Whether it’s running a chain of ice cream shops, rubbing elbows with Colonel Sanders, or teaching aspiring equestrians how to ride horses, one thing is for certain—in his 72 years, Bob Buxton has rarely had a dull moment.
A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Buxton has led a fascinating and fulfilling life and said he has never really felt more healthy in his entire life than he does right now.
Buxton said he had 34 Buxton’s Country Restaurants at one point early in his career, and said it is something he will never forget. “Taking a company public was interesting,” Buxton said. “It was quite an experience.”
Buxton said he did get in a little over his head, so he sought employment with a company that allowed him to actually meet one of the icons of the American fast food industry, Harland “Colonel” Sanders.
“He was really a nice and interesting old man,” Buxton said. “I went to work for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I ran 87 KFC’s in New York City. Then they moved me to Oklahoma City. I grew up in farm country, so I thought it was great. I had about 80 or 90 stores in Oklahoma and Texas, and I just loved it.”
Buxton was transferred to Houston in 1978, and said it was there that he realized he wanted to take his life in yet another direction.
“It was right in the heart of the oil boom,” Buxton laughed. “The people that came in to apply for jobs, you didn’t want them in a restaurant, let alone to hire them, but they gave me 187 stores down there…a good friend of mine, who was the president on the company, was working so many hours that I told him he was going to kill himself if he kept on going.
“He was about 40 years old, and he had a massive heart attack and died. He told me he was in great health, but then that happened while he was visiting his sister…after that, I said, ‘this is not worth it, I’m not doing this for the rest of my life.’ I got out, and that is when I got into the horse business.”
Owner of the Buxton Hunt Farm in Bartonville, Buxton now spends his days riding horses and instructing younger riders how to do so.
“I’ve had an opportunity in the last 31 years to help a lot of kids,” Buxton said. “Most of the kids who show horses do the hunter and jumpers. I would say that 99 percent of those kids never use drugs, and it gives them a way to get away from the God-awful society they are exposed to all the time and stay out of trouble. I think it is a great opportunity for them.”
After living in multiple locations throughout the country, Buxton said he settled on Bartonville for a couple of reasons, and has never once regretted his decision.
“This is really such a nice, quiet and private area,” Buxton said. “And I don’t want to get too big. I just want a small operation and do some rated and local shows a couple of times a year.
“These days, I just want to sit back, relax, show my horses and keep on working with the kids.”
Contact Bob Buxton at 469-371-7892 or www.buxtonhuntfarm.com.