I remember!

Shared by Ann Bragg on June 13, 2016

My memories of Burley always have Bro in them.  These two wonderful real cowboys.....When Bro told stories about Burley you could hear the love and respect in the way he told them.  One story I remember was at a show when someone was ready to fight Bro and Burley came running up on Upsy  (I think is the name of the horse Burley was riding) rearing up right into the crowd breaking it up.....a real cowboy.

I remember that he was always smiling and talked softly.    

Bro used to say and I know it to be true, if you knew Burley you loved him.  

We will all be together again with the Lord and we will ride together again......when we return with the Lord riding white horses.  Won't that be the day!!!

Glory to God.     

Thanks to Burley

Shared by Jennifer Coplin on June 13, 2016

All through my childhood, I wished for a horse on the first star I saw at night.  I was 39 when I got my first horse, and it was thanks to Burley Champion.


We moved to Oxford with CertainTeed and John got to know Burley because he built shingle samples for the plant.  When John said we were interested in horses, Burley and Brenda welcomed us with open arms to their farm, even our rambunctious four and six year old boys.  Burley found the boys a patient little strawberry roan mare who gave them endless pleasure and very little trouble.  They named her June.


John and Burley went to an auction at the NC Fairgrounds and waited patiently all day for the right horse for me.  At the end of the day, a horse named Tequila Pine came up.  Labeled a “big flashy gelding,” he was a bit shaggy and, at 19, did not draw much attention.  But he had western pleasure points and Burley figured he’d be perfect for me.  He was.  He and Burley taught me to ride, and Pine was my best friend for 10 years.  Pine, and the 25-year-old saddle Burley helped John find, were the best gifts I’ve ever had in my long life.


Although Burley liked to breed horses for speed and agility, he also loved to trail ride.  From his barn, we would either take the River Trail or the Mountain Trail.  They were equally challenging and good training for both horses and riders.  The River Trail included a Tar River crossing.  While some horses, like Pine and June, crossed without a problem, many of the colts Burley trained were quite alarmed when they first saw that crossing.  John, Burley, and Wayne all enjoyed the challenges of riding young colts and getting them used to that crossing.  The rest of us would be quite entertained through those events, and we all admired the way Burley could handle a strong willful young animal.


The Mountain Trail presented different challenges.  Steep up and down paths built strength and agility in the animals and taught the riders balance and horsemanship in rugged conditions.


There are so many wonderful tales from those Sunday afternoons on the trails and Friday nights at Burley’s ring.  If it was cold, he’d make a fire in a barrel.  You really should ask John about the night he and Burley practiced “western pick-up.”  It involved Burley riding at a canter with John running up alongside and grabbing Burley’s arm to swing up behind him on the horse.  They were both covered in mud by the end of the night, but that didn’t stop them from going to the Waffle House to celebrate their eventual success.


To Brenda, Wayne, and Wendy, thanks for sharing those wonderful times with us and for welcoming us to Oxford.  You all have a very special place in our hearts.


Jennifer Coplin

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