Modine Smith Passes at Age 94

Modine Smith • Courtesy of the NCHA

Modine Smith, 94, of Grass Valley, California, passed away on July 22. Smith, along with her late husband, Ed, selflessly committed herself to the betterment and promotion of cutting for nearly five decades.

The Smiths held Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) shows at their ranch in Escalon, California, where Ed mentored many riders, including future National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity champions Lindy Burch and Leon Harrel. After Ed passed in 1979, Smith continued to champion cutting on the local and national level. She served on the executive committees of both the NCHA and the PCCHA and was inducted into the Halls of Fame of both organizations. The NCHA also created the Modine Smith Humanitarian Award in her honor, of which she was the first recipient. She was also a recipient of the PCCHA Ed Smith Memorial Sportsmanship Award.

Some of the innovations Smith worked with others to realize for the PCCHA have become standards for the NCHA, including the dedicated practice pen, the adjusted monitor system for judges, pre-settling cattle, and one of her favorite pet projects, the PCCHA Gelding Incentive Program.

Smith is survived by children John Michael Biggs, Patricia (Biggs) Leach and Laura (Smith) Vaughn; sons-in-law Steve Leach and Frank Vaughn; as well as eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

Celebrations of Smith’s life are being planned for the PCCHA Futurity, Oct. 6-13, in Las Vegas, and the NCHA Futurity, Nov. 15 – Dec. 10, in Fort Worth, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations on Smith’s behalf to the PCCHA Youth Scholarship Program or the NCHA Foundation.