Egon “Ray” Wegner was born in Floresville, Texas, on November 10, 1942, and passed away August 20, 2022. In Floresville, Ray’s parents were share-croppers, and his family did not have running water or electricity until moving to Corpus Christi, Texas, at age 5 when his father took a job working for Gulf Oil Company.
After living in the Corpus Christi area, his dad’s job was transferred to Shreveport, Louisiana, where he graduated from Byrd High School. He had already signed up for the Navy and, upon graduation, headed for Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was sworn in. Ray became a Chief Radioman, operating teletype machines on ships and carrying top-secret encrypted information into and out of Vietnam during two tours of duty. Over 10 years in the Navy, Ray was on a total of 16 ships all over the world.
As proud as Ray was of his Navy career, and he was extremely patriotic, his true love was and always would be horses. Ray discharged from the Navy in Seattle, Washington, where he began a civilian career in electronics, which led him to meet Ben Scott, who would shape his future in the Quarter Horse business. Ben became one of Ray’s best friends and sold him McLeo Bars, the horse that would officially put Ray in the horse business. Eventually, Ray would sell McLeo Bars to Bobby Shelton of Kerrville, Texas, heir to the historic King Ranch.
A born salesman, Ray also sold many different horse products, from Big D blankets to horseshoes to ropes. Through this salesmanship, Ray met and became lifelong friends with Jerry Anderson. It was Jerry who convinced Ray to move to Ellensburg, Washington, in 1970, where he began a very successful Quarter Horse breeding ranch. Over many years, Ray owned and stood many famous stallions, such as McLeo Bars, Doc’s Jack Frost (a son of Doc Bar), Cowboy Quincy, Triple’s Image (who was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2021), Instant Romance and Great Red Pine, to name a few. He raised and showed many offspring of these horses. In the late ’90s, Ray began to concentrate more on his horse transportation business and eventually became one of the most sought-after transporters in the business.
Ray had many prestigious customers in his horse transportation business and was “the only guy to call.” Ray was very proud to always be on schedule, and people could count on Ray getting their horses to a show on time and ready to walk in the ring. The trainers who depended on Ray’s ability to get a horse where it was going in perfect shape were too many to name. Special cases of horses that needed extra room, bad haulers, or mares and babies were Ray’s specialty. Ray’s hauling racked up 100,000 miles a year for many years, traveling between Washington, California and Texas. Horses such as Boomernic, Big Chex To Cash, Metallic CD, Hickory Holly Time, CD Diamond, My Lizzie Babe, Playboy’s Mom, Little Orphan Lena, Machine Made and Smart Luck are only a few of the champions he transported.
People along Ray’s route waited expectantly for him to pass through. Ray was a storyteller, and every layover stop was like a reunion with friends every time. Everyone was so excited to see Ray and hear his tales of the road, harkening back to an earlier time and form of communication before Internet and social media. There were special trips like the time Ray and Courtney took three head to JFK airport in New York. They took a horse to Juneau, Alaska, and they took horses to Florida and vacationed in Key West. Ray was so proud to be the person people trusted, and he worked every day to maintain that trust and integrity.
Ray retired in December 2016. He and Courtney took their horses and traveled to Arizona in the winter to ride and see friends, and rode and camped in Washington in the summers. They rode and camped in as many national parks as possible, including Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon. There were also many trips to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Ray was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on October 31, 2019, but he never let it slow him down, scheduling riding trips in between treatments. Ray lived life to the absolute fullest, was always positive and never met a stranger. Many people have said the only way to describe Ray was “larger than life.” Ray was a wonderful and devoted husband, and he will be missed horribly. Ray is survived by the love of his life and best friend, wife Courtney; his faithful horse Dandy; and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.