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☛ The business of running a “business” 9-3-18




By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
September 2, 2018


On July 18, 2014, I authored and released an article, on, entitled; “WHERE’S THE HORSE INDUSTRY HEADED?”  The article covers a myriad of topics that were plaguing the American horse industry back then, and in some degrees, with exception, are still plaguing the equine industry today. This article had the most comments ever, with 99 – all agreeing.


However, we haven’t seen much progress in two of the focal points of the article, directly contributing to a loss of membership, investors, and participation in the industry: bad horse trainers and the mismanagement of a 501(C)3 Nonprofits. It’s been established that equine nonprofits are very reluctant to intervene in helping to eradicate immoral, unethical, abusive and downright bad horse trainers from the industry, except for animal abuse.

☛ Where is the horse industry headed? – 7-18-14

Well ladies and gentleman, what about member abuse? During my tenure in the horse industry, I’ve witnessed an increase in civil litigation involving horse trainers and their client or clients battling it out in the court system over a fraud dispute that usually emanates from some horse trainer’s bad, unethical, and in some cases just outright – bad and illegal business practices. In fact, there’s a large populous of unsuspecting newcomers to the horse industry who are victims of unscrupulous horse trainers, on an annual basis. The sad commentary to this ever-increasing problem is, that every time these victims turn to the 501(C)3 nonprofit for assistance or relief, the victim hears the same old pathetic excuse: We Don’t Have a Rule For That ! ”


Perhaps it’s time for the “Powers-That-Be” running these struggling multi-million dollar 501(C)3 non-profits, to get together and design and adopt specific rules to govern its horse trainers, as well as, in some cases, their illegal and unscrupulous bad business practices. After all, investors and members are the backbone of any 501(C)3 nonprofit horse organization and not the horse trainers, as they often recite. I know these facts to be self-evident because I’ve been involved in a myriad of unethical business practices in the industry, committed by horse trainers,  from a “Risk Analyst’s” perspective.


When appropriate and where probable cause exists, I have on more than one occasion recommended a further review by law enforcement to ascertain whether or not prosecution for specific law violations are warranted and as a result of my Risk Analyst determinations. However, a 501(C)3 nonprofit doesn’t have any problems asking members for free time and donations to support these “over-priced” individuals occupying management positions within the organization.  For doing what?  protecting bad horse trainers and their unethical conduct and actions, which usually results in running good people out of the business!

In my opinion, when a horse organization doesn’t establish rules and regulations to protect innocent and unsuspecting members, investors and newcomers to the industry, then they are essentially condoning these types of unethical business practices. They are ostensibly going right along with the bad actors!


Case-in-point, when a horse trainer is sued in court by two separate horse organization member Plaintiffs and accused of fraud involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, my question is, “Why is this individual being sued still a member of any horse organization?” Or better yet, “Why isn’t this individual in jail and being prosecuted?”


For the record, I’ve been in business, in the private sector, since January 28, 1984.  Since inception, my company has been registered in the state of organization, both my Federal and State taxes have all been filed and paid on a recurring annual basis – when necessary, all business licenses are up-to-date, issued 1099s are accounted for and my company has an A+ business rating with the Better Business Bureau. If I have to comply, why shouldn’t everyone else calling themselves a business owner?  Especially, the ones operating with a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and using a business moniker such as “Incorporated,” Limited Liability Company,” “Sole-Owned-Proprietorship,” a “Doing Business As (dba)” or “an assumed name?”


In business, we call this being fiscally responsible. In addition to being fiscally responsible, I also have another prudent business practice: “I offer a “100 percent, full-satisfaction money-back guarantee” on all of my business products and services, including “horse training.”  It’s just “good business practice.” However, there’s one difference that separates my company’s clientele from the horse industry. It’s referred to as “over-sight.” Unlike 501(C)3 nonprofits in the horse industry, that don’t exercise any or very little “over-sight” of horse trainers except horse abuse or issuing a bad check, my clients demand “over-sight” and I either adhere to compliance protocol or I find another place to work.


Obviously, that’s the difference between governmental agencies like the Department of Defense and the petrochemical industry versus the unregulated horse industry. Another major difference between my business criteria and the horse industry is by example: background checks, criminal record checks and drug and alcohol tests. Alone, these criteria strictly separate the good from the bad so-to-speak. The latter is also the criteria, which is lacking in the horse industry and allows individuals with criminal records to infiltrate and seemingly blend in with the overall good and excellent horse trainers in the industry, who bad horse trainers and their unscrupulous and often times “illegal” business dealings, give a bad stigma also.


Therefore, until the “powers-that-be” take the “reins of responsibility” and move to enact membership rules to “counteract” unscrupulous horse trainers and their diabolical practices, I’m afraid the horse industry is going to continue to experience a significant decline in membership, participation, investors and sponsors.


In the mean time, there are a lot of changes that 501(C)3 nonprofits can enact to enhance the viability of an organization, i.e., 1) term limits for how long and how many times an individual can occupy a seat on an organizations executive committee, 2) the removal of horse trainers from the Executive Committee and decision-making status, 3) a financial restructuring to reduce employees and overhead expenses (i.e., expenses and salaries for executives and employees, to come in-line with available cash-flow), 4) and enacting rules to address fraud and unscrupulous acts committed by its members.  After all, the horse industry is suppose to be fun and not a legal exercise in a courtroom because of fraud and illegal business practices.


As a professional reined cow horse trainer, my job is to train horses, students and prepare them for the show ring. I’m a big believer that businesses should be run by successful business people with expansive business experience and logic – not by horse trainers whose primary mission is to protect their food source “so-to-speak,” as well as other horse trainers when necessary, as we’ve all seen in the past. A horse trainer’s job is to train horses, bring new customers into the industry and represent themselves, their clients and the association in an ethical business manner and atmosphere. As we see today, well-run organizations, like the National Reined Cow Horse Association are flourishing, while others that are not practicing prudent and fiscally responsible business practices, are on a rapid decline in members, sponsors and investors.



 During my tenure in the horse industry I’ve witnessed a lot of regime changes over the years, but one in particular stands out: the National Cutting Horse Association.  When I first came into the industry, Jeff Hooper was the Executive Director, next came Allen Stein then Jim Bret Campbell. The next interim Executive Director was Ernie Beutenmiller, then Chuck Smith and now the interim Executive Director is Louis Wray. It’s my opinion that when these many executive employee changes transpire in such a short period of time, it’s usually a result of inexperience within the executive staff.


However whatever the cause, instability with upper management within an organization exhibits nothing else but unsound business experience within the rank and file of upper management, a fight for power dominance within the organization and subsequently translates in the long run into a reduction in membership and loss of sponsor revenue. The tragedy in this “helter-skelter” ring around the rosy of Executive Director roles is that it’s a very expensive proposition for the nonprofit, especially when they have to pay a former Executive Director the full amount of his employment contract financial agreement – even after the individual has left employment with the organization before his full tenure is up. This is not a very good, sound or prudent business practice!


Over-all, now’s the time for 501(C)3 nonprofits to perform a little “soul-searching” and determine the best course of action for them to viably sustain the organization in the future. Remember, horse trainers are not the backbone of an organization.  The real money that makes the “world-go-round” comes from investors, METF funds, members and sponsors. Without these entities, nonprofits wouldn’t exist and neither would horse trainers. As my contribution to the horse industry I wrote a book many years ago entitled: THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding The Pitfalls which was written to provide members in the horse industry with common-sense business practices to avoid the pitfalls inherent in the industry and some of which are covered in this article. If an individual really wants to know how financially responsible your 501(C)3 nonprofit is doing, you can go to, enter your nonprofit’s name and research a specific year’s IRS 990 tax filing to see exactly what’s going on financially with them, including the amount of salaries being paid and who they are paid to.


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:


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☛ To Glory Ann and her readers 9-1-18

Posted by on Sep 1, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, TO THE EDITOR, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 8 comments


Sept. 1, 2018
By Name Withheld


Ron Pietrafeso, our President Elect, is to be commended on responding to the questions and letter onAugust 30th. However,I must say that I am not at all shocked at his attempt to skirt the issues by calling into question the facts that have been laid out. I will point out one by one why his answers don’t pass the smell test, in the order that he has laid out:

1. While he is quick to point out that the grievance committee members were peers of Dufurrenas, he failed to mention that Mr. Rapp began defending the Dufurrenas prior to any hearings, and at the same time another of our executive board members, Kathy Daughn, was suggesting no more than 30 days suspension for Ed. Mr. Pietrafeso maintains that our rules do not prohibit Mrs. Dufurrena from showing her horses, and he is DEAD WRONG! **See rulebook page 89, section G, “Any horse that is owned in whole or in part by a suspended person, or that has a suspended person as its agent will not be allowed to enter or compete in an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting horse contest.” Being as the Dufurrenas are married, means that the horses entered as “Shona Dufurrena” as owner is still owned in part by Ed who is suspended, which makes them ineligible to show at the Summer Spectacular. He fails to explain why Mrs. Dufurrena was never sanctioned even though she participated in the Dufurrena family scheme- transferring papers, etc. (Untrue statements and omissions by Mr. Pietrafeso)

2. Mr. Pietrafeso maintains that Mr. Dufurrena didn’t violate his suspension and that Mr. Dufurrena wasn’t an agent for a horse being shown. According to his suspension guidelines, Ed can only be in the stands as a spectator. The fact that he was even in the practice area, not once, but twice, is a violation. Furthermore, the horse that he was attempting to work was a customer’s horse, making Ed an Agent. The suspension guidelines dictate’that Ed can not be the agent of a horse being shown. By the way, this is the horse that Mr. Rapp worked as a favor to Ed. (Another untrue statement by Mr. Pietrafeso)

3. Mr. Pietrafeso states that he has never heard Phil Rapp lobby for no sanctions to be enforced upon any of the Dufurrenas. This may be true, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Rapp didn’t do it, as has been stated by several people with knowledge. The second part of Mr. Pietrafeso’s denial is covered in #2. (weak attempt by Mr. Pietrafeso to cloud the facts)

4. Mr. Pietrafeso claims to have no knowledge about a written complaint being filed. He only needs to talk to the lady at the practice/flag area if he really wants to know the facts. Furthermore, Mr. Pietrafeso has stated that Mr. Rapp and Mr. Ray, along with the police, informed Mr. Dufurrena of the rule he was breaking by being there, and they asked him to leave, which proves the fact that a violation occurred. Why then does Mr. Pietrafeso continue to say there was no violation? (He is absolutely WRONG)

5. Mr. Pietrafeso maintains that the Dufurrenas shouldn’t have to return awards and monies that they won fraudulently. (Did he REALLY say that?!?) The rulebook contradicts Mr. Pietrafeso. **See rulebook page 182, section 4, “The Executive Committee may hold a meeting at any time and place and for any purpose pertaining to the integrity and welfare of the association.” According to the above rule and common sense, the association is obligated to ensure that the awards that were won fraudulently by the Dufurrenas should be returned and given to the rightful winners.

6. Mr. Pietrafeso should be aware that #6 has been answered several times above. (Weak attempt to discredit)

7. Mr. Pietrafeso admits that our membership has dropped drastically, but he doesn’t say why. Could it be because our leaders have been doing what he is doing right now?–Making untrue statements in an attempt to cover up the many bad decisions that are ruining our association. He asks the question if the membership is aware of how the problems are being addressed.–The answer is NO, because the membership is never informed. There is no transparency!

8. Mr. Pietrafeso complains that I have used derogatory complaints in addressing our “leadership”. He is free to use whatever adjectives he likes, but the results, or lack thereof, speak for themselves.

9. Mr. Pietrafeso states that the committee members work long, hard hours on fixing our problems. Does he not know that success is measured by results, not by time spent?

10. Mr. Pietrafeso fails to give a reason as to why other equine disciplines and associations are growing in numbers, while our association is experiencing abandonment.

11. Mr. Pietrafeso states how hard the committees, directors, and volunteers work. Of this fact, I am aware and appreciative. I have said many times that our problems are with our “Leadership”. We need leaders who can lead and make prudent decisions. Common sense is essential in making good decisions, but common sense isn’t very common these days.

Last of all,Mr.Pietrafeso’sattempts to defend Mr.Rapp and his bad decisions fall flat. He is asking for a list of people who are calling for Mr. Rapp’s resignation, when all he has to do is read the comments on, and he will see the growing number. Mr. Rapp has shown inexcusable conduct in connection with the Dufurrena fiasco, a situation that has and is causing great discord in our association. His protection of the Dufurrenas is unparalleled as far as I am concerned, and I have been a member for 40 years.

Does Mr. Pietrafeso realize the Dufurrena debacle is NOT the only issue?–lt’s only the latest. I’m sure he remembers Denny Dunn, who was the chairman of the Grievance committee, who served as the moral authority of our association and was a convicted felon, with numerous indictments against him. Along with Mr. Dunn, I would imagine that Mr. Pietrafeso remembers Chuck Smith, who was given a two-year $500,000 contract to be our Executive Director. Mr. Smith was fired after 6 months, but we have to continue paying his salary, while he sits in Ohio laughing at us. Shouldn’t we have at least kept him employed through the rest of his contract as head janitor, as we still have to pay him anyway? One  would think that our”Leaders”wouldbe embarrassed to have been duped by someone like Mr. Smith. I’m sure Mr. Pietrafeso is sensitive about the above issues. If memory serves correctly, Mr. Pietrafeso was part of the “Leadership” that was responsible for the aforementioned mistakes. I guess we can only hold hope that Mr. Pietrafeso recognizes the mistakes that have been made, and works diligently toward restoring our once great standing in the equine industry. It’s time for those in our “Leadership” to be reminded that the NCHA is a business and needs to be run like one! Performance is what our success should be determined by! Our membership must be appreciated, informed, and protected!

–Name Withheld
“Truth and fact need no name or face”

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☛ An open letter to all NCHA officers, directors and members 8-30-18

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, TO THE EDITOR, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 30 comments





Glory Ann,

Let me start by saying how much my fellow directors and I appreciate your service in exposing the many negative issues within the NCHA. I could liken your reporting to turning on the kitchen light and watching the roaches scurry to find cover. And while it pains me to have our association’s issues broadcast to the general public, many of us believe it is necessary to expose the incompetence, ignorance, maliciousness, and hypocrisy that is rampant in our association’s “Leaders”, in hopes of rectifying all of the problems, to ensure a healthier organization in the future. Several months ago, I came to the realization that the only way to keep our membership informed of the current state of affairs was to use your website as a venue. Therefore, anytime I glean any knowledge of malfeasance or lack of transparency, I decided to keep you informed, and encourage others to do the same. All too often the president, executive director, and the executive board sweep things under the rug, keep the members in the dark, ignore the wishes and pleadings of members and directors, and go about securing their own personal agenda with a total lack of transparency or accountability. THIS MUST STOP NOW!!! There have been too many issues brought forth and too many questions unanswered for the public to ignore any longer. What was a dull yelp, is now a loud scream! We want answers and accountability! We are posing the following questions to be answered by the NCHA ”Leadership” (on this website) within 7 days, as we can no longer wait and hope for the NCHA to keep us accurately informed:

1. Why did the Dufurrenas receive such a lenient punishment, when the precedent for breaking Non-pro Ownership rules had been lifetime suspensions in the past? Why have lesser infractions of various rules received harsher punishment than fraud perpetrated against fellow competitors and members? Why did they get preferential treatment? Why did MRS. Vogel receive sanctions when Ed Dufurrena’s wife, Shona, who not only had knowledge of, but also participated in the fraud, receive no punishment whatsoever? Why were the Dufurrena’s horses allowed to be shown at the Summer Spectacular, when this clearly is in violation of the rules?

2. Why has Ed Dufurrena not received additional punishment for violating the terms of his suspension not once, but 3 times during the Summer Spectacular? (He was asked to leave the practice pen and flag area twice, including the need of police intervention. Also, a suspended person CAN NOT be the agent for/of a horse in NCHA competition)…See the RULE BOOK!!

3. Why did NCHA President, Phil Rapp, try to sway the opinions of potential grievance board members by lobbying for NO sanctions to be brought against the Dufurrenas prior to NCHA hearings on the matter? Furthermore, why did our President come to the aid of Ed Dufurrena (after he was found guilty of ownership violations) by working his horse, when he was just asked to leave the practice pen? Does our president condone the acts of breaking one of our most sacred rules? How does he think this looks to our membership or general public?

4. Why did our President elect, Ron Pietrafeso comment on that there were no suspension infractions committed by Ed Dufurrena, when he clearly violated the rules three times during the Summer Spectacular? Why did Ron choose to ignore the fact that a formal complaint had been signed and witnessed by a prominent NCHA member? Moreover, why did the Executive committee or grievance committee fail to act on this complaint when they held meetings in the days following the show?

S. Have the titles and awards won fraudulently by the Dufurrenas been stripped, and monies returned by the Dufarrenas and awarded to the rightful winners, or persons who placed under the Dufurrenas? Has the NCHA even recognized the rightful winners? What has been done, if anything, in this regard? What will be done, and when will it be done?–If nothing has been, or will be done to rectify this situation, do our “Leaders” think that paying win monies to the Dufurrenas from their horses showing at the Summer Spectacular is a good idea, in principle? Have our “leaders” adopted the thinking that it is okay not to make reparations to those who were directly damaged by the Dufurrenas’ fraud, and wrongfully allow the Dufurrenas’ horses to be shown (and receive win monies) when they shouldn’t have been allowed to compete in the first place?

6. Why doesn’t the NCHA follow and enforce their own rules, which are set out in the rulebook that is distributed to every member? What’s it going to take to make them follow and enforce these rules? Do these rules only apply to a select few who aren’t part of the “Good ‘ol boy system?” Does the NCHA not understand that by not enforcing rules evenly and fairly, and meting out consistent and fair punishments, that our association is at greater legal risk for litigation and public scrutiny?

7. Does our “Leadership” not recognize that our membership has decreased approximately 50% in the past few years?

8. Is our “Leadership” so ignorant as to think that the Texas Mega Event Trust Fund will continue to give money to an organization that is so poorly run, is in an ongoing economic crisis,is in a constant state of turmoil and strife, has a diminishing membership, and doesn’t adhere to or enforce their own rules? Do our”Leaders”not remember that our state funding was drastically cut in the past due to fraudulent accounting and reporting? Are they so ignorant to think that the METF isn’t looking for an excuse to cut funding and reallocate monies to other, more deserving events and associations? Does “Leadership” not understand that by their own actions and lack thereof, that they are jeopardizing the premier events and taking money out of everyone’s pockets, including their own?!? Do they not understand that other events and associations are lobbying the state for funds, and could use our current state of affairs against us in hopes of receiving monies that should be ours?

9. Does our ”Leadership” not understand the need to lead by example, and set forth an agenda of rightness, integrity, fairness, and intelligence?—Do they not know that for decades the NCHA was an example for all other associations to be judged against? Do they not think we should be demonstrating why cutting is the most exciting equine sport, governed by an association that is comprised of smart, forthright, astute, business minded, forward thinking individuals?

10. Does our “Leadership” not understand that we are in direct competition with every other equine association for membership? And in this competition, do they not understand that they and their poor decisions are giving ammunition to our competitors as why NOT to join the NCHA or cutting industry in general?

11. Does our “Leadership” not grasp the fact that our association is in peril? Is there no recognition that actions need to be taken to restore confidence, repair our reputation, and restore the overall health and solvency of our once great association?

To further validate our concerns, one need only to read on facebook and, the remarks of past presidents, committee members, and general members, in reference to how they think the NCHA is being run. If all of us can see the disaster our association has become, why can’t our “Leaders”?

It is due to the aforementioned issues and complacency of our ”Leadership” that we are joining the growing list of those calling for the resignation of NCHA President, Phil Rapp. He has demonstrated such poor leadership, and total disregard for our rulebook, in trying to protect the Dufurrenas in their fraudulent behavior. If he chooses not to resign, we implore the Executive committee to impeach him! Furthermore,we are demanding that the NCHA seek and hire a qualified and experienced Executive Director, who has the knowledge, integrity, and fortitude to resurrect our once great association. We’ve heard the term, “Drain the swamp” lately, and it is high time we do it! Our elected and appointed officials MUST do the job they volunteered for, and do it well…or be removed from their position.

As I stated above, WE ALL WANT ANSWERS! What has been written in this letter is not based on hearsay or rumor, but rather, indisputable FACTS! We deserve a full, accurate, and timely response,on this website! As our President Elect has seen fit to comment, we take this venue as being endorsed by him and feel that this is the proper venue to finally show the transparency we deeply deserve. If there is no response, we can only conclude that there is guilt and culpability in their silence, and we are once again made aware of their lack of competence or care, in keeping their members informed and serving the greater good of the association. We encourage every member to let their thoughts and opinions be known, and share them on Our ”Leaders” must know that we will not go away! We will continue to point out every bad decision, inaction, bad conduct, conflict of interest, act of incompetence, and any act of ignorance demonstrated by our ”Leadership”, no matter who it is or what position they hold. Let’s face it, one doesn’t have to have a PHD to recognize our dire situation, and it’s downright embarrassing!!

Thank you Glory Ann for providing a public forum to reach both our membership and “leadership”! Let’s see if they have enough respect for our membership to fully address ALL of these matters, and provide answers to the questions that shouldn’t have had to be asked!

VERY Sincerely,

Name Withheld

–Let the truth, content, and sincerity of this letter concern the readers, not who wrote it.

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☛ AMERICANA to be held in Augsburg, Germany Sept. 4-9, 2019 – 8-27-18






Augsburg, Germany
August 27, 2018

Want to see the best in Western events in Europe? Make plans now to attend Europe’s Premier Western Event, AMERICANA, scheduled for Sept. 4-9, 2019 in Augsburg, Germany. With a total purse of about $150,000, it is one of the best endowed shows of Europe and is called THE meeting point for Western horse fans from all over the world.

During 2017, AMERICANA celebrated the Western horse and 98 per cent of the 51,300 visitors said they would return the next time. The 331 exhibitors were enthusiastic and 72 percent spoke of excellent or good sales. Nowhere else in Europe will the Western horse fan find such a variety of everything concerning horses and riding as well as lifestyle.


Events will include World Cup cutting and the Bronze Trophy Reining. Both offer a huge purse and have gained worldwide fame.  The ERCHA Open Cow Horse Futurity finals will also be held as well as  numerous fine show acts.


For further information on this event contact: AFAG Messen und Ausstellngen GmbH, Winfried Forster, phone +49 (0) 821-5 89 82 – 143 / fax +49 (0) 821 – 5 89 82-243 or / Ticket sales start at the beginning of November 2018.

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☛ Cutting Horse trainer Albert Rowling passed away at age 63 – 12-14-17

Posted by on Aug 25, 2018 in CUTTING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments



By Claudia Rowling
Dec 14, 2017

Albert Edward Rolwing Jr, 63, passed away on Dec. 12, 2017. Rowling was born on May 17, 1954 in Cairo, Ill., to Albert (Bert) and Mary Jo (Walker) Rolwing. He was raised in Charleston and trained cutting horses in Terrell, Texas, over the past 30 years.


Rolwing was a member of the NCHA and over the course of his career won the Masters in Europe, along with other national recognition and many championships. He took great pride in helping mentor and inspire others in the cutting horse industry.

Rowling is survived by his mother, wife; Claudia Jean (Kirkpatrick) Rowling of Charleston; a daughter Amanda (Jason) Todt of Oran; one brother, Larry Rowling of Cape and three sisters: Diane Newomb of Sikeston, Paulete (Todd) Landerman of Sikeston and Cindy (Terry) of Sikeston. He was preceded in death by his father and one sister: Sharon Rolwing Bryant.


Funeral services were held at St. Henry’s in Charleston, Mo. on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. There was a private family interment.


Claudia’s home address is 3629 State Hwy N., Charleston, MO 63834 and her phone no. is 214-532-1066.

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☛ Keith Barnett dies in horse accident 8-23-18




By Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 23, 2018

Keith Barnett

Keith Barnett, 76, Brenham, Texas, a member of NCHA’s Rider Hall of Fame and an NCHA director for 35 years, was tragically killed on Monday, Aug. 20, when a horse fell on him. He passed away at the Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas.


Born on July 19, 1942 in Cresson, Texas, to his parents Keith and Pauline (Shawn) Barnett, Keith graduated from Mesquite High School. He married the former Paula Annette Daugherty.


He had been a member of the NCHA since 1961, was recognized as the youngest Open Top 10 Rider and he rode Top 10 Open horses in six consecutive decades from the 1960s through the 2010s. He rode 17 Top 10 Open horses and 30 Top 10 finishers in the Novice Division. He received six NCHA World Champion titles including Novice, Geldings and Mares and Reserve World Champion in Open Division. He was the Reserve Champion in the NCHA Open Futurity and the Reserve Champion in the first NCHA Derby held in Albuquerque.


Keith was inducted into the NCHA Riders’ Hall of Fame the first year and was co-founder of the Crawfish Classic. In AQHA competition, he was a two-time AQHA World Champion – Cutting Horse Division and a two-time AQHA Reserve World Champion – Cutting Horse Division. He was also a Bluebonnet CHA Hall of Fame member and was an NCHA 4-A judge and multiple times judged the NCHA Open Futurity. He was also in the ACHA Rider’s Hall of Fame.


Survivors include his wife, Paula, as well as children and spouses: Jimmy Barnett and wife Danielle; Lauren Buth and husband Hans; Byron Lake and wife Margaret as well as grandchildren Madison Buth, Garrison Buth, Justin Lake, Alexandria Lake and Jackson Lake.


His parents preceded him in death, as did his grandchildren Cody and Nikki Barnett.


In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been set up in honor of Keith. Contributions can be made to Brenham National Bank, P.O. Box 2568, Brenham, Texas 77834.


Services are in the care of Brenham Memorial Chapel, 2300 String St., Brenham, Texas. Call 979-836-3611. You can access the on-line guest registration at




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