Whitney Welch was a distinguished cutter before her life was cut tragically short. After her death, she’s become a positive role model and inspiration for countless young people.
Whitney Welch grew up in the cutting horse industry. Being the daughter of Hall of Fame trainer Greg Welch and granddaughter of the legendary Buster Welch, she was a regular at all the cuttings.
The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) announced during the 2020 NCHA Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular that Welch was among the 2020 inductees into the Youth Hall of Fame.
Whitney’s Cutting Career
Whitney showed at many cuttings in the Youth, always with her dad by her side. She spent her summers growing up at the barn just like a trainer’s kid usually does with early mornings starting before the sun came up.
The summer of 1998, Whitney showed at the Scholarship cutting in the Senior Youth. She didn’t make the Finals, but she still cheered on each and every one of her friends showing that year. She had an amazing attitude towards life with so much love for her family, her friends and her horses.
Outside of cutting, Whitney was involved in volleyball, cheerleading and track. She was also an honor student at Brock High School and had plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin.
Whitney’s Lasting Legacy
On Dec. 19, 1998, a drunk driver took the life of Whitney Welch and three of her high school friends. Whitney was 16 years old. The news of her death was devastating to the entire horse world. Out of that tragedy, the Whitney Welch Memorial Sportsmanship Award was established in 2000. Later, the award was renamed the Whitney and Greg Welch Memorial Scholarship to honor both Whitney and her father, the late Greg Welch.
The award is presented to a National Youth Cutting Horse Association member who exhibits the qualities of sportsmanship, responsibility, and respect for fellow competitors.
Whitney exemplified the true meaning of sportsmanship; she was a quiet girl, always friendly, courteous and respectful to others. Whitney was gracious in winning, as well as losing. Her legacy lives on today through each Youth that is nominated for award and her family and friends that knew and loved her.