Welland Muri - Legend
Long time contributor to Canadian cutting. How long?
No one can pinpoint the starting date for Welland in the cutting horse community. Some of the more senior members of cutting when asked that question scratch their head, stare off into the horizon and respond: “ Dunno, He was here when I started…..”
With some digging in dusty Canadian cutting archives, some conversations with people that swear they are too old to cut (but still enter) indicate that his involvement is approaching its fourth decade if not in its fifth decade.
Welland is very sly about the age question but when considering the range of a cutting score (60-80) insider calculations put him near a perfect run. Very fitting. For a man who has done so much for our industry.
In reality it doesn’t matter when he started. The fact is he is an iconic fixture. Nobody says: Who’s Welland? Everybody has met him, chatted with him and walked away smiling and knowing they just met a real personality. If they haven’t they darn sure will. If you are new to the sport he will find you and personally welcome you to our world. The positive effect of Welland will produce predictable results. His love of horses and cutting is contagious.
So we should get back to “his involvement”.
For a cutter that has 5 decades in the sport in Canada his involvement would have included contact with the legendary Bill Collins. Welland Muri was more than in contact with Bill. It was Bill Collins that started Welland in equine sport. Initially as the story goes Welland started showing AQHA horses at the Alberta quarter horse shows. At that time the action was all at the quarter horse shows. Under the supervision and coaching of Bill Collins, he rode in classes like Western Pleasure and Trail horse. His equine partner of that era was Poco Chet. A steady and talented gelding acquired from a prominent California reinsmen. Rumour says Bobby Ingersol.
From that start it wasn’t long until Welland was headed to the cutting pen. Bill Collins became both coach, advisor and close friend. Bill had guided many successful non pro careers but I venture to suggest never one so enthralled with cutting.
Welland was an enthusiast. Still is. After what we estimate might be forty plus years he is still a cutting enthusiast. Just start a conversation with him about cutting then try cutting the conversation short. Cant be done!
Welland has owned and shown a litany of great horses A few of the standouts would be Perry Smoke, Mr Stolen Freckles, Hans CD, Clays Little CD and Super Sarahs Boon. Whether in year end standings or major competitions such as Calgary Stampede and Canadian Super Stakes Welland enjoyed them all. He gathered his share of the winnings too. In researching to bring modest accuracy to this story, I grabbed an old Canadian cutting horse magazine out the storage box.
First copy out. Front page. Full color. Headline. Welland Muri and Perry Smoke win 1998 Canadian Super Stakes Bridleless Cutting with a 151.
Glory days and that was just one example of his cutting prowess.
But Welland was far more than a competitor. He relentlessly promoted cutting through his volunteer efforts on cutting horse committees. Provincially he has served multiple terms on the Alberta board. Likewise on the CCHA board. He is one of the longest standing members of the cutting horse committee on Calgary Stampede Park. Think 35 years or more as a volunteer.
The push to be involved with organizing and promoting was from a man that as we said became a close friend to Welland. Bill Collins recognized what an asset Welland represented to the cutting community. Bill’s wisdom and foresight was not limited to training cutting horses.
Not just a poster boy ambassador but as a sponsor of cutting Welland is a standout citizen. His generosity has persisted almost beyond his personal time commitment. Historically try to recall a cutting of any magnitude big or small that was not supported by Lynwood Drugs or Welland Muri personally.
A professional to the core his practice of pharmacy absorbed a huge share of Wellands energy and talent. The result is a long list of testimonials in that profession. Those testimonials are from his patients or clients or whoever he came in contact with through the drug store. His personality always shines through. His competence is enviable.
But there was always gas in the tank for the cutters.
This man with the long history in our cutting community has contributed unselfishly to better the sport. He still rides. This is only a glimpse into his life. There may be minor inaccuracies so take a moment and have a visit with him.
Its worth the time to find out……..
He still craves developing young cutting horses. He still loves to tell a story. He still will share a dubious joke. He is still a proud grandpa of one of our youth cutters. Pure and simple. He is still Welland Muri.
Try to think of someone who has been involved in cutting for his length of time.
Are they still unequivocally excited about the sport?
Do they walk up to complete strangers and welcome them to the cutting?
Do they still walk that newby around the show and introduce him to everyone?
Do they still pull out their cheque book when a new event is proposed?
Tonight is one small opportunity to recognize a huge contribution. One man but so many areas of contribution. So many long term positive effects.
We all owe Welland a huge thank you for his involvement.
He is far more than just our ……..DRUGSTORE COWBOY!