Temecula saddle maker, Dale Chavez, has donated a headstall to the Cowboy Reunion auction on an annual basis, and this year the headstall was purchased by Phyllis Jones of Paoli, Oklahoma.
The headstall sold for $80 during this year’s live auction, Dec. 14, at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas. A headstall is part of a bridle or halter which fits around a horse’s head to control a horse while riding. Les Ohlhauser was the auctioneer.
“I think it’s beautiful, and I certainly got a good deal,” Jones said.
Jones was also the buyer of a Dale Chavez Company headstall at the 2016 Cowboy Reunion auction.
“I still have it. They’re gorgeous. I have horses, and I cherish things like that,” she said.
She currently has eight horses, and Jones also has a foal on the way.
Jones is the niece of Liz Kesler, who had been the Cowboy Reunion organizer but who died Sept. 7. Kesler’s daughter, Jeanne Kesler Cesar, took over as the Cowboy Reunion leader after her mother’s death.
“As usual, he outdid himself,” Cesar said of Chavez’s donation.
Jones began her barrel racing career in the Girls Rodeo Association, which became the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association in 1982. Jones also worked for Kesler and her husband, Reg, who became a stock contractor and rodeo producer after retiring from rodeo as a competitor. Jones’ activities included carrying the flag at Kesler Limited rodeos.
She also was an acting rodeo secretary in a substitution role.
“That was not my thing. I’d rather run barrels,” Jones said.
In 1981, Jones was the Oklahoma Barrel Racing Association champion, and she also had one qualification for the Central Regional Rodeo Association finals and a top 10 finish in the CRRA standings. Jones competed in Texas and Kansas as well as in Oklahoma.
She now competes in jackpot barrel races. Jones also has older horses that are retired from competition and ridden for pleasure by her grandchildren, and her stable also includes brood mares.
Professionally Jones taught school for 43 years, so she was able to attend the National Finals Rodeo when it was in Oklahoma City from 1965 to 1984 but could not attend NFR in Las Vegas until after she retired.
The Cowboy Reunion, which is being discontinued, took place in Las Vegas during National Finals Rodeo Week and included a live auction and a silent auction to complement registration fees in raising money for rodeo-related organizations. The proceeds from the Cowboy Reunion are donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The 2019 Cowboy Reunion took place Dec. 13-14, at the Orleans Hotel.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.