Tim Smith has amassed over six million dollars in lifetime earnings. Smith attended college for a year on a basketball scholarship in Minnesota. After getting injured, he joined his brother Mike, who was a cutting horse trainer in California. Smith quickly developed a passion for cutting.
Other than his brother, the only other person Smith worked for was Bill Martin, a cutting horse trainer in Southern California.
Todd Bimat learned about cutting from his dad. And at 17 years old, he went to work for Leon Harrell for a summer. He always wanted to be a cutting horse trainer and his love for the sport continued to grow as he gained experience. At 18 he went to college briefly but then an opportunity opened up when Harrell’s full time help got hurt. Bimat said he threw all of his stuff in his truck, headed to Harrell’s and never looked back.
Sam Shepard loved learning. It’s perhaps the reason he came to cutting later in life as a cutting horse trainer and was able to enjoy almost $2.5 million worth of success in the show pen. But it wasn’t just his training prowess that made him a name in cutting, it was his decency and love of people that really established his reputation.
Shepard was diagnosed with a rare condition called Amyloidosis. He passed away September 15th this year at his home in Verbena, Alabama at the age of 74.
His son, Austin Shepard, described his dad as a very well rounded person. He was well read, passionate about education, and a talented horse trainer. Shepard traveled the world because of cutting horses and was always interested in people from all walks of life. Austin said his father lived a full life.
Garnett Hayes has enjoyed the sport of cutting for 38 years. He first saw the sport on TV as a young boy and thought it looked fun. Hayes started out riding a paint and has owned many horses. Hayes enjoys his retirement with his horses on a 400 acre farm in Western Kentucky.
Geoffrey Sheehan grew up in Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia. At about 12 years old he started working for renowned trainer Graham Amos on school holidays. When Sheehan was 16, Graham Amos came to the States to compete in cutting. Sheehan decided that was his path too and continued working for him in America.
Amos was Sheehan’s main mentor, but he also credits other trainers for teaching him along the way such as John Mitchell, Roger Wagner, and Clint Allen to name a few.
“The first time I ever walked into Will Rogers I [thought] this is what I want to do,” Sheehan said.