He’s goin’ to the Preakness
By Judi Wiegman
The Woolley house in Dalhart has become a busy place. Anne Woolley hardly has time to put the phone down before it rings again. Chip’s siblings are very happy for their brother. Wilden was at work in Amarillo at the Big R watching the race in the sporting goods department. He admits that he shed a few tears at the end of the race. His mother responded, “So did I.”
Melissa and Michelle are happy to have placed bets on Mine That Bird, and that it paid off. Melissa bet $20 to win, $20 to place and $20 to show. Her earnings amounted to $1800.00! Michelle earned $400.00 on the horse who came out of the shoot, got squeezed and was running in last place. Not a bad return for a two minute race.
There is a $50,000 fee to enter the race. First place purse for the owners was $1,417,200. The second place purse was $400,000; third place $200,000; fourth place $100,000; and fifth place $60,000.
What’s he like, this 45-year-old single guy with a pretty blonde on his arm and a big shot of success? His Sunday School teacher from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Mary Jo Ondracek, remembers him well. She taught Chip as a junior and senior in High School. She remembers him as a “wheeler-dealer”
young man with lots of ideas. She said, “He was always making notes to himself.”
“He always commented about the high school having clubs revolving around the sports activities,” Ondracek mused, “but Chip always wanted a rodeo club. He loved riding.”
Mary Jo remembers the Junior/Senior breakfast served at the church. Chip was excited when as a senior he would get to be “served” by the juniors. He ordered a champagne breakfast! The teachers went along with Chip by mixing up “mock” champagne and serving it in plastic champagne glasses “Woolley” style. Mary Jo giggled as she said, “The kids were shocked and thought Chip really pulled it off.”
Robert Adamson talked about the years he spent with Chip in 4-H. He shared about a young boy raised ona family farm with ample opportunity to be involved with show animals. The family raised sheep and the Woolley children excelled in showing them. Mr. Adamson said, “He was an energetic young man; a worker, always doing his job.”
One of his senior classmates remembers him as a tall, quiet guy who was settled with being who he was. He was a guy who had plans and was undaunted by the plans of others. He had a love for horses and the rodeo venue. Hearing of his outstanding success, the classmate replied, “That would be Chip.”
Energetic, quiet, unobtrusive, and possessing leadership qualities; they’ll know him now, the man that trained Mine That Bird, Chip Woolley.