By Kenny Andrews Outfitter, mule skinner and bucking horse breeder, Warren Johnson started Hell’s A Roaring Outfitters in 1982. He has been taking hunters, fishermen […]
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Meet the Member: Tomas Mitchell
By Kenny Andrews
Tomas Mitchell from Sheridan AR, is a well-respected pilot and bucking horse breeder. Some of you may recall his name due to the fact that Tomas sold a bucking horse (a descendant of the legendary Custer) at the Benny Binion sale in Las Vegas for $100,000 dollars to the McDonald family of Canada. The McDonalds own a rodeo company in addition to other business interests. Mitchell says he has had an interest in rodeos since he was a young man, and thanks to a successful career in the aviation business he was able to get into it as a breeder and stock contractor.
In 1961 Tomas graduated from Kingsland High School then went on to Henderson State University where he earned a degree in aviation. From there it was off to fly helicopters for the United States in Vietnam. After serving our country Mitchell found a job with American Airlines where he spent the next thirty years before retiring. Since retiring, Tomas still flies for Air Evac Lifeteam and an air medical transportation company based out of West Plains, Mo.
Tomas says the money he was able to make flying helped him fund a dream of raising bucking stock that he has had since childhood. His company, Mitchell Rodeo Co, located near Sheridan, provides horses to a number of rodeo companies. Thomas began breeding rough stock 20 years ago, starting mainly with horses, but has dabbled in bulls as well. He didn’t have the facilities in place to run bulls, so he concentrated on horses instead. With one stud and eight mares he was off and running. At one time Thomas had as many as 300 head in his operation, but today he figures his numbers are around 175 head. Of those horses, 100 head are kept at his ranch in Sheridan Ark, with the remaining horses scattered throughout Texas, Montana and South Dakota being hauled by other contractors. His horses are being ridden at such places as Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and even in Las Vegas.
“There is a common misconception that bucking horses are simply everyday horses that were never broke,” states Mitchell. “Bucking horses are achieved through specialized breeding just like your race horses. It’s strictly genetics. You can’t go down to the sale barn and just pick up a bucking horse any more than you can a race horse.” And just like the horse racing world, some lineages are more reproductive than others — and this is what triggered the big payoff for Mitchell in Las Vegas. The horse in question is an offspring of a stud horse named “Chism,” one of the last sons of the legendary Custer. Mitchell calls Custer the “grand daddy of bucking horses” because his lineage has produced some of the top bucking horses in the business. Chism was himself active on the rodeo circuit until Mitchell dedicated him to stud service. While getting six figures for bucking horses is a new milestone in the business, Thomas said it’s a trend he expects to see continue as rodeo gets more exposure through increased television coverage.