Cornbread Thinks: Conventional Stuff

The first day of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention is about over. I have gone to two meetings and nobody has even pulled a knife. Kinda boring.

The issues in the non-pro meeting have a lot more definition than in the cattle committee. Cows don’t know what they are going to do in two seconds, much less two months. Listening to the world’s best trainers discuss pre-settling is…uh…enlightening. Herd settlers who have won millions and settled thousands of bunches are surprisingly diplomatic. Who knew?

The spread is wide. None are wrong. Since there are no two cows alike, much less two bunches, you can’t expect an equal result for an equal job. Know this, the herd settlers give it their all. In my opinion, these gifted athletes really operate on God-given intuition. There really aren’t words to define why they chose one cow over another.

Bob Joy, our official cow pimp for near on 40 years, was given a retirement party. I had heard the stories, but they were confirmed. He apparently went to the Helen Keller School of Driving. Bronc Willoughby is taking the wheel. He has been practicing by driving around with a flour sack over his head. To be continued…

I had about 10 minutes of spare time, so I went looking for “Them.” There twern’t any there. I knew every one of them. Stop here, go to, punch the “Quick Menu” blue button, then “Executive Board.” Study these people like they’re your bunch and you are in the last hole. To save you some trouble, Jim Bret Campbell is your money cow.

We have never had so many great young trainers or horses. They are different. New School. They give back. They ask the right questions. They have big visions. They are fun to watch and are bringing new thinking to our sport. Start paying very close attention to our “Young Turks.”

We are facing a changing world (as is every other equine sport). A smaller and smaller percentage of young people are growing up country. The other day, I had the need to go to Neiman Marcus right after working horses at R.L. Chartier’s. Don’t know about y’all, but I don’t take my spurs off; I take my boots off. Neimans looks like one of those “No shoes, no shirt, no service” outfits, so in I go. The nice salesman says, “I’ve never seen anyone wearing spurs before.” We’re in Fort Worth, Texas. That is ridiculous.

If we are going to grow, we have to show every kid in America our spurs. We have always marketed to people who might buy horses. Those days are gone. Spending $5 to reach one when the same $5 will reach thousands is economically stupid. The internet has made this a game of numbers. Big numbers, with lots of zeroes./p>

Our need is fans. Spectators. People who will NEVER own a horse, but will watch one. These people will bring us what we really need. Sponsors. The secondary benefit is every now and again, one of these people will become a cutter. Jim Bret is putting a team together. Terry Bassett is the new marketing manager. He comes from the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). Yes, that’s different. No, we won’t become the PBR. We can become a spectator sport. We have never really tried.

There will have to be changes to make this happen. Most cutters would rather eat glass and die than change. There are a lot of people in the world who want everything to be like it never was, cutting included. In truth, cutters love little changes, just not big ones. Constantly pushing back, especially without knowing the facts, makes this even harder.

I understand how facts are just no fun. It’s often a chore. You have to do research, like in third grade. (The worst four years of my life.) Or call your director. Or even use that “blue button.” We have to wear the other person’s spurs. You can’t feather your nest with someone else’s feathers. We must open our minds, have confidence in the people we have elected to govern our outfit. Charlie Waters, of the Dallas Cowboys, taught me years ago that above all else, “You have to believe.” These are exciting times for us, a big challenge. These horses and the industry they made changed the world. We have to keep that up.

Cornbread Thinks: You should be all in with this.