A celebration of life for L.H. Wood, 87, of Decatur, Texas, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 10:30 a.m. at Western Star Cowboy Church in Springtown, Texas. Pastor Bobby Bowden will officiate and burial will follow at East Bridgeport Cemetery. Wood, a National Cutting Horse Association [NCHA] Hall of Fame honoree who served as a U.S. Army paratrooper, worked hard for many years as a construction contractor and led two NCHA Hall of Fame sons into cutting, passed away Sept. 21.
Wood, a career earner of $489,850 as a cutting rider, is the father of NCHA Hall of Fame Open rider Kobie Wood, of Stephenville, Texas, and NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame member Lewie Wood, of Weatherford, Texas. Other survivors include his wife, Jodie, whom he married on Jan. 2, 2011, daughter Melba Weatherley of Wizard Wells, Texas, brother Russell Wood and sister Mildred Allen of California, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was a member of Western Star Cowboy Church, and the Sundowner Stock Dog and Southwest Cattle Dog associations.
Kobie, a career earner of more than $5.2 million as a cutting rider, said without help from his father and his dad’s first standout horse, he would not have become a trainer. L.H. lived in Kansas with his first wife, Doris, when he watched his first cutting show in his late 20s and decided he’d start taking a shot at the sport during his early 30s.
“He started learning to cut and it was just kind of a waterfall,” Kobie said. L.H. not only taught his children to cut, he also taught them the value of hard work, and that ‘Your word is all you have,’ a philosophy his father lived by, Kobie said.
Kobie worked alongside his father for many years in the drywall construction business, then started a similar business in the Midwest. By that time, in the late 1970s, L.H. had moved to Texas to continue riding and raising cutting horses.
L.H. encouraged Kobie to move to Texas as well, so that he could help work with the horses. Kobie initially balked at his dad’s plan because at the time, he could make a lot more money in the construction business.
“He told me to just come on back down there [to Texas] and we’d figure something out,” Kobie recalled. He figured he’d instantly get a horse-related job in Texas and then work with his father’s horses, too. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
“I had to go back to hanging sheetrock because I wasn’t making any money,” Kobie said. “Then, I landed a good deal in the drywall business, and my dad bought a mare named Chickasha Gay.”
L.H. bought Chickasha Gay (Rey Jay x Chickasha Ann x Chickasha Mike) in the early 1970s after her breeder, Dr. Allen Hamilton, of Big Spring, Texas, rode her as a 1971 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro finalist. Hamilton earned $7,635 with the mare as a 3 and 4-year-old.
From 1981-1985, Chickasha Gay produced a stallion, two mares and two geldings that ended up earning a combined $641,858. They earned most of it while owned by L.H., trained by Kobie, and ridden by both of them. Kobie’s earnings as a cutting rider jumped from $5,340 in 1982 to $20,707 in 1983, $121,564 in 1984 and $116,671 in 1985.
“I’ve won more than $5 million as a cutter, my wife [NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame member Paula Wood] has earned more than $2 million and my daughter [Doris Lane Wood] has won a World Championship,” Kobie said. “I owe it all to him.”