South Dakota rancher Pat Cowan had a dream to raise a good-looking stallion that was fast enough to catch a calf and cowy enough to be a top cutting horse. That horse was Sun Frost. Pat already had two standout Stanley Johnston-bred geldings, so Stanley’s ranch at Ree Heights, South Dakota, is where Pat went when he was looking for a stallion prospect.
“Runnin Gun and Quick Draw Cline, our two Stanley Johnston-bred geldings, were doing a great job for us, not only as rodeo horses but as ranch horses,” says Tigh Cowan, Pat’s son, who along with brothers Tork and Treg comprise Cowan Brothers LLC/T4 Quarter Horses. “When Dad had a chance to go back to Stanley’s and buy a weanling full brother to the geldings, he jumped at the chance.”
Sun Frost was by Doc’s Jack Frost by Doc Bar and out of the Driftwood Ike mare Prissy Cline. In 1981, as a 2-year-old, Sun Frost was ridden by Tigh to win at the regional high school rodeo cutting.
Standing to a broodmare band rich in Johnston-bred horses, Sun Frost sired one AQHA-registered foal in 1982 and seven in 1983. Sun Flash Lady, an ’83 sorrel mare out of a Lonsum Polecat daughter, became her sire’s first performer as a National Cutting Horse Association money earner.
The stallion’s third foal crop, numbering 20, hit the ground in 1984. With the prefix “PC” denoting the names of Cowan-breds showing up as top competitors in ropings, cuttings and rodeos throughout the country, the crop included PC Boy George, a bay gelding out of a granddaughter of Sun Frost’s sire that became a North Dakota high school rodeo pole bending champion, and PC Dox Fox, a sorrel mare out of a granddaughter of Lightning Bar that was an NCHA money-earner.
By the mid-1990s, Sun Frost was one of the North Country’s most celebrated stallions, his reputation secured by horses such as the phenomenal barrel racing sire Frenchmans Guy, who was foaled in 1987 out of another granddaughter of Lightning Bar. As a sire of 464 AQHA foals, Sun Frost got progeny with earnings estimated at more than $2.5 million and grandget with earnings of more than $20 million.
Sun Frost died in January 2007.
“I believe one of the greatest barrel horses to ever live was French Flash Hawk (“Bozo”), sired by Sun Frost,” says Mel Potter of Marana, Arizona. “Watching my world champion barrel racing daughter, Sherry Cervi, compete against Bozo and Kristie Peterson, along with my prior knowledge and fondness for Sun Frosts already, led me to purchase (the full brother to Bozo), PC Frenchmans Hayday, as a 2-year-old in 1997. PC Frenchmans Hayday has been a true blessing to my family and breeding program.”
Rock Smith, who ranches in Montana and Alberta, owns PC Bar Dox Frost. “Sun Frost is not only a great sire, but a sire of great sires. His sons have impacted horse programs from Arizona to Canada, and his grandget are dominating in rodeo events and ranch programs throughout North America.”
The traits aren’t limited to the arena.
“It is so neat to see a 2-year-old with five rides being used by an 11-year-old youth to learn how to ride colts,” says Mark Weir of Ponoka, Alberta, who owns PC Manwood Ike. “That isn’t something you can say about many horses, but the mind and disposition that has been passed through Sun Frost is just phenomenal.”
He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2022.
Biography updated as of August 2022.