Buster Welch knew from an early age that he wanted to be a rancher. He did not know he would also become a household name in the cutting world.
The first ranch to hire Welch was the Proctor Ranch, which needed help because so many young men were fighting in World War II.
Welch also worked at the 6666’s, the Long X and the Pitchfork ranches, where he honed his skills as a horseman, all the while dreaming of having a ranch of his own.
When the National Cutting Horse Association began, Welch saw an opportunity to pair his horsemanship talents and cow sense to make an extra dollar. He first became known competing on Chickasha Mike by Billy Clegg. Oilman Marion Flynt saw the young cowboy compete and sent his mare, Marion’s Girl by Silver Wimpy, to school under Welch. In 1954, when the contest year ended, Welch made Marion’s Girl a world champion and she made him a well-known trainer.
Welch joined several other competitors to start the NCHA Futurity, a competition for 3-year-old horses that had never been shown. The first event was held in Sweetwater, Texas, in 1962, and Welch was riding Money Glo. Welch and Money's Glo showed their way to the top, earning $3,838.12 and the prestige of winning the first NCHA Futurity.
Welch went on to win four more futurities, on Chickasha Glo in 1963, Rey Jay’s Pete in 1966, Dry Doc in 1971, and Peppy San Badger in 1977. He also rode Mr San Peppy to an AQHA World Championship in senior cutting in 1976 and NCHA world championships in 1974 and 1976.
Welch has received several honors for his work in the NCHA and Quarter Horse industry. He is a member of the NCHA member and rider halls of fame. He received the Charles Goodnight Award and AQHA’s 30 Year Breeder Award.
He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2004.
Biography updated as of March 2004.