Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1999Not learning to speak English until he entered grammar school, Leo Winters went on to become a Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer of the state of Oklahoma and the 38th president of AQHA in 1988.
Winters’ grandfather was a strong believer in serving your country for the freedoms you receive. He often told Leo, “If you are going to eat the fruit, you must work in the vineyard.” This philosophy followed him through law school, and he took a job as the Assistant Secretary of the Senate. Six months later, he took over the secretary’s position, where he remained for 10 years.
A strong leader, Winters resigned as Secretary of the Senate and ran for Lieutenant Governor, where he served the next four years. He then took on the position of State Treasurer; he served there from 1967 to 1987.
Throughout all this time, Winters continued to have the love for horses and agriculture that he developed as a child.
“I ran my first horse race in 1938,” Winters said, “and I’ve been an equine derelict ever since. It’s an addiction that neither Alcoholics Anonymous nor any other organization can help you fight.”
With knowledge of working horses, but a love for running horses, Winters bred Miss Top Flame, a Top Deck (TB) daughter out of a Three Bars (TB) mare that earned more than $60,000 in stakes wins. The mare eventually became the foundation of Winters’ breeding program. She was the dam of Cherished Lady, who produced the 1988 champion racing 2-year-old gelding Liberty Coin.
Winters bred 141 foals – 94 starters, 57 winners and 14 stakes placers with $435,018 in winnings at the racetrack. He bred most of the horses he raced, but his horses did not only excel on the racetrack. Three of his registered foals earned 151 points in the show ring, as well as three Registers of Merit and a Superior in barrel racing.
In 1970, Winters was selected as an AQHA Director. He served on the AQHA Executive Committee and the stud book and registration committee. He was also a member of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association.
Winters was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1999, and died in 2005.