Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1998George Tyler, or “Mister George,” as he was affectionately known by Jerry Wells, Larry Sullivant, Frank Merrill and countless others, appreciated fine horse flesh.
Tyler knew horses and was linked to some of the greatest in the industry. Tyler bought the best, made it better and then made a profit. He made his first horse trade, in his hometown of Gainesville, Texas, when he was 13. He made $35. By the time he reached high school age, Tyler was trading horses and roping calves for a living. Soon, he started a bullfighting career, and even clowned alongside the singing cowboy Gene Autry.
Keeping a promise to his mother to give up bullfighting, Tyler discovered the brand-new American Quarter Horse Association and began fitting and showing horses. He fit and showed the King Ranch show string and also exhibited Hank Wiescamp’s Skipper W-bred horses.
“He could tell more about a horse at 100 yards than most can at 10 feet,” said Sullivant. “George could walk around any horse and tell you his good and bad points in about three seconds.”
Because of his keen eye, Tyler became one of AQHA’s most valued judges, and throughout the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, he officiated shows across the country, where he was variously described as “quick, brilliant,” and, “honest and fair about his evaluations.” He served as ring steward for the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, for more than 25 years. He also judged the first All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, entirely by himself.
Tyler had the opportunity to own and show some of the best Quarter Horses in the industry. In partnerships with Matlock Rose, G. B. Howell, Lester Goodson, Rex Cauble and B. F. Phillips Jr., Tyler had a hand in showing some 11 AQHA Honor Roll horses. Horses that he is associated with by either owning or exhibiting include Poco Bueno (Tyler showed him at halter), Leo San, Stardust Desire, Peppy Belle, Miss Jim 45, Leo San Siemon, Ricky Jane and Drifting Bar.
Tyler was a shrewd horse trader, but his mentor, Arthur O’Mary, taught him not to pass off nags as quality stock. Throughout his life, Tyler searched for quality, but would just as well quickly turn around and sell it.
“He was the smartest horseman I ever knew,” said Rose, “and the best friend a man could have.”
Tyler died in 1983 and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1998.