Orren Mixer

Oren Mixer

Oren Mixer

His fame did not come from raising champion Quarter Horses.  It was through his paint strokes that Orren Mixer became recognized throughout the world. Mixer was born in Oklahoma City in 1920 to Florence Motter and Orren Marion Mixer Sr. After attending public schools, he obtained a scholarship to attend the Kansas City Art Institute from 1938-40.

 

Mixer worked in graphic arts in New York, Oklahoma City, and Fort Worth, Texas, before moving to San Diego to work in an aircraft manufacturing plant. He returned to Fort Worth in 1943 and joined the U.S. Navy. Stationed in Chicago, he was a visual aids graphic artist.

 

In his personal time, Mixer painted Western scenes, and his first sales came through a Chicago sporting goods store. Discharged from the service in 1946, he brought his wife, Evelyn Leonard, whom he’d married in 1941, back to Oklahoma, where he built a house and studio near Arcadia/Edmond.
Mixer was a relatively unknown artist until 1941 when Robert Denhardt commissioned him to interpret the conformation standards of horses shown in various snapshots for the newly formed AQHA.
Mixer’s celebrity as a well-known western artist started during the 1950s and 1960s. Livestock, particularly horses, became his specialty, and his work graced the covers of Western Horseman, Quarter Horse Journal, Cattleman, and Oklahoma Today.

Then, at the 1968 AQHA convention, the public information committee resolved to commission a portrait of the “ideal” Quarter Horse for promotional purposes.  In June of 1968, Mixer presented his painting to the committee for inspection. Warren Shoemaker said there was only one thing wrong with the painting: The horse was not carrying Shoemaker’s brand.  The painting now hangs near the president’s room at AQHA’s headquarters.

 

Six other breed associations followed suit with commissions. He depicted the ideal Pinto, Paint, Palomino, Appaloosa, Buckskin, and Pony of the Americas

 

Over the years, Mixer painted Go Man Go, Three Bars (TB), King, Leo, Peter McCue and Wimpy.  The list does not begin to touch the number of paintings he did of champions or a beloved member of the family.  He also painted B. F. Phillips, Jr., Carol Rose, Matlock Rose, Bob Crosby, Walter Merrick and Shoat Webster.

 

Mixer bred and raised eight registered American Quarter Horses.  These horses went on to either race or perform in the show ring.

 

Briefly retired during the 1980s, Mixer resumed his artistic productions in the mid-1990s, working from a studio near Arcadia, Okla.

 

Orren Mixer was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1993, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005 and died in 2008.

 

Oklahoma Star

Oklahoma Star

Oklahoma Star

Known as “that Tommy Moore horse,” Oklahoma Star earned a reputation as a formidable running horse and an influential sire.

Foaled in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1915, Oklahoma Star was by Dennis Reed (TB) and out of Cutthroat.  Moore began match-racing the bay as a 3-year-old.  His first race was 220 yards, and Oklahoma Star won easily against the reputed Slip Shoulder.  The stallion beat another well-regarded runner, and it did not take long for Oklahoma Star to run out of challengers. Oklahoma Star was also used as a breeding stallion.  Moore would breed the stallion hours before racing, but it never affected the bay’s performance.  The quality of mares ranged from race mares to Indian mares to buggy mares.  Regardless, Oklahoma Star always sired nice foals. In the early 1930s and one owner later, Ronald Mason, owner of the Cross J near Nowata, Oklahoma, bought Oklahoma Star.  The move allowed Oklahoma Star to breed higher quality mares. During the years spent at Mason’s ranch, Oklahoma Star excelled as a sire.  He earned a reputation as a sire of broodmares and roping horses. From the mid-1930’s through the mid-1950s, Oklahoma Star was the undisputed premier sire of roping horses.  Ropers Bob Crosby, Buddy May, Ike Rude, the Goodspeed brothers and others roped from Oklahoma Star horses.  A couple of the more noted roping horses were Baldy Boy and “Buster.” Some of Oklahoma Star’s more renowned sons were Congress Star, Starway, Osage Star, Nowata Star, Oklahoma Star Jr and Sizzler. In the late 1930s, Robert Denhardt visited Mason’s ranch to see Oklahoma Star.  Not long after the founding of AQHA, the stallion received the registration No. P-6, distinguishing him as one of the breed’s foundation sires. The stallion died in 1943 at 28.  He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

Easy Jet

Easy Jet

Easy Jet

With a big heart and blistering speed, Easy Jet earned a spot among the legendary figures of the Quarter Horse world. The sorrel stallion was born in 1967 and was a product of Walter Merrick’s breeding program.  Easy Jet was sired by the phenomenal Jet Deck and out of the Thoroughbred mare Lena’s Bar (TB) by Three Bars (TB). Once broke to ride, the sorrel was worked against Jet Smooth at 350 yards and won.  Merrick decided to run Easy Jet in a yearling race at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.  The big colt won with daylight between him and the second-place horse. This was the beginning of an illustrious racing career.  The Oklahoma rancher sent Easy Jet to the starting gates 26 times as a 2-year-old.  The sorrel won 22 times, including the All-American, Kansas and Sunland Fall futurities. In 1969, Easy Jet was the racing world champion.  The sorrel returned in 1970, and was the racing champion stallion.
In 1971, Merrick sold half interest in Easy Jet to Joe McDermott.  Over the next several years, Easy Jet was sold several different times.  The Buena Suerte Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, bought Easy Jet for $3.5 million, and in the early ‘80s the stallion was syndicated for $30,000,000.  Easy Jet’s last owners were Merrick and Mark and Bill Allen. Easy Jet’s first foals hit the ground in 1971, and by 1973, he was on the AQHA leading sires list.  Some of the sorrel’s champion get include Easy Date, Pie In The Sky, My Easy Credit, Easy Angel, Easily Smashed, Extra Easy and Megahertz. Easy Jet was standing at the Lazy E in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in 1992 when it was decided he needed to be euthanized. Easy Jet died in 1992 at 25, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.

Bob Moore

Bob Moore

Bob Moore

Robert W “Bob” Moore was a leader in American Quarter Horse racing, on the polo field and in the automotive industry. In 1955, Moore opened his first auto dealership in Wichita, Kansas.  During the next 40 years, he built more than 30 dealerships that included more than 20 domestic and foreign franchises.  He received the Cadillac Master Dealer award 27 times for his Oklahoma City Cadillac franchise, and he was one of only three dealers to be Master Dealer 25 consecutive years. Moore wan an enthusiastic polo player and avid student of bloodlines.  He began breeding American Quarter Horses in the 1960s.  With a small band of broodmares from racing champion Vanetta Dee and the blue-hen mare Dyna Van to homebreds Perfect Arrangement and Awesome Blossom, and through his association with the great sires Three Chicks, Coup De Kas (TB), racing champion Rare Form and his homebred racing world champion Mr Jet Moore, Moore exerted enormous influence in the Quarter Horse racing world. A 30-year breeder, Moore bred 346 winners from 473 starters, earning more than $9.1 million.  Included among his 38 homebred stakes winners are champion Dashing Perfection and his beloved multiple-track-record-holder Prissy Gold Digger, the dam of two stakes winners.   Moore, along with several partners, purchased Haymaker Sales from Chet and Dale Robertson in 1978.  They turned it into Heritage Place Sales Company in Oklahoma City.  He also was actively involved with the push to legalize pari-mutuel racing in Oklahoma.  Moore built the Broad Acres Polo Club adjacent to his showplace Bob Moore Farms in Norman, Oklahoma, and passed his love of the game to his sons, Ted and Mark. Moore died in November 1998, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.

Walter Merrick

Walter Merrick

Walter Merrick

 

“We raise the horses we run and run the horses we raise,” said Walter Merrick, the Sayre, Oklahoma, horseman who started raising Quarter Horses in the 1930s.  His 14 Ranch produced some of the top Quarter running horses of all time. Merrick moved from Colorado to Oklahoma in 1928 and signed on with the Figure Two Ranch as a bronc buster.  Along with the move, the cowboy vowed to someday have “good horses.” The owner of the Figure Two gave his Depression-era workers cattle from time to time to make up for low wages.  When Merrick owned a herd of 14, he branded the cattle with the number and eventually formed the 14 Ranch. In 1936, Merrick purchased Midnight Jr, by Midnight, by Peter McCue, and the little stallion went on to lay the foundation for Merrick’s breeding program.  A few years later, Merrick added Thoroughbred mare Lena Valenti to his broodmare band.  The mare ran six furlongs like a quarter-type horse, and was considered a foundation mare for Merrick. In 1951, Merrick persuaded Sid Vail, owner of the Thoroughbred stallion Three Bars, to lease the stallion.  Merrick bred the Thoroughbred to his Quarter Horse mares and to Lena Valenti.  The cross between Three Bars and Lena Valenti produced Lena’s Bar (TB), who raced successfully against Quarter Horses. Lena’s Bar was bred to Jet Deck, and the cross produced AAAT stakes winner and AQHA Champion Jet Smooth.  Merrick bred the mare back to Jet Deck, and got Easy Jet, winner of the 1969 All American Futurity.  The sorrel colt propelled Merrick’s reputation to the top of the breeding industry. Merrick became an AQHA Director in 1952, and served on the show and contest and racing committees.  In 1981, the Association named Merrick an Honorary Vice President. Merrick was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1993, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005 and died in February 200

Bud Warren

Bud Warren

Bud Warren

Canadian-born Bud Warren was involved in the dairy business, but enjoyed horses. His horse hobby eventually turned into a fulltime breeding operation that stood three outstanding stallions.

 

Born August 25, 1910, in Winnipeg, Canada, Warren lived most of his life in Perry, Oklahoma.  He ranched and owned a dairy through the late 1930s and early 1940s. A breeder of high-quality horses, Warren was involved with AQHA in several ways.

 

He served as the Association’s 15th president in 1965 through 1966, during which he and the AQHA Executive Committee created the director of racing position and studied the new technique of frozen semen. Warren served on AQHA’s finance committee and was chairman of the racing committee for several years.

 

Before his years of service for AQHA and OQHBA, Warren raised horses on his ranch in Perry, Oklahoma. Around 1940, Warren bought a stallion named Jess Hankins by King P-234 from Jess Hankins of Rocksprings, Texas. He also started putting together an impressive broodmare band. Several of the mares were by King P-234.


In 1947, the Oklahoma rancher bought another stallion, Leo by Joe Reed II, a well-known racer throughout the Southwest. The breeder also stood Sugar Bars, Jet Deck and Croton Oil.


Around the time of his purchase of Leo, Warren and Walter Merrick promoted the first Quarter Horse futurity race in history.  Merrick was another well-known Quarter Horse breeder from Sayre, Oklahoma. One of Warren’s Leo colts won the first Oklahoma Futurity at Tulsa, earning around $700.

 

Warren died in 1988 at 77, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.

Monsieur Moore

 

Monsieur Moore

Monsieur Moore

It took two visits by Jim Minnick and Robert Denhardt to convince Sherman Monsieur Moore to register his horses with the fledgling AQHA.  When he decided to get involved, Moore never looked back. Moore attended his first AQHA convention in 1946 and became an AQHA Director.  Fifteen years later, Moore was elected president at the 1961 AQHA convention.  During his term, Moore pushed for the development of the youth activity program.  He and the AQHA Executive Committee approved the purchase of additional property and the expansion of AQHA’s offices. The committee also clarified the new “hardship clause” concerning Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred crosses.  The added phrase said that horses considered under this rule must be “outstanding in conformation, performance or produce.” After his year as president, Moore continued to serve on the show and contest, finance and artificial insemination committees and a special committee on bloodlines. Moore also found himself in demand as an AQHA judge.  He often had to turn down many invitations due to commitments to the ranch.  His generosity extended to refusing payment and covering his own expenses when judging small shows, simply to help ensure their success and longevity. The Oklahoma rancher’s father was a cowboy in the Sooner State during its early years and fell in love with Cherokee beauty Mary Emma Scudder.  When Moore and his brother came of age, the two assumed responsibility of their father’s cattle and land.  Moore never bred and raised horses for sale purposes.  However, his horses were often sought by the public, including quite a few professional rodeo cowboys. Monsieur Moore was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1993, and died in 1994 at 90.   He was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.