Pete B. Loftin was born in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 3, 1949. His Dad, Joe B. Loftin, had been sent down there by the U.S. government to help with the hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic that broke out in 1948 and 1949. When done, the family returned to Texas. His Dad went back to managing cattle ranches, and his mom went back as a camp cook and straw boss of four boys, later adding a sister. They moved around a lot. By the time Pete was 18, he had lived in 20 different houses! “My Dad was a nomad,” he would tell people.
Pete was brought up in a ranch family, through and through. His Dad was raised in the Big Bend country before it was a National Park. At age 13, Pete was riding colts in New Mexico on a 75-section ranch. They moved to California in 1963, and over the next 21 years he worked in feed lots and ran cattle with his Dad and brothers. Pete would say: “Dad retired in 1976, I ran 3000-5000 head of pasture cattle on grass and beet fields. I learned to handle livestock by working in feed lots, there’s a lot of footwork done there. I think it really helped in making me a good penner.” To see the world, in 1967, he enlisted in the Army, and the world, well, it consisted of a tour in Vietnam, Fort Ord and Oakland CA. After 3 years he went back to the Valley and to the cattle and hay business.
Pete was running pasture cattle in El Centro, CA when a friend said to meet up with him at an arena the next day. It was 1983 and he was introduced to his first team penning. He had 3 goes and 2½ minutes EACH GO to pen em’. After that one penning, he was hooked! In 1985, as a single parent, he moved his family to Escondido, CA, starting Cloverdale Stables in the San Pasqual Valley, a boarding stable and penning arena. The move worked out for him. Cloverdale was down the hill from Hall of Famers (Willie and Steve Tellam’s place), 60 miles from Don Fullerton, and 40 miles from Marie Scovel. Then later, meeting Val, his wife of 33 years (30 of them good, they both say!) at a penning.
He hauled about every weekend to events. He produced numerous pennings, gave clinics, and they were able to raise up 3 great kids in the sport. Pete traveled up and down California, and over to Nevada and Arizona for 25 years. The 90’s took him farther to the USTPA and AQHA events in Texas, Louisiana, Montana, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Canada with his California partners and friends in tow. His partners and the penners who he rode against is its own Hall of Fame, both for penning and their contributions to the sport in its early stages. Atwoods, Joseph, VanZant, Moses, Mitchell, Snell, DeLude, Fitzgerald, Lloyd, Rainey, Pancost and Hills. And that’s only a few!
In 2001, Pete did his first of 4 penning clinics in Italy. He is a lifetime member of both the USTPA and AQHA. A USTPA past Vice President, WCTPA past President and for many years, and a Director in both of those Associations. In USTPA he concentrated on sanctioning, rules, and ratings committees. He also produced the first California USPTA sanctioned penning at Cloverdale Stables in March 1994.
Since 1989, the Loftins have sold penning and sorting numbers, and are happy to say the sport is very much alive! In 1999 they bought a small ranch in Cisco TX, then getting moved out there permanently in 2003. Here they run some cattle, and of course, sell numbers. According to Pete, “This life has been an adventure and quite a ride with lasting friendships, so many blessings, memories and a bunch a stories. Pete won his last Open Buckle in 2008, which was 25 years after his first buckle at that El Centro penning in 1983. He thought it was “beginners luck” back then. They were the only team to pen all 9! ““It feels good to be here tonight and to be recognized.”