Jerry Louie, a notable steward of cutting on the West Coast and a longtime member of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association, died suddenly on Saturday in his hometown of Chico, California, the PCCHA confirmed.
Louie was 85.
Louie was a three-term National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Executive Committee member and for the better part of three decades a Regional Director.
He also worked on a number of NCHA standing committees, including budget and compensation, and he was chairman of the Non-Pro Committee.
At the time of his passing, Louie was one of three directors at-large with the PCCHA.
Louie was believed to be the second-longest running board member on the PCCHA, surpassed only by Modine Smith, said Phil Benadum, executive director of the PCCHA.
“Jerry was not only a friend to me but also a mentor,” said Benadum, who also worked with Louie as a member of the PCCHA Executive and Finance Committees. “He was not afraid to ask the hard questions during meetings and you knew he wanted the best for the Association that he loved.”
In 2004, the association honored him with induction into its Hall of Fame. The organization also bestowed the Ed Smith Memorial Sportsmanship Award on him in 2992.
“It’s well known what he’s done for us out here,” said Dylan Meyer, a West Coast cutter and member of the PCCHA Executive Board of Directors.
As a performer, Louie, an NCHA Bronze Award winner, won his first check in 1983 and went on to win more than $158,000, according to Equi-Stat. His top money earner was Notice This Cat (WR This Cats Smart x Notice Shortys Babe x Shorty Lenas Notice), a 2007 gelding, who won more than $67,000 under Louie’s ownership, according to Equi-Stat.
Among Louie’s best moments astride a cutting horse was as the PCCHA Non-Pro Cutting Statkes champion in 2006 with Playitagun as well as the winner of the Big D Derby 5/6 Non-Pro division with Little Commander Dry in 1995.
On Doc O’Lena gelding Jokerlena, Louie stood third at the 1990 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Classic.
“He liked the competition,” said Todd Bimat, who had a 32-year association with Louie as friend and trainer to Notice This Cat and Playitagun, among others. “He liked just traveling and going … going to the shows and doing stuff. He always wanted to drive. We called him ‘Louise the Driver.’
“We had a lot of fun. He was our age we are now, when we first met him, and we couldn’t keep up with him. He had so much energy, it was amazing. Busy, busy.”
As an owner, Louie has garnered more than $240,000, with Todd Bimat showing his horses in the Open most recently. In addition to Notice This Cat, another top performer was Playitagun (Playgun x Little Valedictorian x Smart Little Lena), a 2002 gelding who earned $44,663 in his career.
“His service to our Association and his passion for his friends and the cutting horse was something that I admired most about Jerry,” Benadum said. “We have lost a PCCHA legend and he will be missed by all.”