by Jatona Sucamele
James and Dee Bridges almost didn’t make their month-long visit to Fort Worth during the 2014 NCHA Futurity.
The Bridges reside in Kentwood, La., but every year they come to Cowtown for a good, long getaway. They were dating when they came for the first time in 1975. When they returned the following year they were married on December 7, at the Tarrant County Courthouse. Every year since then has been a trip to enjoy the cutting horses they both love, and celebrate their anniversary.
This year, there was some doubt that they would make their anniversary trip due to the fact that Dee has had a battle with breast cancer during the last several months.
Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this story for the Bridges. “The Lord’s blessed us to be here,” James said. “The doctor gave her word that she could go, just this past Saturday. We are so thankful for the doctors that she had, and the treatment she had, and everything working out the way that it did. Dee had surgery, but she doesn’t have to do any follow up with chemo or radiation.”
The couple have four children, but James and their daughter, Darlene Trahan, are the two family members who actively show cutting horses. Trahan was NCHA Youth Reserve World Champion in 1981 and James, who has NCHA lifetime earnings of $62,187, has had a few Futurity horses himself over the years. He said that their other children rode at home some, but Darlene took to cutting like a duck to water.
After this year’s events, James is even more appreciative of his wife’s presence and support. “We are both 68 years old and we both love coming to Fort Worth every year, together. And, although my wife never showed, she’s the best supporter you could find. Anyone who would sit and cheer you on for 38 years is pretty special.”
The couple make the most of their stay each year with never an idle moment. “We come and enjoy,” James said. “We spend four or five weeks out here watching the Futurity, shopping and see folks we only get to see once a year.”
“I’m very blessed to be here and I know that,” Dee said. “I love coming out for our anniversary, and we do all our Christmas shopping while we are here. I don’t show, but when my family does, I have just as much fun as they do. I just watch and yell for James and our daughter.”