Charles Vaughan has exemplified dedication to the NRHA and also in other aspects of his life. • Photo courtesy of the NRHA.

Charles Vaughan’s Dedication & Support Recognized With Dale Wilkinson Award

In the mid-1980s, a landmark case in Indiana resulted in laws that, to this day, prevent discrimination in the workplace against people with AIDS. A young man, Ryan White, had contracted the disease after receiving an injection to treat his hemophilia. White’s school determined he could not attend due to his AIDS status. The conflict grew, eventually culminating in a grueling nine-month trial. Thanks to the dedication of his lawyer, Charles Vaughan, White eventually regained his rights to attend school, and the enactment of the Ryan White act helped lessen discrimination against AIDS victims across the country.

Vaughan, of Lafayette, Indiana, has a life outside the courtroom and can be found at reining events across the country. His dedication to the sport was recently recognized by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) with its Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award.

“If you look back over the years, Charles has owned great horses, supported horse trainers, and has contributed greatly to the industry over the years,” Past NRHA President and Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Mike Hancock. “He’s also been successful in the show pen. I believe he’s one of the oldest – if not the oldest – to win a bronze trophy, which he did so at the age of 90.”

Charles Vaughan in Reining

An advocate for doing what’s right, Vaughan was instrumental in the move of the NHRA Futurity from its previous home in Ohio to Oklahoma City.

Dedicating himself to being the best at everything he did helped Vaughan create an impressive group of horses. His broodmare Ms Hollywood Showtime, whose lifetime earnings exceed $350,000, produced the NRHA Hall of Fame mare Miss Tinseltown – who herself became the dam of more than $$788,016 in earners in EquiStat. 

Vaughan also bred Ima Best Buddy, winner of the 1999 All American Quarter Horse Congress Open Reining Futurity and Wimpys Show Stopper, earner of more than $60,000. He also bred and raised Tinseltown Lil Step, who went on to produce both Smart Tinseltown and Smart Lil Step.

“To say that he was instrumental in creating a dynasty and bettering the bloodlines of the reining horse is undoubtedly an understatement. To this day Charlie still actively competes and shows the horses he loves so dearly in the sport that he has given so much of himself to,” noted EquiStat Elite $6 Million Rider Shawn Flarida. “The impact Charlie has had on the reining industry since the sport’s inception is almost immeasurable. He is a man of distinguished character, generous spirit, and unbridled enthusiasm both within the horse industry and throughout his personal and business life.”

Vaughan was one of Flarida’s first clients.

“He took a big chance on believing in me, and we quickly became lifelong friends,” he said. “I have learned so much from him. His enthusiasm and zeal for life, love, and horses has been incredible, and to this day serves as inspiration for me.

Recognition Ceremony

Vaughan, along with the roster of new NRHA Hall of Fame inductees that includes non-pro, breeder and owner Jose Vazquez and former NRHA Board of Directors and Executive Committee member Doug Carpenter, will be honored Dec. 1 at Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City during the NRHA Futurity.