Six individuals were inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame at the 2012 NCHA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Saturday, June 23.
Dan Evans, Rufus Hayes, Bob Joy, Jim Milner, Mary Jo Milner and Terry Strange were honored at the Hall of Fame party.
The late Dan Evans of Canal Winchester, Ohio, was recognized for his passionate promotion of cutting which drew many newcomers into the sport.
Though he did not compete extensively as a cutter, Dan Evans worked to grow cutting in the Northeastern part of the United States. Evans was an employee of Bob Evans Farms, Inc. where he climbed the ranks from working in a slaughterhouse to becoming the Chairman and CEO in 1971, a position he held until he retired in 2001. A successful businessman, Evans used his creative business skills to showcase cutting in a wide variety of settings, including schools and political fundraisers.
Dan Evans worked alongside friend and trainer, Chuck Smith, to hold over 120 cuttings and 13 limited aged events. Evans worked to create a positive environment to keep people coming back to cutting. Dan Evans support, encouragement, and participation in the National Cutting Horse Association earned his a spot in the Members Hall of Fame
The infectious enthusiasm for cutting of Rufus Hayes of Melbourne, Florida led to his induction into the Hall of Fame. For more than 50 years, Hayes has shown cutting horses and brought new people into the sport.
Cutting horse trainer Rufus Hayes has been involved with horses since he was a child. At the age of 15, Rufus saw his first cutting competition in Montgomery, Alabama. Rufus immediately fell in love with the horses and sport, and knew that it was something he wanted to be a part of. For over five decades, Hayes has been training, riding, and showing cutting horses. While he doesn’t train for the public anymore, Hayes still enjoys training his own and raising young horses.
Hayes has been a member since 1977 and has NCHA earnings of $197,222. He has also introduced countless people to the sport of cutting and to the National Cutting Horse association. “I have always made it a point to put anyone who comes to my place and shows interest, in the saddle,” said Hayes. “That has been the way I got a lot of people hooked on cutting over the years. I let the horses be the sport’s ambassador. The experience of riding a cutting horse will stick with you forever.”
Bob Joy of Cresson, Texas, has been in charge of cattle procurement for all NCHA-produced events for more than 30 years. He manages the selection and logistics of obtaining 9,000 or more head of fresh cattle to NCHA shows.
Bob Joy isn’t known for his cutting accomplishments, but what he is known for is his help in making champion runs happen and making the NCHA produced cuttings happen. For more than 30 years, Joy has overseen the selection, procurement, sorting, and management of the NCHA-sponsored cuttings. Dedicated to his job, Bob joy spends countless hours to ensure every cutter has fresh cattle to best show off their horse.
In addition to his work for NCHA, Joy and his wife also manage Helen Groves’ ranch in Cresson, Texas. Joy doesn’t plan on retiring anytime in the near future. Joy still enjoys his work and says, “The best deal is the people I work with. The people on the cattle committee, they will stand behind you, or go in front of you.”
Few are more accomplished than Jim Milner, but key to his success is his wife, Mary Jo. The couple has become cutting icons, and their involvement and influence has been tremendous. Jim rode his first cutting horse in the 1960s and since then has won every major NCHA aged-event and has been a Non-Pro World Champion. Miler was the Non-Pro World Champion in 1974, Futurity Non-Pro Champion in 1980, Super Stakes Non Pro Champion in 1987, 1992, and 1993, and the Summer Spectacular champion in 1987.
With more than $1.3 million in NCHA earnings, Milner has also been involved on the management side of NCHA as well. Milner has served as the Chairman of the Finance committee and has served on the Non-Pro, Limited Aged, and Non-Pro/Amateur Review committees. In addition, Milner was the association’s president from 1999-2000. Jim Milner has been involved in all aspects of cutting and has been instrumental in helping the NCHA evolve into what it is today.
Behind every great man is said to be a great woman, but in the case of the Milner’s, Mrs. Mary Jo Milnerstands beside her husband as they support each other. Mary Jo is a seven time NCHA Non-Pro World Champion and has won over $2.1 million in the cutting pen. Her accomplishments in and out of the pen have earned her the 2011 Bill Freeman Award, NCHA Non-Professional Hall of Fame, and a spot in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Milner’s immense success in the pen mirrors her successful contributions to the association. Mary Jo has served on numerous committees including the Open Show, Non- Pro, and Youth Committee, as well as the World Series of Cutting Task Force. Milner was also a co-founder of the Cutters in Action organization. Mary Jo’s reason behind her involvement is best summed up with this quote, “When you care about anything that much, you get involved. I care about it, and I care about the effectiveness of it. I care about it being good for every member.”
Terry Strangedid not start his involvement with cutting horses at a young age, but when he did join the sport, he immersed himself in it. Strange first time on a horse was during his time in school at the University of North Texas. Years later, while living in Houston, Strange was introduced to cutting when he attended a round of the NCHA World Finals at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Strange has owned and shown cutting horses since his discovery of the sport, but one of his most significant contributions has been working on the Finance Committee for 9 years. He is a former vice chairman of an international accounting firm, and currently serves on the board of directors of several large firms, in addition to his work with NCHA. Terry Strange has earned his spot in the NCHA Members Hall of Fame from his love of horses and the sport of cutting, as well as his dedication and expertise of the financial stability of the association.