Born in 1935 in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Judy Flanagan Dearing grew up in Alabama. She became involved in the livestock industry in Texas in the 1960s, raising and showing American Paint Horses and American Quarter Horses. With her family, she raised a string of Paint Horses that garnered championships in halter, roping, reining, and barrel racing. For 20 years commencing in 1964, Dearing volunteered with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,serving as secretary and fund raiser for all the Paint Horse shows and several Quarter Horse Shows.
She helped to organize the Youth Club of the American Paint Horse Association, and for several years served on the Board of the Ladies of the American Brahman Breeders Association. From 1970 to 1985, she and her husband operated Weathervane Stables in Barker, Texas, which provided horse-riding and4-H Show opportunities to many Houston-area youngsters. Judy entered the museum field as executive secretary to the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 1982. After moving to Oklahoma in 1985, she attained a similar position with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. There, she took over the coordination of the Museum’s Rodeo Historical Society. She was instrumental in establishing both the Society’s Tad Lucas and Ben Johnson Memorial Awards.
For her many contributions to the horse and cattle industries, the preservation and celebration of rodeo history and sport, and the support of American youth, Judy Flanagan Dearing received the Tad Lucas Award in 2004.