Mr Gun Smoke was ahead of his time.
The 1961 stallion was a bright sorrel, but he was thin and gangly as a baby and was slow to mature. Bred by Harley and Mamie Price of Bazine, Kansas, he was a son of Rondo Leo and out of the Kansas Star mare Kansas Cindy – both performance lines.
Mr Gun Smoke changed hands several times, but he landed in hands that knew what to do with him when noted horseman Dale Wilkinson bought him for $2,500, a trophy and a filly.
Dale knew Mr Gun Smoke’s amazing sensitivity would make him also sensitive to a cow, and Dale started cutting on the stallion to promote him, earning 71 AQHA points in cutting and a Superior, plus $8,476 in National Cutting Horse Association earnings.
Then Mr Gun Smoke was retired to the breeding shed.
Smoke’s polite manners, explosive athletic ability and sensitivity translated to his offspring, and he quickly built a reputation as a sire of performers.
Gary Wexler of Vacaville, California, bought Mr Gun Smoke and heavily promoted him, turning the great sire into a household name in California.
In all, Mr Gun Smoke’s progeny went on to collect $972,732 in NCHA, $47,469 in NRHA, $1,949 in NRCHA and $1,341 in AQHA World Championship Show earnings. His get earned 2,049 points in AQHA competition. He sired three reserve world champions and one year-end high-point winner.
As a maternal grandsire, Mr Gun Smoke’s get have earned $92,844 at the World Show, $2.46 million in NCHA, $862,454 in NRHA and $353,926 in NRCHA.
Mr Gun Smoke himself was inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Fame in 1980 and the NRHA Hall of Fame in 2008.
In fall 1982, Jerry Rapp bought the stallion.
“We got Mr Gun Smoke in his limelight years,” says Phil Rapp, Jerry’s son, who was a youngster who admired the stallion and is now a leading cutting trainer. “I don’t even know if we owned him a full 12 months before he died. He was a horse well before his time.”
In 1983, Mr Gun Smoke was euthanized and inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2016.
Biography updated as of March 2016.