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Remembering ‘Senior’

When Jimmy Flores, Sr., passed away on Sept. 7, the horse world lost a unique friend. Here are some memories of 'Senior' from his fellow cow horse family

- October 1st, 2015 - Cover Story, Feature Article

JIMMY FLORES, JR.:

Jimmy Flores Sr

Jimmy Flores Sr

Chris Jameson photo/Down the Fence crew

He would very much like to be remembered, first, as a good horseman. Yes, he knew equipment and all, but he was a very, very knowledgeable horseman — and that’s what he really strived for. Not just a trainer, but beyond that. We have trainers today, but I’m not sure if we still have many horsemen in the world.

MARK MATSON:

“He was one of the pillars of the community He actually got a lot of cow horse following in Europe because he was one of the first guys to get over there and show off the reined cow horse.

I remember when we started the Southern California club and would have benefit auctions. I was always amazed by his generosity. He’d show up with hackamores and all kinds of great things. What a generous, giving man who was really behind that sport. And I don’t think he ever missed a show, whether it was big or small. I saw him travel all the way to Texas, sleeping in his truck with his trailer full of stuff that he sold. He’d set up his booth, tear it down afterward, then drive all the way home by himself — and that was when he was in his late 70s. It definitely will not be the same without him. He inspired a lot of folks, and he was great to sit down and talk to.

LAURA EDWARDS:

The Southern California cow horse family has lost its father figure. “Senior” was our biggest fan, our greatest contributor, and quite an observer. Although he never served on the SCRCHA Board or even attended a meeting that I can remember, he was as committed to this cow horse family as any of us. Senior was not just part of our local family, but also the cow horse family across the country, always there at the premier NRCHA events.

I will always hold dear the pair of romel reins he gave to me at our awards banquet. I will always remember his advise on teaching a young horse a lead change, and I will always stand proud with his compliment of my fence turns, on my hackamore horse, without holding on to the saddle horn. Although we may not see Senior at the shows, we will certainly feel his presence.

RUSSELL DILDAY:

“He’s always come to our shows from the begining. The big thing about Jimmy Flores, Sr., is at every single show without any solicitation, he would bring several prizes up and hand them to us to give out to any class that he thought was a little weak, and he would not necessarily let his stuff go to first place. He would pick like oldest rider, youngest rider…he would always come up with something, and did not care much about being mentioned. He was just an absolutely wonderful guy to everyone. Always pleasant.He was just a golden guy down to the core. One of the greatest stories I like about him was from six or so years ago when somebody stole he and Jimmy Jr.’s saddles. A saddle shop called and said.”hey, I think we have your saddles, and we got this guy who stole them.” So they go down there, and Jimmy Sr. has a cane at that time. They get down there to the saddle store, and the guy’s there who stole the saddles. Then Jimmy goes to whip him over the head with that cane. Jimmy Jr. left him for a while, and the cops came and broke it up. But that’s what I love about him. He was at least 80 then. He’s gonna be sorely missed.

LINDA SEEDS:

I am a “braider,” and thanks for Jimmy, I am a better braider. Anytime I had a problem with a knot or a plait, I had only to ask and he’d untangled me. He was supportive and made a question seem simple. He encouraged me in so many ways, both with braiding and with the working cow. A treasure of knowledge, generously given and well received by many.
He will always be alive in my memories. I miss him.

CINDY MENDOZA:

When I was SCRCHA president, and I was so involved with the board and putting the shows on, and Jimmy was so cute. He would always walk up to me and he’d go “Hey, Cindy, I’ve got this…” and he’d have one of the wonderful things he’d made — maybe a pair of reins or a headstall or a bosel — and he’d say, “Cindy, I want to give this away at the show.” Then, he would always tell me what class he wanted it to go to, and he was always so cute because he wanted to donate something, and then he would be very specific as to what class he wanted it to go to. A lot of people give donations and say, “here you go, do whatever you want to do with it.” I could always tell when he was thinking, and pretty soon he’d come over to me and give me my instructions.
You never had to ask him for anything. He was always so generous and supportive. You know how when you show your horse and you come out of the arena beating yourself up about something? Jimmy’d always come over and pat me on the shoulder. Jimmy wasn’t shy about telling me what I did wrong, but he wanted me to know what did wrong and what not to do next time. But if I had a good run, he’d also come over and say “that was a smart run” or “smart over there.” That’s the instructor side coming out. I know he did the same thing with everybody — giving them tidbits about his knowledge — from his bits and interesting braiding to the horses. You never walked past his booth and saw him grumpy. He always had a quick smile.

LUCY MITTENDORF:

He was always so very encouraging and excited to see you ride well, and he always had great advice for “next time.” Countless times leaving the back gate area, he would say “how’d yah do?” I’d say my horse was great, but I messed up, and he’d answer “you’ll get’em next time!” At the shows in Temecula — or on the road in Reno, Texas or Arizona — he would be busy at his work. I would stop by to say hello and ask him, “Jimmy, can I bring you a sandwich?” He’d answer, “No, just a cup of coffee and two cookies”. There were always cookies in my trailer, just for him. I will always treasure the pink romel reins he laid on my saddle horn at one of the shows last year. We will miss him.

PRIMO MORALES:

I met Jimmy in 2005 at the World Show in Stephenville. He come in I thought he was a homeless man. He asked me if there was a shower. The next show we went to was Idaho. I remember pulling in there, and there was Jimmy, waiting to get unloaded. Pretty cool that evening. We got his booth set up, and I offered him to stay in the hotel with us. He stayed with me dang near every show after that, since Idaho in 2005.

Normally we’d sleep in trailers, but we’d camp around each other. One thing, he always wanted to braid on stuff. No matter what time of day, he’d always be sitting there braiding on something.

From 2005 until that last Paso Robles show, I made sure he always had a meal, something to eat. Kind of watched out for him. Anybody who worked for me, they got attached to Jimmy. Even the security guy up here at the Snaffle Bit asked me, “Where’s Jimmy?” Had to tell them he passed away. He touched a lot of people. He was a quiet man, but he touched a lot of people.
He would always sit and wait for me to get done with work. One time that touched me was at Las Vegas, the first year the Stakes were there. That show was going on forever. It was during the limited class, the boxing class finished up about 2:30 in the morning. I told the girls earlier that night to make sure Jimmy made it up to his room OK. At 10, I thought he went up to his room. We sat there working, and I shot and shot and shot. That horse show ended that night and I walked over to my booth, and Jimmy was still sitting there waiting for me.

Now, we all knew after we got done that Jimmy always liked to get a piece of pie or some kind of sweet with some coffee. I remember telling him that night, “Jimmy, it’s too late — we’re not getting no pie tonight. We’re going to bed.”

He’d be up in the morning and be dressed and ready to go the next day. He had all these customers who were special to him. He’d stand there when they were in the show pen, and he would try to get up there and get a view of what they were doing. Then they would come by the booth, and he’d tell them what they were doing good or doing bad. He was a great guy.

I lost my dad when I was 28. Once they’re gone, you wish you had spent some extra time with them. With Jimmy, I’d kinda hang out there with him, make sure he’s OK, and spent as much time with him as I good. At the shows, after the shows.

He was hardcore. It didn’t matter what the weather was. He would always be out there. He would pack a little heater and he’d be in his booth. I guess I met Jimmy he was 77. For him to go up and down the road at 87 the way he did, still hauling those thousands of miles from California to Texas and back, then and to Colorado and all over. He did a lot of that driving by himself. He’d always show up. He’d text me or call me and say, “Primo, I’m here. Where you at?”

We always greeted each other with a hug, and when we left, we’d always say “I love ya”, and “Luv ya, too” back.

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