The cutting community had to say goodbye to one of its great, longtime members, John Rockey, this past week. It is through heartfelt condolences to the Rockey family that I share just a few of John’s most treasured accomplishments.
John Rockey was born December 12th 1952, an early Christmas gift to his parents. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley of California, John was able to ride horses with his dad and compete in gymkhana’s, starting his love for horses and competition. As a teenager, he became an avid surfer, even gracing the cover of magazines. Entering the working world as a young adult, John became a Drywaller. Determined, John founded John Rockey Drywall in 1980, and ultimately become a legend in the drywall industry in Southern California. While John was busy working in the 70’s and growing his business in the 80’s, he continued his passion for horses. In the mid 70’s, John got into cow-horses and rode snaffle bitters with the great, Harold Farren from 1975-1986. This led to John getting into cutters with Tom Shelly from 1986-1994.
John Rockey and his wife Rose with Russ and Janet Westfall
Cutting was a family sport for John, along with his wife Rose, who he married in 1973 and sons John Jr. and Justin. He earned his first check in the cutting pen in 1985. In 1994, the Rockey family took a break from horses to focus on business. In 2010, John felt like it was time for his family to return to the arena. He bought a kid’s saddle during the family’s traditional trip to the NFR for the youngsters in his family and started riding with Tom again. John began showing at the weekend level on Crown Him Pistol (Dual Rey x Chiquita Pistol). In 2015, John started training with Russ Westfall and bought, Highbrow Silk N Lace (High Brow CD x Sanjo Silk N Lace). That proved to be the start of a sweet and successful relationship.
Over more than three decades, John accumulated nearly $375,000 in earnings and proved time and time again he was a force to be reckoned with in the show pen. In 2016, he had the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Amateur Horse of the Year, Let Georgie Do It (Metallic Cat x Hey Georgie Girl). John consistently advanced to the finals at major events including NCHA’s Triple Crown shows!
John Rockey & Let Georgie Do It
2018 proved to be an exciting year for John. It started with John taking home the Reserve Amateur Championship at the NCHA Super Stakes and the NCHA Summer Spectacular on Dureyngo Kid (Reys Dual Badger x Hissy Cat) along with the Senior Championships. John clinched the 2018 NCHA Futurity Amateur Championship on Sweet Toothe (Kit Kat Sugar x One Sweet Sis)- the dream of a lifetime!