Goodbye to Starkey Smith

Author: Alex Taft

Goodbye to Starkey Smith


Starkey Smith of De Kalb, Texas, passed away April 25, 2018, at age 70, but he won’t soon be forgotten.

Starkey was born on Oct. 21, 1947, in Texarkana, Arkansas, and at a young age quickly built his reputation as an all-around athlete, shining on the football turf. After acquiring a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from East Texas State University, he worked various jobs within his family-owned grocery stores before diving head first into the world we know and love – the cutting industry.

In 1991, Starkey’s impact on the cutting industry began, but his influence on some quality lines are still being seen today. He owned or bred several top-10 finishers in various classes, including 1993 Open World Champion Show Biz Sandy, a 1987 mare by Son Ofa Doc. Show Biz Sandy not only dominated in the cutting pen, but she also went on to produce some big hitters like Show Biz Ben (LTE: $303,855), Show Biz Billy (LTE: $154,193) and Show Biz Kitty, the producer of Rollz Royce (LTE: $51,975). 

Starkey Smith & Show Biz Billy • Photo by Don Shugart

A few of Starkey’s other stand-outs include Blue Bayou Boon, who accumulated nearly $100,000 in the show pen, and Blue Bayou Boon’s daughter SS Blacks Lil Kitty, an earner of $185,839. Given her impressive performance record, it’s no surprise SS Blacks Lil Kitty’s made an instant blast in the cutting industry as a dam. Her first foal, Blackish (by Hottish), was the 2018 Ike Derby & Classic Open Champion and has accumulated roughly $60,000 just this year.  

Starkey not only raised talented athletes, but he also was a National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) show producer with a passion for bringing community members together. While his events took place in his small town of DeKalb in an arena called Cowboy Corral, the well-run shows attracted some of cutting’s biggest stars, like Meradas Little Sue (LTE $670,099), Little Badger Dulce (LTE: $657,276), Tap O Lena (LTE: $450,639) and Sonitalena (LTE $188,876). 

Of course, everyone loves to watch a competitive cutting, but what really brought in a crowd to Starkey’s shows was the hospitality and comradery. Starkey made sure everyone had a clean stall, a full stomach and a smile – and that steadfast generosity is what he will most be remembered by.

Services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2018, at First Baptist Church in De Kalb, where Starkey was a Sunday school teacher. John McCullough, Jason McCullough and Bro James Sparks will be officiating. Interment will follow at Woodmen Cemetery in De Kalb.

Visitation will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, 2018, at Bates Family Funeral Home in De Kalb.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorials to First Baptist Church Building Fund, 204 W. Fulton, De Kalb, TX 75559.

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