Many times, Butch was called on to pilot his dad’s “match” horses, mostly Leo and Oklahoma Star bred runners that ran short and fast. He was light and his dad needed a rider that could be trusted, so match racing was a part of many Sunday afternoons.
Because his father was a calf-roper, he assumed Butch would be too. But Butch was drawn to a little more action, he decided riding Bareback Broncs would be a lot more fun.
Blue Ribbon Downs was just up the road in Sallisaw and was becoming a hotbed of fast horses. Butch frequented the track with his father and inevitably caught the racing bug. Being around such towering figures as Bud Warren, Bill Hedge, Jesse Powell, Paul Walters, Jim Jay and others, it was a given that Butch chose a path that focused on running Quarter Horses.
After High School, Butch graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Animal Science. His first job, fresh out of college was working for OQHA Hall of Fame Inductee, Melvin Hatley. At his Lexington, Oklahoma farm, he was standing the first winner of the Champion of Champions, Mr Jet Moore, as well as Triple Chick.
When a tornado damaged the farm, the stallions were moved to another ranch while the one in Lexington was under repair. Butch was looking for work when Audie Rackley, the editor of the Quarter Horse Journal, called and offered him a job. The Journal had an advertising staff that also doubled as ring men at horse sales all over the United States. It was here that Butch gained tremendous knowledge and formed friendships which remain to this day. He had the priviledge of working with the finest auctioneers, including AQHA Hall of Fame Inductee Gordon Hannihan, Bill Tackett, Dean Parker among others. In addithon he met many of the great breeders of that time and meet the horses who made them famous.
In 1978, Butch returned to El Reno and hung out his shingle as a Bloodstock Agent. Getting started is the hard part and Butch will always be grateful to Juanita and Mac McConville, the owners of Tru Tru, for giving him his first big break as an agent.
His next significant opportunity came when AQHA Past President Clarence Scharbauer hired him to by the sensational but ill-fated Brigand Silk. His trust and confidence in this young agent drew many others to seek Butch’s services. Butch then found and was agent selling the legendary Hall of Famer and All American Futurity winner, Refridgerator to AQHA Past-President Jim Helzer.
Around this time, the luxurious and innovative Heritage Place Sales Company was being developed. Butch knew he needed to move toward representing all classes of horses at auction for his clients.
By chance, he met a cowboy from Chicago named Bill Witman and they formed the partnership of Ridgeleigh Farms in Purcell. Bill and Butch successfully ran Ridgeleigh until 1995. They topped the yearling sales at all of the major sales numerous times and sold the high-selling colt and filly at both Ruidoso and Heritage Place Sales in the same year. A feat that has yet to be repeated.
In 1993, Butch and Bill were offered the opportunity to run the Lazy E ranch, which the accepted. During this time, they raised and sold three one-million dollar plus yearlings that sold at the prestigious Keeneland Yearling Sale. They continued this partnership for several years until Bill moved to Kentucky.
The Lazy E Ranch continues to be known for it’s stallions and none is better known than one that Butch saw race in California and Ruidoso and convinced his owner that Oklahoma was the place to be. The stallion? Corona Cartel. The sire whose get have earned over $40-million and the Leading Living Sire of Stakes winners today with 126.
Butch also put together a syndicate to purchase the big brown colt, Teller Cartel, as a yearling.
The next year, Teller Cartel won the All American Futurity. He was named Champion 2 year-old and stands today at Lazy E Ranch.
In a the six year stretch from 1989-1994, Butch was the agent of five of the winners of the All American Futurity and since then has been associated with two more. A total of seven individual All American winners, so far! Trainers trust his eye and owners always consider the Lazy E Ranch consignment a must-view at every sale. Regarding stallion syndications and the making of successful stallions in the breeding shed and then the racetrack, Butch has few peers in this realm. He loves the challenge of identifying and guiding the career of a promising young stallion to maximize his genetic and financial potential.
Butch has been an innovator when embracing technology and is well-known for his aggressive use of groundbreaking advertising and promotional techniques. An early proponent of the internet and mobile technology, he believes that the best way to sell a horse has yet to be found, but he is constantly searching.
He has served as director, officer and member of numerous associations and holds many honors, including Animal Science Graduate of Distinction at Oklahoma State University.
He has served as an ambassador for the American Quarter Horse in all parts of the world including Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia and China.
Butch will be the first to tell you that his success is the result of teamwork and his team is made up of many, many individuals.
He is grateful and humbled to be recognized for being a part of a great team for many years. This team has sold a lot of great horses to a lot of exceptional people and his fondest wish is that the Good Lord will allow him to continue selling right up until the day he is called to that great horse sale in the sky.