© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

American Royal Honors Master Horse Trainer

Tom Bass
Photo courtesy of the Audrain County Historical Society
Tom Bass


Kansas City, MO – This weekend, the American Royal inaugurated a new warm-up arena for its horse shows. It's named after a pioneering horseman from Mexico, Missouri. Tom Bass is remembered by riding enthusiasts for his skill in training and showing saddlebred horses. His accomplishments are more striking, because he was an African American during Reconstruction, but became one of top trainers and showmen of his era. Some see Bass as the man who integrated professional sports. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross looked into the history of Tom Bass and sought out perspectives on his legacy from Anthony Arnold and Patricia Jackson of the Tom Bass Riders, UMKC History Professor Pellom McDaniels, and American Royal President Jim McNair.

For more information about Tom Bass, check out the Audrain County Historical Society.

This story was produced for KC Currents. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents Podcast.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.