Longtime reining judge and breeder Joe Hayes died in a crash June 23. • Photo by Harold Campton.

Respected NRHA Judge Killed in Crash

An esteemed member of the reining horse community has died.

Joe Hayes, 67, of Gainesville, Texas, died in a car crash Saturday night on FM2071 in Cooke County, Texas, authorities say.

Texas Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Tackett said Hayes hit a cow in the road about 10:37 p.m. The Corvette he was driving went off the road after the impact, through some grass and into a creek bottom.

Hayes died at the scene and was the only person in the vehicle, Tackett said.

A National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) judge, Hayes also was a member of the association’s Judges Committee and a successful breeder. He earned $44,404 as a rider and bred the winners of $910,648, according to Equi-Stat.

In a post on its website, the NRHA expressed sadness at Hayes’ passing and sent condolences to his wife, Liz, and the rest of his family.

“Joe was an NRHA lifetime member, judge, and served on the NRHA Judges Committee,” the association said. “A pillar in the reining community, he will certainly be missed.”

A memorial service has been scheduled for July 2. Arrangements are being handled by Meador Funeral Home in Gainesville.

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