Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1994
Burning down your house is generally considered a tragedy. For Wayne Vickers, the accident proved providential.
Born in Missouri in 1898, Vickers was 10 when he accidentally burned down the family homestead. With the house, barns and out buildings gone, his family moved to California.
In 1940, after years of working in the insurance business, Vickers bought a ranch along with cattle, sheep and American Quarter Horses. He was interested in racing, but he also used his horses for cow work. He was involved with the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association, serving as its president for eight years.
Vickers also served AQHA. He became an AQHA Director in 1956 and served on the finance and racing committees. He became president in 1962, serving as the Association’s 12th president. His year in office was relatively quiet. Vickers and the AQHA Executive Committee dealt with the registration of foals from other countries.
The California rancher was the right man for the job during this period in AQHA’s history. People were divided over what the Association’s focus should be – racing, showing, ranching, etc. Vickers voiced his belief that the breeders who prospered in the industry would be those who bred for the all-around horse.
He lived by this belief, too. His interest might have been in racing, but his horses worked cattle before they ever saw the starting gate. Once the horses were through running, they went back to working cattle. Vickers belief was, “You can do anything on a fast horse that you can do on a slow one, but you can’t reverse it; the slow horse has unmistakable handicaps.”
Vickers’ first ranch was the historic Angel Ranch, which dated back to the 1870s. Some of the more notable horses to run under Angel Ranch colors were Direct Aero, Lassie’s Robin, Aero Hour and Millie’s Prince, all AAA runners.
Vickers died in 1987 at 89. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1994.