Meet Buster & Sheryl McLaury
Buster and Sheryl both come from ranching backgrounds. Both their fathers worked on and managed ranches while they were growing up. At an early age, they experienced the dust, heat, and long days in the saddle during roundups.
Their views on horsemanship changed dramatically in 1984 when the couple met Ray and Carolyn Hunt. They quickly became friends and learned that two of Ray's passions were horses and home made ice cream.
For the next dozen years, they continued working on and managing ranches. In the fall of '95, they moved to Benjamin, Texas, and Buster started day working on area ranches and riding horses for the public.
Soon, first one person and then another began asking for some help with their horses. Then the Moorhouse and Pitchfork Ranches asked Buster to come and help their crews start their colts. Sheryl encouraged Buster to start helping more people, and, as a result, they conducted their first clinics for the public in 1996.
A product of the big ranch country in West Texas, Buster McLaury brings a unique perspective into his clinics and demos. Having made his living cowboying on and managing big outfits all his life, he has worked thousands of horses and hundreds of thousands of cattle. Over 40 years around livestock has provided him with a wealth of information, experience, and stories which he readily shares with others.
Buster says, "When I was a kid, I noticed early on that the men ridin' them good horses got to work those roundups, drag calves when we branded, etc. That's what I wanted to do, so I kept my ears pointed whenever one of those good hands talked about stock."
"I never rode any show horses, and I never had any time to teach one any tricks. My horses and I always had a job to do, and I've spent my life trying to learn the easiest way for me and my horses to get that job done. To that end, I've learned lots of little things that could benefit a novice trail rider, a cutting horse trainer, or cowpuncher trying to get his horses a little handier. Basically, we all need for our horses to do the same things: stand still, go, stop, turn and back up. I believe that is the foundation for any discipline. Unless and until the true understanding of that foundation is understood by both the horse and human, the potential and probability for conflict exists. "
"Once the foundation is there, we can refine it in any direction we choose — reining, dressage, cutting, barrel racing, or simply an enjoyable conflict-free trail ride."
Buster's mentors in horsemanship include his father, Royce, his grandfather, Seth Woods, Keith Slover, Buster Welch, and Ray Hunt. He laughs when he says, "Before Sheryl and I met Ray and Carolyn about 25 years ago, I thought I was a pretty good hand with a horse, and I guess I was getting along all right. But Ray could get horses to do things I didn't even know horses could do!"
"My daddy, both my granddads, and at least one of my great granddads were cowboys. Horses have helped make a living for our family for well over a hundred years. Now it seems, the Lord has given me the opportunity to give something back to the horse. I consider that quite a responsibility."
As a testament to Buster's communications skills, he has written numerous articles over the last 20 years for magazines such as Western Horseman, Horse and Rider, The Cattleman, Cowboy, and the Quarter Horse Journal. He did most of the photography for these articles himself. He also partnered with David Stoecklein in his coffee table books The Western Horse and The Texas Cowboys.
Sheryl says she learned responsibility by having chores to do and animals to take care of. She says, "When you actually see that the horses were or were not fed, or that the cow was or wasn't milked and the calf turned in to suck, you realize that your actions have consequences — either good or bad. You realize that the horses and the cattle are depending on you. Those are lessons that last a lifetime."
As a kid, she endured a lot of teasing from the cowboys with whom she worked including Buster's grandfather, Seth Woods. Being a girl, she felt she always had to work a little harder to prove herself. By showing her determination, though, there was always someone willing to help her learn more about horses and cattle. Through the years, she has earned the respect of the Cowboys she has worked with.
Sheryl began to show her horses in 4-H in reining and western pleasure. She made the district show in both events. During her senior year in high-school, she was elected 4-H Rodeo Queen.
She says she now realizes that her morals and values —her foundation— was formed by the influences of the good people she's been around. In listing her mentors, she includes her parents, Seth Woods, Don and Debbie Grillo, Jeff and Peggy Davis, Ray and Carolyn Hunt, Tom Blasingame, and Tom Moorhouse.
Sheryl is also an excellent cook. She's had a lot of practice feeding lots of hungry cowpunchers on various ranches in West Texas. She's won numerous awards cooking in Dutch ovens and chuck wagon cooking contests.
Her family agrees that she is an outstanding wife and mother. Her selfless dedication and commitment to her family is to be admired.
These qualities all come out as she helps people with their horses. She helps them not only understand the mechanics of riding, but to realize that the more you give of yourself, the more you'll get back.
Buster met Sheryl at a dance in Paducah. He was working for the 6666 Ranch, and she lived on the Heatley Ranch, north of town, where her stepfather was the foreman. Both coming from ranching and horse backgrounds, they hit it off immediately and have been married over forty years.
Buster says, "I drug Sheryl and these girls to some pretty remote cow outfits with some less than desirable housing, and Sheryl's made a home out of every one of them. She's good help at a cow workin', calvin' heifers, startin' a colt, or feedin' a crew of hungry cowpunchers. She's learned to 'hang and rattle,' and there ain't no job I'd be afraid to tackle with her helpin' me."
Sheryl and Buster are blessed with two daughters. Tiffany lives in Paducah, TX, and rides and shows horses for the public. Misty and her husband, Michael, live in Midland, TX, with Michael's sons Damien and Jared, their son, Mikey, and daughter Milana Anne. Michael works in the oil industry.
Buster and Sheryl now live on their own place just west of Paducah, Texas. They spend each year traveling the U.S. and abroad conducting colt starting, horsemanship, ranch roping, and cow working clinics. The McLaury's goals in their clinics are to help people better understand the horse and how to work with him in a manner that is fitting to him, thereby creating an environment of trust, understanding, and enjoyment for both horse and rider.
For more information on their clinics or to contact them personally they can be reached at Box 105, Paducah, Texas 79248 or 806-492-2711.