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☛ Sheila Welch passes at 76 – 12-10-14



By Glory Ann Kurtz
Dec. 10, 2014

Sheila and Buster Welch

Sheila, Welch, wife of cutting legend Buster Welch and a member of the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame passed away on Sunday, Dec. 7 at their home in Rotan, Texas.  Sheila often was hidden in the shadow of her famous husband; however, she made a name for herself in the cutting arena, winning numerous titles and $1,024,972 in NCHA lifetime earnings along the way.


According to an article by Sally Harrison on the NCHA web site, she ranked among NCHA’s Top 10 Non-Pro riders in 1972 and 1978 aboard San Peppy and Peppy San Badger. In 1980, she won the NCHA Non-Pro World Championship riding Doc O Leo, breaking an all-time annual NCHA earnings record for open and non-pro riders. She also set a record that year by winning all four go-rounds of the NCHA Non-Pro World Championship.


She also won the NCHA Non-Pro Super Stakes on Dolly Olena, the Augusta Futurity on CD Chica San Badger and the Memphis Futurity on Haidas Becky.  She is among cutting’s all-time leading money earners.


She didn’t let a stroke in 1999 stop her and in May 2001, she returned to the cutting arena, winning the Reserve Championship of the NCHA Non-Pro Gelding Stakes on Myhaida.


Sheila was born in Wolf Point, Mont., and when she was 10, her family moved to Fresno, Calif., where she won her first award on horseback as a participant in the annual Christmas parade. After attending California State University of Fresno, she married and helped her first husband operate a feedlot, where she became drawn to cutting. Sometime later, she attended a clinic in Texas given by Buster. The rest is history. She and Buster married in 1972, and together they had a combined family of six children including Nina and Dolin Morris and Georgia, Greg, Ken and Ruth Ann Welch. In 1974, she and Buster moved to the King Ranch, where Buster had been hired as a trainer and consultant for the ranch’s Quarter Horse program.


Services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at the River of Life Church, 539 South Hwy 83/84, Abilene, Texas.


Go to to read a more complete article on Sheila’s life written by Sally Harrison.

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