Gary has loved cattle, horses, and people from day one. Being a cowboy was just in his DNA. He got his love for animals from his mom, Olga Hill, and his business mind from his dad, Clayton Hill. Gary grew up in a large family that didn’t let grass grow under their feet. Gary rode a horse to school and spent most days dreaming about moving cattle. Cattle and horses became his life and love at a very young age. He wanted his horses to be cowy, fast, and pretty, but he owned and rode plenty of them that didn’t have all those qualities. He has owned bucking horses, a dude string, performance horses, and dabbled as much as he could in the racehorse business. Gary’s dream was always to have a large family, run cattle, and do it horseback, surrounded by the people he loved.
There was no doubt that he would make the dream come true. Gary has been blessed to have taken many paths down his road in life. He has enjoyed family and friends in the rodeo world, where he entered every rodeo event they he decided owning a stock contracting business would be fun and profitable. It has been said that he could be found cheering for his animals and cowboys (his friends) so hard he would fall off the back of the chutes.
Another business venture Gary tried his hand at was raising and selling performance horses. He would stand as many as five studs and fifty mares at any one time. Gary produced many Quarter Horse sales with his wife, Alice Hill, and kids. Gary was always willing to partner with anyone else who wanted to promote the horse business. The horses he raised and sold were good, solid, and “kid broke” (by necessity) because they were born, raised, and used on Gary’s working cattle ranch. This made for a marketable prospect, and he and his family enjoyed welcoming people from all over the country to their ranch to purchase his horses.
Once the rodeo and performance horse businesses weren’t fast enough for him, he found a few dollars to spend on a fast horse and a friend who trained racehorses. This turned into many years that saw him and his family traveling to different racetracks and watching his horses run. He once had a mare who wasn’t winning in the short races, but he knew she was a winner. So, Gary entered her in an 870-yard race, and with his luck and winning attitude, the mare Go Stacy, took off in the lead and led the whole way to the finish line. Gary didn’t quit grinning or reminding everyone he knew she was a winner from the day he bought her.
As his family grew and Gary realized his love for cattle and horses had passed onto his children, it became clear that the ranch needed to become the focus. This was an easy adjustment for Gary because it meant he could enjoy everything important to him! Once the bucking, performance, and racehorses got few and far between, the cow horses, cattle, and land grew. The work had just begun, and he, Alice, and their kids rolled up their sleeves and took care of business. In the early ’90s, Gary’s family from California brought the sport of team penning to the Colorado Hill’s. The sport fit Gary like a glove. He could ride a great horse with his family and friends and try his luck at being a winner at something they did day in and day out. The rest is history; he spent years hauling his family and horses to every team penning he heard about and loved getting the chance to invite friends from all over the country to his ranch for his USTPA-pro- duced shows. His motto was: “We will work hard and smart to enjoy time together.” Gary and his family had several prestigious wins. Gary loves a good match race, and he won more matches than anyone. He loved sharing his horses with anybody who needed a ride because that meant someone thought he had a “good one.”
When mentioning team penning and his memories of the sport, Gary can’t help but grin and laugh at the time he shared with some of his favorite people on Earth. He has memories of jumping up and down in the stands at the Will Rogers Coliseum high enough that Jodi Hill and Larry Pancost thought he might land in the arena when three of his kids came back in the 19th spot to move up into 2nd place at the Fort Worth Stock Show. Another highlight was winning the Lazy E Challenge with his son, Corey, and Jodi Hill to fill his pockets and confirm that this sport also had a business side that he loved. Another memory that always makes Gary’s eyes sparkle is when Billy and Bobby Atwood and Gary and Jodi had a cutting competition. The Hills provided the horses, and the Atwood’s rode them. Billy and Gary’s great mare, Taris, came out on top of Bobby and Jodi’s palomino gelding, Boy. All the wins aside, the times that will make his eyes sweat and build a lump in his throat, making it difficult to talk about, are the times that he spends enjoying meals, laughing at stories, and getting to know the people who continue to be his most valuable treasures. These are the things he holds the closest to his heart. And for this, he says THANK YOU to the sport and those who made all this possible; he appreciates every part of you and all that makes up this group.Hall of Fame Brochure