Hall of Famer
When pressed about it, Buck McColl refuses to describe himself as a pioneer and leader in the field of nutritional supplements for horses.
“That sounds like horn-tootin’,” the 74-year-old Thomasville man protests.
Maybe so, but when you’ve been doing something for more than a quarter-century — and doing it well enough to get yourself inducted into a Hall of Fame — well, that calls for a little horn-tootin’.
McColl, the longtime head of Mobile Milling Service in Thomasville, was recently inducted into the Farriers Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor bestowed by the Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association (BWFA). And the funny thing is, he’s not even a farrier — more commonly known as a horseshoer — which is an apparent first among Hall of Fame inductees.
“Once you’re nominated and in the pool to be voted on, it could be years before you actually get in,” says Ralph Casey, executive director of the 8,000-plus-member BWFA, based in LaFayette, Ga.
“Buck was only nominated one time and he got in on the first try, so he’s very well thought of. I don’t know of anybody who would say anything bad about Buck. And these Hall of Famers (who vote on the nominees) are hard-boiled — they think you should have to earn it — so if you get inducted, it’s well-deserved.”
McColl earned his induction on the strength of his long history of contributions to the farriers’ association. As a provider of nutritional supplements for horses, he teaches basic equine nutrition at farriers’ schools across the country and is regularly invited as a speaker at clinics and symposiums for farriers, as well as events hosted by the National Farrier Research Center. He has also written a number of educational articles for American Farriers Journal and other publications.
“Buck goes out of his way to educate farriers about how important nutrition is,” Casey says. “Horse owners are demanding a better-educated farrier today, and Buck always goes the extra mile to help educate them.”
McColl’s induction was announced in October, at the BWFA’s annual convention in LaFayette, Ga.
“I was surprised,” he recalls. “I was just sitting there while they called out a couple of other names for the Hall of Fame, and then they called out my name. I was taken aback — I wasn’t expecting it since I’m not a horseshoer.”
McColl, a Catawba County native, graduated from North Carolina State University in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. After graduating, he joined Mobile Milling Service, a family-owned and -operated business that was established in 1953. The company was originally a mobile farm-feed service, but in 1986 McColl changed the company’s focus when he began manufacturing nutritional supplements for horses, specializing in hoof health.
“Nutrition plays a big part in hoof health,” McColl explains. “That’s been sort of a unique niche to fill, and it’s worked pretty well for us.”
McColl’s son, Bill, is president of the company now, while the father serves as vice president and nutritional consultant. His wife, Barbara, has been active in the business, too. Another son, Bryan, also worked for the company for years, but he now lives in Florida.
Even at age 74 — 75 next week — McColl has no plans to retire.
“I’m still here every day,” he says. “My idea of retiring is doing what you want to do, and right now I want to work.”
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At a glance
Name: Buck McColl.
Education: Graduated from N.C. State University in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
Employment: Vice president and nutritional consultant for Mobile Milling Service of Thomasville, a company specializing in equine nutritional supplements.
Family: Wife, Barbara (they’ve been married 50 years), and sons Bill and Bryan.
Recognition: He has won numerous honors, including his recent induction into the Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association’s Hall of Fame.