San Francisco Cow Palace, 1949: The first National Cutting Horse Association-approved cutting drew about 10,000 spectators.
Don Dodge, on crutches at the time, was one of them. He leaned over to his wife at the time, Barbara Worth, and said, "This is going to be the greatest moneymaker there's ever been."
The following year, Dodge talked California state officials into adding cutting -- then just primarily a game that Texans played -- to the list of approved classes at state fairs. Dodge has always been recognized as one of the sport's pioneers.
He joined NCHA in 1947, one year after its inception. Two decades later, his 80-horse training facility in Sacramento, California, had housed more NCHA world champion-caliber horses than barn mice, and Dodge had earned the nickname "The Silver Fox."
In the cutting world, his name was synonymous with famous horses Poco Bueno, Poco Lena, Snipper W, Peponita, Peponita San, Fizzabar and Bonita San -- just to name a few. In reined cow horse competition, he is known for horses Mona Lisa, Right Now, Monique, Cohoma, Poker Chip and Git N Go. Then there were the jumpers he made famous -- Balbriggon, Coin Collector, Ridge Runner and Evening Coat.
In addition to his phenomenal career as a cutting trainer and exhibitor, Dodge was an AQHA judge for 23 years. He judged 135 AQHA-approved shows, including the 1975, 1978 and 1979 AQHA World Championship Shows. He also was a judge for the NCHA and American Horse Shows Association.
Dodge was inducted into several Halls of Fame, including the NCHA, Members and Riders, the National Reined Cow Horse Association and the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association.
Dodge was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1997. He died November 10, 2002.
Biography updated as of December 2002.