Dick Gaines, 75, world-class cutting horse champion, trainer and breeder, received his greatest honor on January 15, 2019: meeting his Savior, Jesus Christ, face-to-face. A celebration of life will be held at Grace Church in Wichita Falls, Texas, Monday, January 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm, with Rev. Reggie Coe officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home in Henrietta.
Dick was born November 17, 1943, to the late Betty and Toby Gaines and grew up on his family's ranch in Claypool, Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1965, with a degree in animal sciences. He met his future wife, Pam Rutherford, through a fraternity brother in l964 (her sorority house and his fraternity house sat across a parking lot from each other). They married six months later.
Always interested in the outdoors, Dick accepted a job as assistant County Agent in Pratt, Kansas, later transferring to northern Kansas. However, he wanted to be nearer home, so he and Pam returned to Texas in l965 to interview for a job at (the former) First National Bank of Byers, across the river from his birthplace. He became Vice-President and loan officer there and was instrumental in the bank's growth. The next year he was given his first cutting horse by Skeeter Dennis, so he combined cutting with his banking career. Later, Dick purchased his first futurity horse, Leos Tamara, for $400 and made the non-pro finals on her. In l973, he showed Doc Tari, winning Reserve Champion in the Non-Pro Futurity that year.
In l978, he won National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) non-pro World Championship riding Sally Doc. That year he decided to go into cutting full time, winning awards all over the nation. He bought a ranch between Byers and Petrolia and began the breeding and training of world-class cutting horses. In l980, he won NCHA Non-Pro Derby riding Doc Tari's daughter Barbi Tari. In 1981, three of the NCHA Futurity Open finalists were Doc Tari offspring. Doc Tari went on to become one of cutting's all-time leading sires and grandsires.
In l982, Dick was one of eight cutting horse stallion owners who formed the Super Syndicate, which resulted in the initiation of the NCHA Super Stakes, one of today's famous Triple Crown cutting events.
From l989-1992, Zack T Wood, a Doc Tari son bred by Dick, carried both Dick and his son Matt to win major NCHA championships. Matt went on to win the 2015 NCHA Open World Championship on a great-granddaughter of Zack T Wood.
An outgoing and savvy businessman, Dick contributed to the growth of NCHA, serving as Vice-President and President as well as long-time director on the executive committee. He became and remains the only person to be inducted into all three NCHA Halls of Fame – NCHA Non-pro, ('80); NCHA Rider's ('92), and NCHA Member's Hall of Fame (for service) in 2005. For the latter Hall of Fame, peers nominate a person who's made a lasting contribution to the sport, and to Dick, the vote of his peers made his induction extra-special.
Dick was known not just for his expertise, but for his dedication, humor and funny sayings. He was a mentor and friend to young and old alike. His friendships stretch across the nation and were very important to him. His faith was, too. One of the most important days of his life occurred on Oct. 24, 2004, when he was baptized at Grace Church in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Dick most enjoyed fishing, golf, football and aggravating his wife, family and friends.
Dick was preceded in death by his son Tim Gaines.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pam; son Matt (wife Tara), of Weatherford, Texas; brothers Pat (wife Kristie) and Mike (wife Jana) Gaines, both of Waurika, Oklahoma; and three grandchildren Garret Gaines, Lauren (husband Tanner) Erwin, Taylor (husband Wes) Edwards, and Peter Boen; and great grandchildren, Ella and Joleigh Erwin, and Madison and Andrew Boen.
The family request that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Grace Church at 5214 Stone Lake Drive, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310 or Horseman for Christ at PO Box 9524, Wichita Falls, Texas 76308.
Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guestbook at davisfuneralhome.net.