“Horses added to the richness of my life.
“I enjoy riding and working with horses just about more than anything I have ever done.”
Now, that’s saying something upon realizing everything Tim Trabon’s accomplished in his most eventful and diversified 65 years of truly living.
However, it sure didn’t start out that emphatically affirmative for the Kansas City businessman.
Forever an adventurer with obvious inner appreciation for the Western lifestyle, Trabon tried his hand at rodeo bull riding and a few bareback rides in the’70s.
“Totally unqualified to tackle either, I gave that up. But like many, I’ve always admired what it took to be a cowboy,” Trabon admitted.
About 24 years ago, Trabon was determined to pursue his affection for the “cowboy way,” and got his first horse.
“That three-year-old green broke, foundation bred grey mare had been ridden very little,” Trabon asserted. “In a matter of no time, she bucked me off about six times.
“I’ve had lots of different experiences, but that fractious mare was a true challenge. I never really conquered her, even though I still have her,” Trabon admitted.
Turnaround came when his friend Dr. George Gates introduced Trabon to renowned horse trainer John Ballweg.
“The opportunity to know and learn about horses and life with the legendary John Ballweg was a wonderful experience,” Trabon insisted.
For his dedication and service to horses and the horse industry, Trabon was recently inducted into the Better Horses Network Hall of Fame.
Today, Trabon runs Trabon Printing, employing 150 people, in addition to being a partner in Trabon Solutions, a custom-software company.
An admirer of oceanographic researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau since his teens, Trabon first joined “Calypso,” as a guest in November 1980 for its voyage on the St. Lawrence River.
At one point, the ship was caught in a winter storm and threatened to capsize. But, since that was Trabon’s first time sailing, he was blithely unaware of any danger.
“My inexperience and ignorance made everyone seem to believe I was fearless,” Trabon recalled.
Yet, it did lead to an invitation for Trabon to join Calypso on the Amazon in 1982, as financial director.
Trabon Printing published Jean-Michel Cousteau’s award-winning book “America’s Underwater Treasures.” Trabon now serves on the board of directors for Ocean Futures, an organization headed by Jean-Michel Cousteau
Married to his wife Patti for more than 30 years, they have three grown sons.
Trabon owns and manages the Fallin’ T Ranch, Ethel, Missouri, a 500-Angus cow operation, in a 30-year partnership with the Grigsby family.
“Horses and cows go together naturally,” Trabon insisted.
“John Ballweg traveled with me to the ranch many times, every opportunity we had, for roundups, working cattle and always giving me advice about how best to manage my horses,” Trabon said.
“I was a beginner, and John’s worst student. But, John was always very patient with me, and became almost like a father, as I continued to learn about horses,” Trabon said.
The acclaimed eight-minute documentary “John Ballweg – 8 Decades A Horseman” was produced by Trabon.
“John was 83-years-old then, still training, riding in the competitive horse arena,” Trabon noted.
For a number of years, Ballweg and Trabon settled and moved cattle at ranch rodeos and other horse competitions during the annual American Royal.
“I have a full brother and sister, a grey gelding Gunner and a bay mare Belle, that are Playgun bred, as well as a sorrel gelding called Biscuit,” Trabon said. “I got them all three from Craig Haythorn at the Haythorn Ranch near Arthur, Nebraska.”
A Will Rogers publishing award was presented to Trabon for producing a book on the Haythorn Land and Cattle Company.
Trabon has a pasture at his home near Olathe to keep horses for regular riding. “I absolutely love to ride, it’s physically rewarding and often mentally challenging. Working cattle horseback is what I like to do best,” he contended.
“Brad Lund at LaCygne is a wonderful teacher and the most encouraging person. He’s really helped me, too,” Trabon appreciated.
Trainer-clinician Curt Pate was acknowledged as a close friend, and Charro Jerry Diaz has also spent time helping Trabon through his horsemanship journey.
Additionally, Ernie Rodina of the Better Horses Network was credited for his friendship and cooperation in horse endeavors.
“I love horses and riding, but I don’t consider myself a horseman. A ‘student’ would be more accurate. When I’m working with horses, my other problems seem to go away. Horses are a most challenging avocation.
“I want to be able to ride as well as I can. I enjoy riding horses more than anything I can do. I have a long way to go, but it’s a very rewarding adventure,” assured Tim Trabon, who’s been in Houston, Texas, undergoing cancer treatment.
He would appreciate prayers sent his way.