Many knew Hondo as the host of the Longhorn Gulch Shootout held in Nicholasville, KY. He, along with his sponsors, Toyota on Nicholasville, and The Boot Store, put on a great contest for us. And every year, it just seems to get better.
Fred loved the sport of Fast Draw. He enjoyed everything about it. Like most of us, he felt we are his family. It made his day when we all get together for furious competition, and the good times we seem to always share. He knew he would never be a number one competitor, but he shot his best, and was usually a heavy hitter at any contest. And Fred took much pride in that.
Hondo was born and raised in Texas, and spent most of his life there. He was stationed there when he served in the military. But when he retired from the military he made Lexington, Kentucky his home.
Hondo started in Fast Draw in 1956, when the sport had the six-inch hand rule. He had his very first rig made by Arvo Ojala. Hondo saw an ad for a Fast Draw rig in a magazine. It was the rig, James Arness used in his TV series “Gunsmoke”. The cost of the rig was only $49.50, so Fred ordered one, and flew to California, to picked it up, where Ojala gave him lessons in Thumbing.
Fred flew all over the US to compete, and in 1965, he flew to Toledo, Ohio to compete in a World contest. That is where he met Dale and Susie Searls, Red Jordan, Jim “Pop” Frysinger, Bob Algenbright, Joe Nelson, and Bob Mundon. Fred took 14th in the World Standing Wax.
Fred quit Fast Draw in 1970. And began doing Western Shows in Texas. Fred had done it all, from having a career in the Navy to Rodeo rider.
Thru the years Fred lost contact with all the shooters he once knew, and had thought that Fast Draw was a thing of the past. But he never stopped thinking about the friends he had made, and the sport. In 2002, Hondo had a gnawing at him to find Dale and Susie Searls. He remembered where they had lived, and got on the Internet to see if he could find them. He did. Fred called them, and it just so happened that Dale and Susie were headed south to a contest. Fred was living in Lexington, and they made arrangements to meet. Fred ended up going to the match with them, and the rest, so it’s said, is history!
Hondo had formed the fast draw club of Bluegrass Gunslingers, located in Lexington, Kentucky