Council Report: Statue to honor Buster Welch

The sculpture, created by Weatherford artist Kelly Graham, depicts Welch on King Ranch’s “Little Peppy”


National Cutting Horse Association icon Buster Welch will be honored with a bronze sculpture donated to the City of Fort Worth by the NCHA and accepted by the city council at Tuesday’s meeting.

The sculpture, titled Buster Welch and Little Peppy,created by Weatherford artist Kelly Graham, depicts Welch on King Ranch’s “Little Peppy” cutting a Santa Gertrudis cow. It is valued at $250,000 and will be placed at Gate 42 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, 3401 West Lancaster Ave.

“It’s just a fitting tribute to a man who had the foresight to advance cutting as a sport,” said artist Graham. “We’ve got the right guy honored at Gate 42. This guy very deservedly needs to be in bronze.”

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Welch, born May 23, 1928, is a legendary cutting horse trainer and inductee into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, National Cutting Horse Association Riders Hall of Fame, and Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. He was chosen as the recipient of the 2012 National Golden Spur Award for his “outstanding contributions to the ranching and livestock industry.”

Welch won the NCHA World Championship four times, and the NCHA World Championship Futurity five times. He trained Mr. San Peppy and won the NCHA World Championship in 1974 and 1976.

“That will be a very nice addition to that area,” said District 7 Councilman Dennis Shingleton, in whose district the Will Rogers Center lies. “It’ll be sitting under a tree. It will look very nice.

“I had the opportunity to meet Buster Welch. Great guy, and he’s done a lot for the Cutting Horse Association.”

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Premiere sire, Peppy San Badger (Little Peppy) is the son of World Champion Mr. San Peppy of the King Ranch and winner of the 1977 NCHA Futurity, 1978 NCHA Derby, the 1980 NCHA Reserve World Champion, and the 1981 NCHA Open Finals.

City officials note the sculpture is an appropriate addition to the historic Will Rogers Memorial Center as it embodies the historic themes found throughout the complex and compliments existing artworks on the grounds. They cite the sculpture will serve not only as a fitting tribute to Mr. Welch and King Ranch’s Little Peppy, but also as a reminder of the century-old relationship between the sport of cutting and the City of Fort Worth.