Frank “Scoop” Vessels III was born to be a horseman.
Or at least it became inevitable when his grandfather, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member, Frank Vessels Sr., who founded Los Alamitos Race Course and Vessels Stallion Farm, stuck a scoop in the little boy’s hands and put him to work cleaning stalls.
Scoop Vessels was appointed to the AQHA Racing Committee in 1992, and was elected to the board of directors the following year. He also served on the Association’s racing, Professional Horsemen, affiliate and public policy councils. A big supporter of youth, Vessels was the driving force behind the AQHYA Racing Program, which allows youths the chance to work with racehorse trainers and experience all facets of the business.
In 1999 and in 2006, Vessels was AQHA’s champion breeder of racing American Quarter Horses. In 2000, he received the Racing Council’s Gordon Crone Special Achievement Award, and the AQHA board of directors elected him to the AQHA Executive Committee. In 2003, the equine industry program at the University of Louisville in Kentucky gave him the John W. Galbreath Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship in the Equine Industry. Vessels became AQHA president in 2004.
A longtime board member of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association, Vessels was active in the Thoroughbred industry as a breeder and owner. He was a member of The Jockey Club, and past president of both the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the California Horse Council.
“I’m not afraid to try to give back to the horse business,” Vessels said. “We’re blessed with a lot of things, and to be able to give back is very important. It takes a little time, it takes a little effort, but I really enjoy giving back.”
At home in any kind of racing, Vessels, in addition to his success with four-legged racehorses, was equally successful with four-wheeled race vehicles. During his career, he won the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 five times each. In 2007, he was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Frank “Scoop” Vessels III was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in March, 2010, and was killed in a private plane crash in August of the same year.
Biography updated as of December 2010.