Fay Owen Welch, better known as Buster Welch, is a big name in the cutting horse industry who earned four NCHA World Championship titles and was inducted NCHA Members Hall of Fame. For his contributions to ranching as well as livestock industries, Buster was awarded National Spur Award in 2012. Sadly, he died at the age of ninety-four on 12th June 2022.
Who Is Buster Welch?
Buster Welch is a horse trainer and cutting expert born on 23rd May 1928 in Sterling City, Texas. He was the youngest of eight children. After his mother, Fay Lucas Welch, died, Welch was raised by his grandparents: Bud Welch and Sarah Welch, on their stock farm. After his father, Charles Owen Welch, remarried, the family relocated to Midland, Texas. There Welch worked for a gasoline station, Atlantic Richfield.
Welch was never interested in studying; he skipped school to be at stockyards, learning to ride broncs. By thirteen, he left home to work as a breaking horse. At this time, he learned the riding and working cattle.
Further, he began working for many renowned ranches: King Ranch, 6666 Ranch, Long X, and Pitchfork Ranch, among others. Working with the ranches, he developed skills in rough stock and cattle. His only dream was to own a ranch.
During the early 50s, he established himself as a horseman and a trainer. At that time, cutting horses were beginning as contest livestock. Further, he bought his career’s first horse, an aged six, unbroken stallion named Chickasha Mike, for $125.
He broke Chickasha Mike and eventually took him to participate in a local contest, showing it as a cutting horse. In 1952, Chickasha Mike won five events. After that, Mike grabbed the attention and was purchased by Bill Hale, paying a hefty amount of $8,5000. Further, Hale sold it to Leonard Proctor, Welch’s first employer.
At NCHA Reserve World Champion in 1956, Chickasha Mike, trained by Welch but owned by Proctor, became the winner.
At the competition, Welch was discovered by Marion Flynt. So Flynt sent his mare, Marion’s Girl, to train with him. Welch took the mare to various campaigns, winning the 1954 and 1956 NCHA World Championships.
Through 1960, he trained Jessie Jack, winning the NCHA World Champion Stallion.
In 1962 NCHA Futurity, he rode Money Glo, winning the first event and earning $3,838.12.
After that, Welch became the Executive Committee and director of NCHA. In 1963, he and Hickasha Glo won the NCHA Futurity for a second time, with a prize of $4,277. Further, he won the NCHA Futurity three more times: 3rd with Pete (winning sum$9,353), 4th with Dry Doc (winning purse $112,000), and 5th with Peppy San Badger (more than a million).
Bustler Welch Yellowstone scene
Welch, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, appeared in the television series, Yellowstone, portraying himself in the episode “Under A Blanket Of Red.”
In the series, he appears at the 6666 Ranch (his former employer). Jimmy (actor Jefferson White) awakens on a bench and finds two older cowboys conversing: actor Barry Corbin and Welch.
From the episode, there is a famous dialogue: “There are three Gods in Texas: the Almighty himself, Buster Welch, and George Strait. You just met one of them.”
Who Is Buster Welch’s Wife?
Welch was married to his wife Sheila Welche, an Equestrian. They worked and lived on the King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas. In the late 2000s, the couple moved to Chriswell Ranch after selling their Double Mountain River Ranch. Further, the two relocated to Rotan, Texas.
Buster Welch obituary
Buster Welch, aged 94, died at his home in Abilene, Texas, on 12th June 2022. World mourned the loss, especially Western industry. He reportedly died of old age, not a life-threatening health issue.
Buster Welch’s net worth
At the time of his death, Buster Welch’s net worth is calculated $4 million.