OkQHA Hall of Fame Inductees 2019

Meet the horses and horsemen to be honored January 25 at the 15th annual Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

From the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association

The Ole Man (Credit: courtesy of Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association)

The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame was created in 2005 to recognize outstanding individuals, horses, ranches or businesses, whose contributions involving the American Quarter Horse significantly impacted the great state of Oklahoma’s equine industry.

This event is dependent on the generosity of donors who acknowledge those contributions with financial support.

The 15th Annual prestigious Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Friday January 25, 2019 at the Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown Medical Center, 741 North Phillips Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104; (405) 239-9000; at approximately 5:00 pm. 

The ceremony is a ticketed event, open to the public, benefitting the Hall of Fame. A cocktail reception will begin the proceedings followed by dinner and the induction ceremony. 

Tickets are available for $55 from the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association, 5506 N Rockwell Ave, Bethany, OK  73008-2040, (405) 440-0694 voice, (405) 440-0649 fax, Email:  okqha@sbcglobal.net, Website:  www.okqha.com.   If you wish to sponsor an inductee or their award that form is also found on the website.

The 2019 Inductees are:

Ronnie Austin, Ringling, OK

Ronnie Austin opens up his old worn wallet, he smiles at the image of Jesus he keeps on the inside fold.  Ronnie has a lot of faith and he prays a lot.  Ronnie is lucky to be alive.  In September 2003 he was very tired when he traveled to Amarillo TX to compete at the inaugural American Quarter Horse Association Amateur Select World Championship Hors Show.  Ronnie won Bayer Select Amateur Tie-Down World Championship.

In October of 2003 Ronnie and his wife Jessica headed to the doctor.  He learned that he had leukemia.  His headed to MD Anderson in Houston. He had to undergo intense chemotherapy and months with an experimental drug.  Austin’s lifestyle of riding, roping, travel and work as a cattle buyer came to a complete stop that year as he fought for his health.  He was released from isolation in November of 2003.  His final round of chemo was in March 2004.  His leukemia is in remission and he takes two pills and one shot a day. 

He was determined to compete again in Amarillo.  Although he qualified the horse, he could not practice much as he would have liked.  So in September of 2004, Ronnie his young horse RR Sonita Norbert placed third at the AQHA Select World Championship horse show despite struggling with leukemia.  Immediately afterwards, Ronnie headed back to MD Anderson for bone aspiration, blood work. 

He bought some great horses from the Roos Ranch so that he could raise and show Quarter Horses.  The first horse he raised which went to the PRCA National Finals Rodeo in tie down was RA Quick Silver.  Turtle Powell won the PRCA World Champion Heading and AQHA Horse of The Year.  That became his goal to send Oklahoma bred horses to the NFR.  He raised CNN Smart Gunner, Little Smart Leo, RA Sonita Silver, Purple Prince and RR Sonita Norbert.  Ronnie has mounted, partnered or sold horses to Matt Shiozawa, Adam Grey, Tyler Milligan and Ryan Jarrett.

Jerry Burgess, Grand Prairie, TX

Jerry Burgess has earned industry-wide respect as a premier stakes jockey for more than 25 years and as a racing official for more than 30 years.

He is the son of the late Melvin and Myra Burgess.   At the age of 15, he began riding races in Oklahoma and Berryville, Arkansas, Ruidoso Downs and Los Alamitos Race Track in California.  In 1962, Burgess became a full time professional quarter horse jockey who also attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1969.

Among his achievements were wins in the 1975 All American Futurity on Bugs Alive in 75, the 1980 Rainbow Futurity aboard Mighty Deck Three, 2 World Championship Classics aboard Oh Snaz and Alamitos Feature and riding two time world champion Dash for Cash in the Vessels Maturity and the Lubbock Downs Futurity. He was a four time winner of the Sunland Park Derby, a four time winner of the Raton Futurity, two time winner of the Oklahoma Futurity and a six time winner of the World Wide Appaloosa Futurity.

He has been inducted into two horse racing Halls of Fame: the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in Oklahoma City in 2010, the Ruidoso Hall of Fame in Ruidoso in 2011 and is a recipient  of the Pete Pederson Outstanding Steward Award in 2016.

After retiring as a jockey, he has worked as a steward at many tracks in Texas, Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico and Haileah Park in Florida.  He is currently a steward at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie.  He serves as one of two stewards from the Southwest Region who collaborates with ROAP on suggested improvements of racing regulations nationally.

Rick Chayer, Sperry, OK

Rick Chayer was born November 21, 1959 to Don and Wilma (Chestnut) Chayer.  Rick’s family was extensively involved in the horse industry.  While he was in high school he worked for Denny Hassett Quarter Horses.  After he graduated from high school he went to work for Mark Chestnut.  Rick considers Mark one of his mentors.  It while working for Chestnut, Rick learned to rope.

Chayer worked for an elite list of world renowned equine operations such as Carol Rose Ranch, Wayne Jordan Quarter Horses, 7S Stuart Ranch, Lazy E Ranch And Arena and Eddie Crow.

While working at the Lazy E Ranch And Arena, he met a lady that would change his life, Dolly Jensen.  Rick and Dolly started their partnership training horses in 1990.  In 1993, they moved to Sperry, Oklahoma, where they had the opportunity to rent a big indoor arena and barn that sat on 160 acres north of Tulsa. It was on December 11, 1993 that the couple married, beginning another partnership.  In 2004, Rick and Dolly were able to purchase the ranch and now call it home.

They have been fortunate to raise, train or show numerous AQHA World Champions and All American Quarter Horse Congress Champions, along with champions in amateur and youth.   They have all trained Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Champions and Golden Horses. Rick Chayer has earned a total of -5384 lifetime points. 

Rick and Dolly have focused their program on performance horse sale preparation for Pitzer Ranch Sales and Hershberger Performance Horse Sale annually.

Rick has served a volunteer with the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association as well as the American Quarter Horse Association.  Rick served as an AQHA National Director in 2001, OQHA President in 2003, and was elevated to an AQHA Director At Large in 2017.  He served on several AQHA Standing Committees and he is an AQHA Professional Horseman.  Rick has earned the following judges cards, AQHA Specialized Event Roping, National Reined Cow Horse Association, AQHA Specialized Event Working Cow Horse, AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse, and AQHA Specialized Event Ranch Riding. 

Rodney Reed, Wapanuka, OK

Rodney Reed was born on March 28, 1956 in Durant, Oklahoma to J. W. Reed and Alma Wanet (Hurt) Reed. He grew up in Wapanucka, Oklahoma and graduated from high school there in 1974.  Rodney married Sheila Dunn on November 18, 1977 in Milburn,

Rodney began training horses at the age of 19. Reed saddled 1,420 winners, 18 Grade one winners, with earnings in the excess of 16.1 million. His major stakes wins included the Rainbow futurity, and Kansas Futurity, at Ruidoso Downs; the Heritage Place Futurity, 3 times, the Remington Park Futurity twice, the Blue Ribbon Futurity and Derby, an amazing 6 times each, and the Speed Horse Futurity, four times.

Among the stakes winners he saddled were the likes of Alamitos Dasher, Bugged Thoughts, Chicks Call Me, Clicken On, De Passem Okey, Endaleabull, Fast Del Rey, Fast First Prize, Feature Mr Jess, First Down Kelly, Heza Fast Dash, Phoebe’s Otoole, Rakin In The Cash, and Spit like Jagger, to name only a few.   Started by Reed, the great Refrigerator won his first race at Ross Meadows in Ada, Oklahoma. 

According to the American Quarter Horse Association, Reed won 1,764 races in his career with total earnings of more than $17.8 million. Rodney won 10 Remington Park training titles between 1990 and 2003, with an amazing nine titles in a row between 1995 and 2003. He won over 40 races in four of those years, with his top mark of 47 wins taking place in 2001, a Remington Park record, at the time. Reed was inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in 2010.

Rodney’s biggest race, was the one for his life. Rodney became ill and was diagnosed with Cancer. Rodney’s wife Shelia, a major part of their winning horse operation, was now taking over his care and medical appointments.  Rodney passed away April 23, 2018.

Dwight Van Dorn, Woodward, OK

Dwight Van Dorn was born Woodward OK in July 10, 1934 to Beulah (Parsons) and John Van Dorn of Harper County, Oklahoma.  On June 6, 1953, Dwight Van Dorn marriedKaye F Pappe in Woodward. In 1956, they started the Top Hat Drive-In with Kaye's father, Charles Pappe, which later became the Sonic Drive-In. 

Dwight and his wife Kaye began Quarter Horse business in 1967 with the purchase of a cutting horse, Ron Bar Bailey. They bought a forty-eight acre “farm” in Edmond in 1969 and named it Van Valley Farms. 

The Van Dorns acquired the future AQHA World Champion 1966 stallion. Baca’s Hard Luck.  They raised and showed AQHA Champions Lil Peppy Mist and Miss Joe Glow and AQHA Superior Halter Horses Anita Dawn Tay and Mandan Feather. 

Dwight and Kaye’s children, Mark, Martin, and Keri, all worked and showed horses for Van Valley Farms as well as being active in the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Youth Association.

Dwight was an Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association Board member, officer and became the 1982 President.  He was an American Quarter Horse Association National Director.  Dwight was one the OQHA members that were instrumental in moving the American Junior Quarter Horse World Championship Horse Show to Tulsa, OK. Kaye helped to organize hospitality for the AQHA World Quarter Horse Championship Horse Show in Oklahoma City OK and was the director in charge for 3 years. Dwight and Kaye were very involved for several years with the Oklahoma Junior Quarter Horse Association.  Dwight was an AQHA Judging Contest awards breakfast sponsor for many years.

Later in their lives, Kaye was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Kaye passed away January of 1997 at the age of 62 after a valiant 9-year battle with the disease. 

Then Dwight married Peggy Noble in April 1999.  Ebonys Moonbeam owned by Peggy Van Dorn and shown primarily by Roger Branch had an impressive AQHA career. 

Easy Date

A look at the pedigree of Easy Date reveals exactly why the bay filly took the racing industry by storm in the mid-70s.  Easy Date was from Easy Jet’s second crop of foals, and she was out of the Roman Sandal (TB) mare Spot Cash.

With bloodlines rich in speed, Easy Date outshined the other racing prospects because of her even temperament and her aggressive attitude on the track.  Legendary breeder and owner Walter Merrick of Sayre, Oklahoma, first noticed these traits.

Easy Date won the 1974 All American Quarter Horse Futurity, before a crowd of more than 20 million people who watched the live telecast of the $766,000 race.  She was the first All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner by an All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner.

Easy Date won nine stakes at six tracks in three states, including the Kindergarten Futurity, the Rainbow Derby, the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos and the Golden State Derby at Bay Meadows.  Easy Date finished off the board only twice in her career.  She also set the ¼-mile track record at Bay Meadows in May 1975.  The bay retired with $849,710 in earnings, putting her at the top of the all-time money earners list in 1977.

She produced 11 foals that earned $101,931.  The highest individual money earner was Toast The Host, a stakes-winning son of Raise Your Glass (TB).

Easy Date was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002.

Laico Bird

Laico Bird was foaled in April 1965. A daughter of Good Bird (TB) and Paula Laico, she was bred by B R Campbell of Frederick, Oklahoma.  Floyd H Jones Sr. purchased the filly for his two sons, Floyd H Jr. and Jimmy Ray Bailey Jones.  The delicate feminine filly, standing just over 14 hands, garnered every laurel for which she was available, in the voting for the 1967 year end championships, by the American Quarter Horse Association racing Committee. 

Laico Bird’s most outstanding accomplishments was becoming the world’s richest Quarter Horse with the astronomical earnings of $ 406,399.20.  She achieved this by winning the All American Quarter Horse Futurity, Los Alamitos Futurity, Raton Futurity, Texas Futurity, Columbus Futurity, and placing second in the Rainbow futurity and Blue Ribbon Futurity.  At age two, in 17 starts, she amassed; 11 wins, 5 second place finishes. 

Laico Bird came back, as a three year old to win the Button and Bows Derby, placed second in the Raton Derby, Sunland Park Fall Derby, and third in the Rainbow Derby and Ruidoso Championship stakes. She retired with a race record of 34 starts, 17 firsts, 12 seconds, and 3 third place finishes, earning $ 435,653.00 in her lifetime.

Retired at the end of 1968, she was bred to Jet Deck to produce two fillies, both stakes horses. She died of a twisted intestine in May 1971.

The Ole Man

The Ole Man, he lived up to his name. Foaled in 1963, and was breeding well up to the day he died at age 32.  The stallion was named for his Hall of Fame breeder, Frank Vessels Sr, the Ole Man who founded Los Alamitos Race Course, and both his sire and his dam are Hall of Famers.

Bred by Frank Vessels Sr., The Ole Man was by Three Bars (TB), arguably the most all-around influential Thoroughbred sire in Quarter Horse history. The sorrel colt was out of the Chicaro Bill mare Chicado V and was foaled shortly after the death of Vessels.

Rated SI 100, The Ole Man garnered eight wins, four seconds and seven thirds, and earned $20,657 out of 33 starts. From the time he earned his AAA rating, he won the Stallion Stakes and the Lightning Bar Stakes, and possessed the stamina, heart and soundness to run 24 races his 3- year-old year.

In September 1966, The Ole Man was purchased for $100,000 by Roy Browning stood the stallion on his Roy Browning Ranch at Shawnee, OK. A true all-around horse, The Ole Man sired 1,878 named foals in 28 crops, to be one of the very few sires of Superior champions in racing, performance and halter.

The Ole Man sired 554 horses that started in official Quarter Horse races, with 250 returning as winners and 15 of those in stakes, for earnings of $1,077,061. In AQHA shows, the stallion is represented by 10 AQHA Champions; 78 horses that earned 1,335.5 points in open halter and 14 that earned 702 points in youth halter; and 106 earners of 1,439.5 points in open performance, 21 earners of 48.5 in amateur performance and 35 earners of 1,029.5 points in youth performance classes, for a total of 4,555 points.

The Ole Man died in February 1995. The Ole Man was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2018. 

Belle Mere Farms, Ltd  (Dee & Betty Raper), Norman, OK

At one time, Belle Mere Farm Ltd. was one of the largest breeding farms in the Southwest.  Owned and operated by Betty and her husband, 2010 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee, Dee Raper.  The early beginning was a farm just outside of Lexington, Oklahoma in 1983.  In 1992 the farm moved to its present location in Norman, Oklahoma. 

Over the past 50 years, Dee and Betty personally worked every aspect of the farm operations to ensure the high quality of care that Belle Mere Farm has built its reputation. 

One of Belle Mere’s highlights was standing the legendary Easy Jet in 1985, an All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner and outstanding sire whose breeding fee was $15,000. Easy Jet would become an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee in 1993.  The fabled stallion was an Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee in 2005.

Their favorite stallion was 2015 Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee Bully Bullion.  He stood on their farm for 32 years and was considered a part of the family before he passed away in 2004.  The stallion that they felt had greatest impact on the Quarter Horse industry, was Mr Eye Opener who was not only a great sire of racehorses, but also one of the top broodmare sires of all times. 

One year they stood 13 stallions on the farm.  There were years when they bred as many as 1200 mares in a single year. 

The Rapers also found time to volunteer their time. Both Dee and Betty are life members of Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association and Dee served as president of OQHRA from 1993 through 2001.  Dee is also an American Quarter Horse Association Director Emeritus.

Char-Lin Ranch (Charles & Linda Cline), Cushing, OK

Char-Lin Ranch is a family owned and operated business raising 300 registered Quarter Horses and 2500 Angus Cattle. In July 1985, Charles and Linda Cline bought the ranch west of Cushing, OK as a place to retire after the sale of Cherokee Lines, Inc., the family owned trucking company with more than 100 trucks and even more trailers, hauling across the 48 contiguous states from 1963 to 1990.

In January 1989 the first buckskin colt CL Buckley was born. As a two-year old "Buckley" earned the title of IBHA World Champion and ABRA World Champion, and was also a finalist at the AQHA Amateur World Show. Buckley has sired the winners of over 190 of the 300 IBHA, ABRA, and PHBA World and Reserve World Championships, and top ten placings at the AQHA World Shows earned by offspring of Char-Lin Ranch

Linda’s philanthropy includes the OSU Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center, the Cline Family Equine Sciences Professorship OSU Horse Judging Team Endowment, OSU Cline Family Equine Internship Endowment, the Right Path Literacy Project and Therapeutic Horseback Riding, the Wounded Warrior Project, Love, I.N.C., Shiloh Camp, First United Methodist Church of Cushing, AQHA Foundation Scholarship Program.

In recognition of her years of support and philanthropy, Linda was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department in 2015. Later that year, she was named one of three DASNR Champions, the Division's highest award for non-alumni. 

Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award:

Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation

Bill Anoatubby has served as the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987. Prior to that, he served as the first lieutenant governor from 1979-1987. Anoatubby has been active in tribal government since 1975. His previous positions include director of tribal health services, director of finance, special assistant to the governor and controller. 

In 2010, under Governor Anoatubby’s leadership, the Chickasaw Nation, through its subsidiary Global Gaming RP, LLC purchased the Remington Park Racetrack and Casino in Oklahoma City, OK.  In addition to the purchase of the track, Global Gaming also invested over $30 Million in renovations and upgrades to the facility.  Remington Park is widely recognized and renowned for conducting the world’s premier Quarter Horse race meet which annually distributes from $13 Million to $15 Million in purse money to racing Quarter Horses during its yearly 50 day live race meet. 

Bill and his wife Janice have two sons, Brian and Chris and five grandchildren, Brendan, Eryn, Chloe, Sydney and Preslea.

Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award:

Josh Blyden DVM (Interstate Equine) Washington, OK

Dr. Josh Blyden is a native of Oklahoma. He was born July 10, 1974 to Ellen Feaver and Art Blyden. His mother raised him in Norman, Oklahoma, where he graduated from Norman High School.

Josh attended college at the University of Oklahoma where he received a bachelor’s degree in zoology with a minor in philosophy. While attending OU, Josh met his wife and business partner Jessica Naifeh. They married in 2000 and moved to Stillwater for Josh to attend vet school. Upon receiving his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2004, Dr. Blyden began his career working for Joe Carter, DVM.

In 2009, Dr. Blyden started his own equine practice with the assistance of his wife Jessica. In January 2014, after many years of taking care of an extensive client list, Dr. Blyden purchased Interstate Equine in Goldsby Oklahoma. The infrastructure at Interstate Equine provided the opportunity to achieve his goal of offering a broader range of services to his clients and the athletic horse.  He is licensed in multiple states, travels frequently out of state to clients’ ranches, and attends many horse shows a year. Dr. Blyden’s areas of focus are equine sports medicine and internal medicine.

Josh and Jessica believe in giving back to the communities and the industry that have given so much to enhance their lives over the years. Dr. Blyden and Interstate Equine Hospital have been proud supporters of local rodeos, round-up clubs, OSU veterinary students, youth organizations in Cleveland and McClain Counties, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, OAQHA, Gypsy Horse Show Association, the NRHA, OKQHA, AQHA. Dr. Blyden is also a proud member of many professional organizations including the NRHA, OKQHA, AQHA, OVMA, AVMA and Kiwanis.  He recently created a scholarship in the name of the late Dr. David McCarroll, DVM, which he hopes to perpetuate through the American Quarter Horse Foundation.

Most of all Josh enjoys spending time with his wife Jessica and two daughters, Isabelle 14, Evelyn 9 and their menagerie of pets.

Do you have news to share from your AQHA affiliate? Send it to Tara Matsler at tmatsler@aqha.org.