Rodriguez keeps her father’s legacy alive by redistributing his trophies
NATCHEZ — When Barbara Rodriguez steps into her parent’s trophy room in their home on Duncan Avenue, several memories of their illustrious rodeo days run through her mind and put a smile on her face.
Rodriguez moved into her parent’s house last year to help take care of her mother, Ruth Stacy. But once she passed away Dec. 16, along with her father who passed away in 1973, hundreds of little reminders kept her at their home instead of her residence in Beau Pre.
Rodriguez’s father, Roland Stacy, was better known as “Pee Wee” in the rodeo world.
Stacy and his horses, Pistol’s Hornet and Pistol’s Bit, were famous for their long reign at halter and calf roping.
Halter is a type of horse show in which the horses are judged for their suitability as breeding
stock, and Pistol’s Bit won second in the nation at halter in 1964, while Pistol’s Hornet was a four-time calf-roping national champion.
“Pistol’s Bit’s competition was about earning points,” Rodriguez said. “And when she retired, she had a total 542 points, and is still in the top 15 of all time horses.”
While winning several rodeos across the southern region with Pistol’s Bit and Pistol’s Hornet, Stacy was also the president of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association.
And as Rodriguez enters her parent’s trophy room, the golden glow of the walls would put anyone at awe.
Of Stacy’s 1,400 trophies, 150 remain on shelves at the Stacy residence, covering three walls from ceiling to floor in bronze horses.
Rodriquez could look at certain trophies and travel back to the date in question to tell funny stories about Stacy and the fun she had supporting her father at his rodeos.
“I sit here and I find myself thinking about things,” she said. “I might look at a trophy and think, ‘Oh yeah, that was out in Texas and I went out there with dad.’ Every one of them almost has a part of my life.”
But today, Rodriguez’s main goal is to get back to her home in Beau Pre, but she says her home can’t support the number of trophies along with other prized possessions that she could possibly take with her.
Rodriguez had the idea that instead of wasting the trophies, she would give them new homes, which is similar to what she did with most of the 1,400 trophies before her mother passed.
“We had no room to put any more (trophies in the house),” Rodriquez said. “So we called the state’s 4-H club and Quarter Horse Youth Association, and we gave the bulk of these trophies to them to use in their shows.
“The Mississippi Quarter Horse Association asked me if there is anything they could do for me, and I said find homes for 150 trophies. They didn’t believe me.”
Tom McBeath, second vice president of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association, said he and other members of the association made a special trip to Natchez to see the collection.
“We were pleasantly surprised, because all of them are in great condition,” McBeath said. “We would have to relabel them, and that’s all.”
The Dixie National Quarter Horse show will have its 50th anniversary next year, and the association plans to refurbish and give out Stacy’s trophies as a special anniversary edition.
“What we intend to do is give those trophies away with information about that specific trophy on the back of it,” McBeath said. “It will be personalized with the year the trophy was actually won, so people that win them will see how valuable it is.”
Rodriquez said handing out the 50s-era trophies will share history in more ways than putting information on the back.
“When they gave out these trophies (initially), it was an honor because these emblems were of the American quarter horse,” she said. “But they got expensive and chose not to give them anymore. So (these trophies were) the end of an era.”
Though Rodriguez is giving away the trophies, she said sentimental pieces of memorabilia would be going to her home.
“I have a big oil painting of daddy and his horse hanging over my couch,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve got a few trophies at my house that have some special meaning as well.”
Rodriguez said just because the trophies are gone, the legacy of her father remains within her and the quarter horse association.
Stacy was the first person to be inducted into its hall of fame, and soon, Ruth Stacy will be, too.
“The finale will come when I die, because I will stay involved with the (quarter horse) association,” Rodriguez said.