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☛ Lonnie Allsup passes at age 84 – 1-29-18




By Glory Ann Kurtz
Jan. 29, 2018

Lonnie Allsup riding Shiney Shorty in 1997.

In 1956 the Texas-native Lonnie Allsup and his wife, Barbara, borrowed $6,500 to open Lonnie’s Drive-in Grocery in Roswell, N.M. While Barbara did the bookkeeping in their bedroom, Lonnie implemented features like cooked food, extended business hours and top placement for high-traffic items. The high school sweethearts were married in 1950.

As business boomed, Allsup expanded into other small cities during the opening decade of what we now call the convenience-store industry, making the Allsups millionaires. However, even though the Allsup chain of convenience stores will still go on, Allsup passed away at the age of 84 on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the Allsups’ home in Clovis, N.M.

Growing up in Morton, Texas, Allsup attended Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Tx. from 1952 to 1953 and after a short stint in the Air Force, it was fast-forward from then on when he purchased that first drive-in grocery that lead to a huge success in the convenience store industry.

In 1964, Allsup sold his 12-store chain to 7-Eleven owner Southland Corp. of Dallas in a deal that netted him $250,000 and due to an extremely weak non-compete clause, he was able to restart his business a few years later 100 miles away in Clovis, N.M.


Lonnie Allsup in front of an Allsups store with an unidentified girl.

According to financial articles, as one convenience store chain after another took Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including 7-Eleven, Circle K, Stop ‘n’ Go, Allsup prospered through niche marketing and a careful attention to costs. Part ownership of a co-operative food warehouse allowed him to sell goods at slightly lower prices. In 1996 and still growing, his stores numbered 310 in New Mexico–including several in Roswell, as well as Texas and Oklahoma. According to Allsup, at that time revenues were at $180 million.


While Lonnie ran the chain, the company is more than a one-person band. Barbara is the corporation’s financial vice president, while his son Mark is the chain’s operations manager.


Besides being the founder of Allsup’s Convenience Stores, Inc. he served as its President and Chief Executive Officer. He also served as Allsup also served as Treasurer and Director of Affiliated Foods, Inc. and President of Allsup Enterprises, Inc. He has been Principal of Zia Broadcasting, Clovis, N.M. since 1971 and as Principal of El Cid Land and Cattle Co Inc., a cutting horse operation in Crystal City, Texas since 1986.

Lonnie Allsup and his wife Barbara owned the highly successful Allsups Convenience Store chain.

However, many in the cutting  horse industry knew the Clovis, N.M., resident as the owner of top-bred cutting horses, with his trainer Pete Branch.

Beginning in 1980, Allsup entered cutting horse shows as an owner and rider. According to Branch, he viewed the sport as a great escape from managing his by then 310 stores in 160 towns from Gallup, N.M., to Pilot Point to San Angelo.

“I just love the touch, the smell and the brightness of a horse,” he said in an interview. “Cutting horses appeal to me because they’re bred smart, and they’re very exceptional athletes.”

Lonnie and Barbara own a 2,300-acre ranch near Farwell, just across the border from Clovis, N.M., that includes a 160-acre equine facility.

“On many days, he’s at the ranch by 6 a.m. and stays up to three hours. The ranch is a haven for him,” said Branch, who, according to NCHA has won more than $3.6 million in NCHA earnings.

“Lonnie is very competitive, and of course his business has gotten to be high-stress,” Branch said. “His cutting horse activities feed his competitiveness and gets him away from the stress of the workplace.”

Little Badger Dulce with Pete Branch in the saddle.

His highest money-earning horse was a mare named Little Badger Dulce, who earned $668,460 during her career, which included a Reserve Championship title at the 1992 NCHA World Championship Futurity, ridden by Branch. In 1993, she won the NCHA Super Stakes, with Branch in the saddle. The pair then went on to win the 4-Year-Old Open at Abilene with a whopping 226 score. The pair also were NCHA Open Reserve Champions twice.

Following her aged-event wins, the great mare carried Allsup to the NCHA 1996 Non-Professional World title. Showing how serious he was about his “cutting horse hobby,” in July of 1996, Allsup was in Fort Worth, where his younger horses were competing in the Summer Spectacular, but he also had Little Badger Dulce entered in a weekend show at Dodge City, Kan. He flew to Dodge City, made his 2 1/2-minute run, then flew back to Fort Worth. He made the round trip three times. Allsup’s current lifetime earnings in the NCHA top $555,000.

The great mare was put down in August of 2016 at the ripe old age of 26.

The Allsups also owned Ms Peppy Cat, the winner of the NCHA World Championship Open title in 2008 and 2010, with Branch in the saddle.

Also, in the 1990s, Allsup, who at that time was serving a term as the president of the NCHA, conducted a successful aged event at his Farwell facility that drew many of the sport’s heavy hitters.

In later years, with cutting horses becoming a business for Allsup, he found solace in fishing with his grandchildren.

Jeff Hooper, NCHA Executive Director at the time said, “He’s been very influential. He’s been involved at every level from being a world champion to owning top open horses. He’s one of the premier breeders, and Allsup-bred horses have a big impact.”

At press time, funeral arrangements had not been announced by Muffley  Funeral Home in Clovis.

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