George Phillips was a cowboy, first, last, and forever.
“From the time I rode a mule at my grandfather’s farm as a young child, all I ever wanted to be is a cowboy,” George told The American Quarter Horse Journal in October 2011.
George was not only a cowboy.
After earning a bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Mississippi, George became the youngest U.S. attorney in the nation at age 31 in 1980. Appointed interim U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, George developed a reputation as a no-nonsense prosecutor. He took on the Dixie Mafia, corrupt county commissioners, the president pro tempore of the state senate, and a Baptist preacher who was flying in cocaine on small aircraft.
Through it all, whether with his family or in the White House, George was guided by the cowboy ideals of fairness and honesty.
George, from Sumrall, Mississippi, and wife Nicole raised three children: Garrison, Margaret, and Mary.
George became an AQHA director in 2002 after being a member for over 30 years. He served on the public policy and membership services committees and the Foundation, ranching, show, marketing, and membership councils. He was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2011.
“I worked for five different presidents, a governor and a U.S. senator, and I’ve never been more excited to do anything than to be on the Executive Committee,” he told the Journal.
George’s time was cut short. He died February 2, 2015, from complications of cancer, while serving as AQHA first vice president. At the time, Johnny Trotter was AQHA president and George’s death advanced Second Vice President Dr. Glenn Blodgett into the presidency a year early.
“George’s enthusiasm for the American Quarter Horse was just part of the passion he brought to the AQHA Executive Committee,” Johnny says. “He was the nicest guy. He knew politics and was very much a peacemaker politician, and was a great representative and liaison for the Quarter Horse industry…it was a real shame that he didn’t get to serve as AQHA president. He would have been a great asset to the Association.”
George never had a large breeding or show-horse operation but loved raising horses from bloodlines such as Colonel Freckles and Jackie Bee. Learning the show industry from the ground up, he went from a ring steward to a three-time president of the Mississippi Quarter Horse Association and a four-time manager of the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show.
George Phillips was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2020.
Biography updated as of August 2021.