 on Mr San Olen, and since 1990 has made the finals nearly every year. Exactly 10 years after his first Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship, Williamson did it again, this time on a son of Mr San Olen, named Doc At Night.
Williamson had over 30 AQHA Champions in many different events, and ranks among the AQHA's most successful trainers. He remains a contender in reined cow horse competition to this day.
The NRCHA, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse.