J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades

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James Lewis "Dusty" Rhoades
Born (1899-01-08)January 8, 1899
Cheyenne Wells
Cheyenne County
Colorado, USA
Died February 3, 1978(1978-02-03) (aged 79)
Odessa, Ector County, Texas
Resting place Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa
Occupation Businessman
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame

(1) Earnestine Anderson Rhoades (died 1936)

(2) Virginia Rhoades (his surviving widow)

Dale Robert Rhoades, Sr., M.D.
Two grandchildren:
Dale Robert "Bob" Rhoades, Jr.

Pamela Jane Rhoades Davis

(1) Rhoades was a pioneer in the promotion of the American Quarter Horse, principally in West Texas

(2) After J.C. Penney, Rhoades became a wealthy land developer, rancher, and civic leader in Odessa, Texas.

James Lewis Rhoades, usually known as J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades (January 8, 1899 - February 3, 1978),[1] was one of the founders of the American Quarter Horse Association, based in Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. He was the AQHA president in 1966 and again in 1974.[2] The organization conducts its business through headquarters off Interstate 40 in Amarillo. There is also a Quarter Horse Museum. The horse was first bred in colonial Virginia.


Rhoades was the eldest of three brothers born on a ranch in Cheyenne County in eastern Colorado. In 1925, he joined the J.C. Penney Company in Boulder, Colorado, and was later transferred to Missouri, and then to Texas -- San Marcos (Hays County), Abilene (Taylor County), and, finally, Odessa (Ector County). He became involved in horse shows through the Abilene Chamber of Commerce.

In 1938, Rhoades formed the Texas Palomino Association, the forerunner to the AQHA, of which he was one of the first stockholders on its founding in 1940. In 1939, Rhoades had worked to bring Quarter Horse racing to the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth. Prior to his leaving J. C. Penney's in Odessa, Rhoades joined James "Jim" Key (1900-1974)[1] to establish J. L. Rhoades and Associates, a land development company active during the petroleum boom years in Odessa.[3]

From 1951 to 1952, he was president of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce.[4] From 1959 to 1960, he was president of the Odessa unit of the Boy Scouts of America.[5]

Rhoades was twice married. By the former Earnestine Anderson, he had one child born in Cheyenne Wells, a son, Robert Rhoades, Sr. (July 15, 1921 – September 4, 2004), later a physician and civic leader in Crosbyton in Crosby County in west Texas near Lubbock. Earnestine died in 1936, when Dale, at fifteen, was in his senior year at Abilene High School.[6] Dale graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and then the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. After Earnestine's death, Dusty wed Virginia Rhoades (July 26, 1898 - May 25, 1990),[1] a horsewoman in her own right. Rhoades had two grandchildren, Dale Robert "Bob" Rhoades, Jr. (born c. 1944),[7] of Lubbock and Pamela Jane Rhoades Davis (born 1948) of Abilene, by Dale's first marriage to the former Ruth Boger (1920-2000).[6]

Graves of Dusty and Virginia Rhoades in Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa, Texas

In 1991, Rhoades was posthumously inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.[3]