Southern Arkansas University named the first recipient of the Credit Card Memorial Scholarship two years after the rodeo horse’s theft and tragic demise.
Fittingly, the college student who received the honor is a calf roper.
TyDaniel Haller, a junior from Indiana is majoring in Agriculture Business at SAU. Last season, Haller won the long-go in calf roping at Missouri Valley and made the short-go in team roping at Murray State. These and other standout performances put him at the top of the SAU point earnings for the season.
Credit Card was a 15-year-old quarter horse who carried Shaun Smith as the duo competed in calf-roping events. In November 2011, the sorrel gelding and four other horses were stolen from the college’s stable. Weeks later, all of the horses were found starving, but alive – except Credit Card. He was later found dead – slaughtered and dismembered by his captors.
“Credit Card lives on,” said Smith.
“It was neat that the scholarship went to a calf-roper this first year. I like Ty; it’s nice to give it to a friend, too.”
Smith graduated from SAU in the fall of 2012 from the College of Business with a marketing degree. He is now an insurance agent for Farmers’ Insurance and rodeoing.
When the Credit Card Memorial Scholarship Endowment was established, word quickly spread across the U.S., according to the SAU Foundation.
“Horse lovers from Florida to Washington State began mailing and making online donations of all sizes. The scholarship reached the level to begin being awarded after only six months,” said Josh Kee, director of major gifts for the SAU Foundation.
“I love SAU and am glad to support this University as much as I can,” said Smith. “SAU and Coach Hayes have had a major impact on my life.”