February 5, 1955
“There’s no better place to live and die than our Nebraska Sandhills” is a statement Joe Finney makes often. In our opinion, there’s not a better Sandhiller than Joe.
Joe Emmet Finney was born into a ranching family in 1955 at North Platte, Nebraska to Hubert and Hazelle Bequin Finney. Along with his parents and his brother Mike, the family ran a solid and well-respected cow/calf operation just south and a little east of Seneca, Nebraska. Mike and his family now own and operate the original place plus more land and cattle Mike and his son, Aaron, have acquired.
Joe was a great hand in the rodeo arena as well. He qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals twice. In 1973 Joe graduated from Thedford High School and went one year at Alva, Oklahoma before transferring to Kansas State University to graduate in 1977 with a degree in Ag Education. Joe rodeoed through college and in the Mid States Rodeo Association and Nebraska State Rodeo Association. Joe rode saddle broncs, wrestled steers and roped calves. When he could get away from the ranch, Joe participated in PRCA rodeos in bull doggin and calf roping. Joe roped his last calf in 2010 at the age of 55. He loved the sport and particularly the horses.
For many years, Joe judged high school rodeos and some amateur rodeos as well. When his daughter Traci and son Wade chose not to compete themselves, Joe continued to help any kid in the country who wanted to learn. He drove numerous young men to high school rodeos, furnished them horses and coached them on his own dime. Numerous young cowboys and cowgirls were gifted one or more of Joe’s horses. If a student was willing to learn from the bottom up, Joe was in their corner. It’s hard to say how many young people Joe helped; he didn’t’ keep track. Joe loves kids. He is a grandfather of nine.
Hubert, Mike and Joe are known for their great horses both on the ranch and in the arena. After learning from Hubert, Joe made the decision as a very young man to develop a horse breeding program of his own starting with the purchase of one mare. Hubert knowing the highs and lows of the business discouraged the start up and sold his own pen of mares. Joe believed in the business and bloodlines and moved ahead. With a soft smile, Joe said “it was Dad’s fault I fell in love with the horses in the first place.” In 1979 Joe began his breeding program.
If anyone knows bloodlines and performance horses, it’s Joe. He partnered on a stallion, Red Rim Rock, with Mel Potter of Arizona from 1999 to 2008. Many fine colts and breeding mares were raised over the years from several bloodlines, but Joe was particularly proud of Driftwood bred horses. It’s been stated by several horsemen that there’s “nobody in the country that know the pedigrees of good horses and understands the genetics better than Joe Finney”. Joe is mentioned on the Driftwood site as an excellent reference.
Although in recent years, Joe lived for a short while in Oklahoma and near Crawford, Nebraska; his heart is in the Sandhills and is once again home. Through all his travels, his horse dealings, the rodeo arena, and the people all lived among, there’s never an unkind word said about him by the people who truly know him. Joe respects, admires and learned from a great many cowboys. His greatest influences however are his parents, Hubert and Hazelle and his brother, Mike. Joe Finney is absolutely a pure Sandhills cowboy and horseman. Above all he is a great and kind person. We are honored to call him “Friend”.
Joe Finney was born and raised in the Sandhills. Here he ranched, rodeoed and raised an exceptional herd of quarter horses. Joe is a neighbor and friend to all. Joe spent years teaching young people who wanted to rodeo, how to rope and good horsemanship. He is generous with his horses, his time and money.