Dwight Van Dorn was born in Woodward, OK on July 10, 1934 to Beulah (Parsons) and John Van Dorn of Harper County, Oklahoma. Dwight grew up on, and still maintains the 1898 Van Dorn Family homestead. It was named a Centennial Farm by the State of Oklahoma.
On June 6, 1953, Dwight Van Dorn married Kaye 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. They moved to Edmond in 1968 and continued in the Sonic Drive-In business.
Dwight and his wife Kaye began their 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. They stood Baca’s Hard Luck at stud for several years as well as breed, and showed many other horses in several different disciplines.
Dwight and Kaye’s children, Mark, Martin, and Keri, all worked and showed horses for Van Valley Farms and were 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 of 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 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. It consumed Dwight, as he chose to be her primary caretaker until the very end. Kaye passed away January of 1997 at the age of 62 after a valiant 9-year battle with the disease.
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. The mare was a finalist in senior tie-down roping at the 2012 AQHA World Quarter Horse Championship Horse Show. She was the high-point AQHA tie-down mare in 2011, and also placed third in junior tie-down roping at the 2009 AQHA World Quarter Horse Championship Horse Show. She has earned Superiors in both tie-down roping and heeling.
Although their horse program has diminished in the recent past, the Van Dorns raised 2 or 3 horses that are an integral part of the cattle operation that dominates Van Valley Farms.