2016 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees were honored at this year’s AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.
March 13, 2016
The American Quarter Horse Association
Congratulations are in order for the six horses and four men who were inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame at the 2016 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas.
The 2016 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductees were honored at the Hall of Fame Banquet March 13 at the South Point Hotel & Casino.
“Induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame is the highest honor possible in our Association, and I look forward to welcoming these deserving individuals into the Hall of Fame,” said Craig Huffhines, executive vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association.
The horses going into the Hall of Fame are the stallions Mr Gun Smoke, Parker’s Trouble and Zantanon; the geldings Van Decka and Vandy’s Flash; and the Thoroughbred mare Woven Web.
The men are AQHA Past President Johannes Orgeldinger of Germany; the late Paul Curtner of Jacksboro, Texas; Floyd “Sunny Jim” Orr of Pueblo, Colorado; and Ben Hudson of Morgan Mill, Texas.
Mr Gun Smoke
Mr Gun Smoke was born to cut cattle. Foaled in 1961, he was trained by the late Dale Wilkinson, who bought the horse in 1967 by trading $2,500, a trophy and a filly. Wilkinson and the stallion earned 71 AQHA points and a Superior in cutting, plus $8,476 in National Cutting Horse Association earnings in an era when purses were much smaller.
In 1968, Mr Gun Smoke moved to the breeding shed, where the sorrel stallion by Rondo Leo was an outstanding outcross sire to King and Doc Bar mares. In all, Mr Gun Smoke progeny collected more than $1 million in earnings through NCHA, the National Reining Horse and the National Reined Cow Horse associations, and the AQHA world championship shows.
He was bred by Mamie and Harley Price of Bazine, Kansas, and was inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Fame in 1980 and the NRHA Hall of Fame in 2008. Last owned by Rapps Quarter Horses of Weatherford, Texas, Mr Gun Smoke died in 1983.
Racehorse Parker’s Trouble was foaled on the ranch of his breeder, W.D. “Dink” Parker of Patagonia, Arizona. In 20 starts, Parker’s Trouble had six wins, three seconds and two thirds, for lifetime earnings of $4,609. He graded AAA before his race career ended.
The 1949 chestnut stallion was by Ed Echols and out of Little Nellie Bars by Three Bars (TB). Unadvertised, Parker’s Trouble made a name for himself through his offspring, such as top show horses Big Step, Bit O’ Trouble and Trouble Gal. Breeders liked the stallion’s conformation and athleticism but mostly appreciated the quiet mind he threw.
For owners Blain and Aneliza Lewis and A.R. Levis of Patagonia, Parker’s Trouble sired winners in AQHA and NCHA competition.
Van Decka boasts the most youth show points in American Quarter Horse history. The 1967 bay gelding by Decka Center and out of Vanessa Dee by Vandy was bred to be a sprinter, but in three starts on the racetrack, his best finish was a fourth.
Van Decka went to the show ring where the daughters and granddaughters of breeder Johnny Johnson of St. Louis rode him to 4,270 points. The next closest horse, Aledo Rita Bar, has about half that number.
Van Decka also won year-end all-around youth titles in 1974 and 1975 with Cheryl Johnson, as well as three all-around youth titles at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. With Kim Johnson, Van Decka earned year-end titles in western pleasure and horsemanship in 1977. In Van Decka’s last Congress in 1987, his last owner, the then-10-year-old Tara Green, won the 11-&-under horsemanship class. Van Decka died February 16, 1988.
In 1954, future American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Garrett’s Miss Pawhuska foaled her fastest sprinter, a little sorrel named Vandy’s Flash.
Vandy’s Flash’s first step on a racetrack was in 1957, and in 1958, he was the champion racing gelding. By 1960, he was faster than ever, setting three track records and being named the champion gelding and the world champion racehorse.
In all, the gelding had 106 starts and 28 wins, with earnings of $101,848 in the late 1950s, when purses were much smaller. He continued to race for owner Parke McAvoy of South Laguna, California, and set another track record in his last season of racing in 1964. The gelding’s two records at Los Alamitos stood for close to 16 years.
In 2007, Vandy’s Flash was inducted into the Racehorse Hall of Fame at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico.
Woven Web (TB)
The Thoroughbred mare Woven Web was bred and owned by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Robert “Bob” Kleberg Jr. of the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas. While racing south of the Rio Grande at distances from a quarter-mile to 5 furlongs, Woven Web won four of five starts and equaled the world record of :27.2 for 550 yards.
Under the name “Miss Princess,” the mare raced on AQHA tracks, where she won 10 of 10 official starts. At Del Rio, Texas, she set a world record of 22 seconds flat that held for 33 years. She was a three-time American Quarter Horse racing champion and world champion, winning the titles in 1946, 1947 and 1948.
In retirement at the King Ranch, she was periodically brought out to show off her speed. She also produced three Thoroughbred foals. She was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2005. The Miss Princess Handicap at Los Alamitos Racecourse pays tribute to her accomplishments.
Zantanon was foaled in 1917, the same year as Man O’ War, at the Ott Adams ranch near Alice, Texas. The chestnut stallion was by Little Joe and out of Jeanette by Billy By Big Jim. Zantanon was purchased as a long weanling by Erasmo Flores of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and went into race training immediately. About a year later, Flores’ uncle, Eutiquio Flores, bought the colt and continued racing “The Man O’ War of Mexico,” purchasing buildings and a ranch with Zantanon’s winnings.
Zantanon wasn’t treated as carefully as racehorses are today but won anyway, impressing Manuel Benavides Volpe, who paid an unheard-of $500 for the 14-year-old stallion in 1931 before breeding him almost exclusively to his Traveler-bred mares.
Zantanon died in 1941, but today, American Quarter Horses from all disciplines trace to him, including King P-234 and 21 other horses already inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Of the 2016 inductees, Parker’s Trouble is a descendant of Zantanon, bringing the total to 23.
Businessman and AQHA Past President Johannes Orgeldinger of Grosswallstadt, Germany, loved TV westerns as a child. He saw his first western saddle and his first American Quarter Horse in 1975 at Equitana. The next summer, he spent six weeks in California and took a western saddle home with him.
From then on, Orgeldinger was a proponent of the American Quarter Horse. In 1979, he built his JOMM Ranches with the idea of expanding the American Quarter Horse industry in Germany. He began importing about 300 horses a year to Europe, and by 1992, Orgeldinger and his friends were importing so many that he built Main River Quarter Horses in Gainesville, Texas, to satisfy quarantine requirements.
Later, after enough Quarter Horses were being bred in Germany to meet the needs of enthusiasts there, Orgeldinger and his wife, Astrid, turned Main River into a breeding and training operation.
In 2006, Orgeldinger was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee, and he served as AQHA president in 2010-11, with horse welfare and ethics as his primary objectives. Orgeldinger was keenly interested in the ranch heritage of AQHA. He was influential in initiatives such as the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder program, the Ranching Heritage Challenges and the AQHA Ranching Council.
Orgeldinger was the first AQHA president from outside the United States. During his term, he also advocated for international competition and was an AQHA representative at the 2010 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. He served as the manager of reining at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.
Paul Curtner of Jacksboro, Texas, always had horses, but he made his living servicing wells. In 1954, Curtner bought Poco Pine as a weanling, then showed the stallion in halter classes, where the horse earned 46 grand championships and seven reserve championships, along with AQHA points in cutting and western pleasure.
When Curtner retired Poco Pine to the breeding shed, he found he was in the horse business instead of the well-servicing business. Poco Pine foals earned more than 7,000 points in the performance arena and more than 3,000 points in halter. As the stallion grew older, Curtner bred and began grooming his successor, Zippo Pat Bars, who eventually was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
In all, Curtner bred the earners of 2,438.5 halter points and 10,311.5 performance points. His horses earned 150 Registers of Merit and 29 became AQHA Champions.
Curtner was a founder of the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and has his own bust in the Hall of Fame. He was also involved with the Texas Quarter Horse and National Cutting Horse associations. He was a member of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Fort Worth Petroleum Club. He died in 2003 at age 87.
Ben Hudson of Morgan Mill, Texas, has been involved in racing and its governance in Texas and Oklahoma for many years. He has been president of the Texas Quarter Horse Association and served on other racing organizations. He was influential in getting pari-mutuel racing in Texas and continues to be involved in racetrack chaplaincy.
In 1975, Hudson started Track magazine. He and his wife, Christine, breed and own racehorses.
Hudson has been an AQHA director since 1987 and was elevated to director-at-large in 2007. Hudson has served on the AQHA Racing Council, racing committee, Foundation Council, and the nominations and credentials and Hall of Fame selection committees. He received the Gordon Crone Special Achievement Award in 2002 from the AQHA Racing Committee.
Recognized for his deep knowledge of the American Quarter Horse racing industry, Hudson has also received awards for writing, advertising and photography.
Sunny Jim Orr
Floyd E. “Sunny Jim” Orr was born into a ranching family and grew up a roper, becoming a Rodeo Cowboys Association tie-down roper at 21. While working with other cowboys’ horses, he realized he had a talent for training.
From 1960, when he began competing at AQHA shows, through 1986, when an injury forced his retirement from the saddle, Orr trained horses that could win halter in the morning and perform all day long. He rode Diamonds Sparkle to the AQHA Superhorse title in 1979 and Eighteen Letters to the reserve Superhorse title in 1980.
After retirement from the show ring, Orr focused on training amateurs to succeed. He was an AQHA judge for 16 years, judging the first AQHA World Championship Show in 1974 in Louisville, Kentucky.
As a breeder, Orr bred horses that earned 1,449.5 points in all divisions and earned $57,521.26 in the National Cutting Horse Association. In 2009, Orr was inducted into the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
About the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame
The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum beautifully showcases the dozens of horses and people who have earned the distinction of becoming part of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. To be a part of the Hall of Fame, horses and people must have been outstanding over a period of years in a variety of categories. Inductees are those who have brought exceptional visibility and/or contribution to the American Quarter Horse. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen each year by a selection committee and honored at the annual AQHA Convention.
For more information on the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, visit www.aqha.com/museum.