William Fredell “Bill” Freeman, unquestionably one of the cutting industry’s finest trainers and showmen, earned his final cutting paycheck on June 28, 2008, just 31 days before his untimely death on July 29 at the age of 58. Freeman died due to complications of fungal pneumonia and chronic asthma, a condition that Freeman’s father, Shorty Freeman, also died of in 1990.
Shorty, whose Equi-Stat record totaled more than $296,000, trained and showed the legendary Doc O’Lena. The stallion was a son of the great Doc Bar and sired the National Cutting Horse Association’s (NCHA) first Triple Crown Champion Smart Little Lena, trained and shown by Bill.
Doc O’Lena and Shorty swept the 1970 NCHA Futurity Open, winning the first and second go-rounds, semifinals and finals. Twelve years later in 1982, Smart Little Lena and Bill nearly repeated that record. Following in their fathers’ footsteps, the pair won the NCHA Futurity Open first and second go-rounds, placed second in the semifinals and won the finals with an impressive score of 225.
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