Joy Milligan & Lucille Fancy – Bud Breeding Spirit Award Winner

Bud Breeding Spirit Award

Joy Milligan & Lucille Fancy

Joy Milligan & Lucille Fancy

This the third year for the Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award and thanks in large part to Tanna Smith, we are pleased to have a joint recipient, a mother and daughter duo to share the award


Lucille Fancey, known to most everyone as Mrs F was born in 1919 in Saint Louis MO to a non-horse family. So it was somewhat surprising for her mother to find her at the age of three standing in the street under the ice wagon’s draft horse patting his belly. She cleaned stalls for riding opportunities and rode in a high school riding club.  She owned her first horse as a young married lady and has had horses ever since.


In one way or another, horses have been at the center of Mrs F’s life. She trained and showed hunter-jumpers, has hosted multi-state combined training and riding events at her place and has been Master of The Lost Hound Fox Hunt for 34 years.

Left to support herself and two daughters 38 years ago, Mrs F began teaching English riding and jumping, while at the same time keeping a file on therapeutic riding for the disabled. In the early 1970s on of her riding students was paralyzed in an automobile accident.  Now faced the challenges of a real, Mrs F’s dream began to take shape.


When the student returned from re-hab, Mrs F worked with her until ultimately the student was able to ride, independently, in the saddle at a walk and a trot.


Enter the daughter Joy Milligan


Born in El Paso TX in 1948, Joy grew up in the Midland/Odessa area until at the age of 12 she moved with her family to Oklahoma.


Not surprisingly, she showed hunters and jumpers in high school, while working at a local hospital as a nurse’s aide. She studied radiologic technology at the OU Medical Center and subsequently taught Radiologic Technology at Rose State College from 1972 to 1976.


Joy ran a program known as New Life Faith Ministries in her home from 1982 to 1985 with nine different girls living with her, three at a time, while each of them overcame substance addiction and behavior problems. And she also indoctrinated with the work ethic of Coffee Creek Riding Center.


Lucille and Joy joined forces in 1977 when a newspaper article about the possibilities of a riding center for the disabled resulted in ten students and twenty-seven volunteers. Suddenly, Coffee Creek Riding Center for the handicapped became a reality.  Subsequent TV news coverage resulted in thirty-six students for the summer program, a front page newspaper article in August brought interest from special education classes and by September only six months after its beginning, the Coffee Creek Riding Center was operating full time with fifty students.


Eventually, they were able to build an indoor arena and classrooms and today Coffee Creek Riding Center serves 170 students, free of charge. Not only have many students benefited several volunteers have chosen careers in medical or special education fields and Mrs F’s grandson is a medical doctor.


Oklahoma Quarter Horse people are not the first to recognize the Mrs F’s effect on people’s lives and I’s sure we won’t be the last. She has received the Champion of Health Ageless Hero Award, the Fox Hunter Ball Humanitarian Award, and the Oklahoma Hunter Jumper Association Life Time Achievement Award.


A philosophy of life, obviously shared by mother and daughter is that life is best lived by giving yourself away to others. They have made personal sacrifices over the past quarter of a century, living on meager means to ensure that others may enjoy the benefits from the riding programs at Coffee Creek Riding Center.  They are incredible ladies with incredible spirit and with hearts that trust in God.


Lucille Fancey and Joy Milligan were inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in the category of the Bud Breeding Oklahoma Spirit Award in 2011.



Bill Thompson


William Thompson

William Thompson

Oil, cattle, Indians, Quarter Horses, war and the Dust Bowl were all chapters in the life of William “Bill” Thompson. Thompson’s father handed down stories of riding a mule from Beggs to Stillwater when land deals with Indians were commonplace and statehood was an ordinance of the future.  According to the elder Thompson, if horses had odometers, his Quarter Horse, which traced to Peter McCue, would have registered more than 75,000 miles. In the tradition of his father, Bill racked up a lot of miles on his Quarter Horses.  When he attended Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater in the 1930s, he broke two green horses by riding them back and forth to class.  He graduated with a degree in animal husbandry and immediately began “batching” cattle with hopes of becoming a big-time breeder. The winter of 1936 was a hard one, but Thompson did not get discouraged.  He left Oklahoma for leased lands in New Mexico, and soon boasted a 65,000-acre spread with more than 2,000 head of cattle.  Thompson returned to the family land in Oklahoma after his father’s health began to decline.  His children grew up just like he did, on the backs of strong Quarter Horses. Working with cattle on a daily basis, Thompson had a passion for breeding working Quarter Horses.  He worked diligently on crosses that resulted in foals that could do anything and everything.  He became known for breeding a horse with a good head, but he was breeding more for great overall conformation. Thompson was a past president of the Oklahoma and New Mexico Quarter Horse associations and the Oklahoma Cutting Horse Association.  He became an AQHA-approved judge and director in 1964, and was a member of AQHA’s stud-book and registration, public information, judges, and show and contest committees.  In 1974, he became president of AQHA. Thompson was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1995, the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011. He died in 1997.

The Invester

The Invester

The Invester

What’s in a name?  If you are The Invester, a lot. Foaled in 1969 and bred by Eldon England of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Invester was originally named Hank Lou Bars, tracing back to his sire, Zippo Pat Bars, and dam, Hank’s Peppy Lou.  When owner Jerry Wells bought him at the Oklahoma State Fair, he thought the sorrel colt would make a good investment, and so he changed his name to The Invester. Jack Benson bought the horse in 1973, and he and his trainer, Brad McCamy, worked to promote the stallion.  The Invester’s natural movement – athletic and powerful, yet graceful – enabled him to become a foundation sire of modern pleasure horses.  In 1980, six of the sire’s foals were in the All American Quarter Horse Congress pleasure futurity finals.  Four of the six took the top four spots. He sired four AQHA world champions – El Cicatriz, 1974 youth yearling gelding; We Are Magic, 1980 open weanling mare; AQHA Champion Bonafide, 1985 youth western pleasure; and Impulsions, 1989 2-year-old western pleasure champion. Benson was killed in an automobile accident in 1989, which left the fate of The Invester uncertain.  Carol and Dan McWhirter of Doniphan, Nebraska, were in need of a sire for their breeding program, so they formed a partnership with a friend, Wayne Atchley, and moved The Invester to Nebraska. The sorrel continued on his duties as a great sire.  Of his 1,166 foals, 426 earned 22,745 points.  There were 16 AQHA Champions, one Youth Supreme Champion and numerous Register of Merit earners.  His foals have earned more than $190,000 in AQHA’s Incentive Fund, more than $18,000 in National Cutting Horse Association competition and more than $300,000 in National Snaffle Bit Association events. At 33, The Invester was euthanized because of complication due to old age.


He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.


Sweet and Innocent

Sweet & Innocent

Sweet & Innocent


Anyone who has had to raise an orphaned foal knows the difficulties that have to be overcome. And so it was with Jackie Kyle Krshka in the spring of 1978when she found a four week old Palomino filly wandering aimlessly in the pasture because he mother had died.


Jackie brought the filly in and bottle fed her until she was old enough to start eating grain. She named her Sweet And Innocent. Because Jackie says that’s exactly how she acted.


The bond that developed between the two is heartwarming and under the circumstances probably inevitable. Jackie says that no horse has ever touched her heart like Sweet and Innocent.  That she could read Jackie’s mind and that she instinctively knew when it was show time.  Jackie and Sweet And Innocent became known as “the blond duo/”


Sweet And Innocent qualified for the 1982 AQHA World Championship Horse Show in six events, a very rare accomplishment. She injured her leg in the Junior Working Cowhorse event and they kept her on an ice boot until she was called for her next event Junior Reining.  Although the pain she was in was apparent to Jackie, Sweet And Innocent went through the entire pattern without showing it.

That night in 1982 Sweet And Innocent placed first in Junior Tie Down Roping, third in Junior Reining, fifth in Junior Western Riding, sixth in Junior Working Cowhorse, seventh in Junior Dally Team Roping Heading, winning the coveted AQHA Superhorse Award!


Many articles have been written in various publications about Sweet And Innocent and that magic night in 1982 and many people have recalled that performance to Jackie through the years that followed.


She became a broodmare in 1983 and produced ten offspring. Six of those have won $62889 in AQHA and NRHA events and have compiled 239.5 AQHA points.

Sweet and Innocent died four years ago from colic complications and is buried at Krshka Quarter Horses.


Sweet And Innocent was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

Rare Form


Rare Form

Rare Form

Three Time Champion Rare Form SI 120 was a 1989 stallion by The Signature, si 107, and out of a Dash For Cash mare called Especially For You, is a multiple stakes winner with earnings of $278,191.


This excellent sorrel horse was named Champion 3-Year-Old, Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in Mexico. He was also a Champion of Champions Finalist.


As a sire, Rare Form sired the likes of Joanna Kate, si 104, Champion Aged Mare, $539,084; Especially Rare, si 113, Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, $348,031; One Rare Bug, si 109, Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, $255,243; and Fabulous Form, si 101, Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, $206,334. As of November 2004, Rare Form is the sire of 434 ROM, 76 blacktype horses, 364 winners, and 4 Champions with earnings of $9,380,772, from nine crops raced.


His record as a broodmare sire is impressive. Rare Form is sire of 139 dams with 103 race age foals, 101 starters, 53 winners, 67 ROM,15 blacktype horses, with earnings of $1,158,071.


Rare Form’s sire, The Signature, si 107, (by Noholme II) had a record of 11 wins to 4, earnings of $333,473. He set a new track record at Evangeline Downs. The Signature is sire of 876 foals, 690 starters, 453 winners, 515 ROM, 98 blacktype horses, 7 Champions, with earnings of $11,082,680, from 16 crops raced.


Rare Form died February 9, 2004 at Bob Moore Farms, where he stood, in Norman, Oklahoma. He slipped in a pasture, fractured his pelvis and severed an artery.


Rare Form was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

Ralph Shebester


Ralph Shebester

Ralph Shebester


Ralph Shebester was born July 9, 1913 in Lebanon, Oklahoma to Hattie Lee and Grover Cleveland.  Ralph graduated from Wilson High School and married his children mother, Mildred Lansford.


Mr. Shebester was known as the major promoter and benefactor of pari-mutuel horse racing in Oklahoma. Owner of the Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, he has long been recognized for his contribution to the Oklahoma horse industry. He was also noted as a self-made independent oilman and a generous friend. His latest contribution to the community was the land to build the Wynnewood Shebester Sports Complex. Ralph had to great passion in life the oil business he sold in 1990 and horse racing.


Ralph was a well-loved prominent member of Garvin County and has lived in Wynnewood for the last 20 years. Most people remember him as being a generous contributor to civic affairs and support of youth activities. He has been called Mr. Enthusiastic.


Ralph belonged to many organizations including the American Quarter Horse Association.  He was owner and President of Shebester, Inc. Oil Well Servicing, Shebester Oil Properties, Shebester Stallion Station, Race Horse Inc. and the Black Gold Futurity.


He was 53-year member of the Order of the Masons, a member of the Shriners of Guthrie and a member of the Elks Lodge of Pauls Valley. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Wynnewood.


He lost his first wife but remarried on October 20, 1977 to Pauline Hicks Shebester.


Shebester and passed away on August 22, 1997 at his home in Hennepin after a short illness. He was 84.


Ralph Shebester was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.



Ellen Kennedy

This is a tribute to a lady who – at the age of 92 was still pursuing her life’s dream. Born in 1918, Ellen Kennedy passed away last November, just a few heartbeats away from tonight’s ceremony.  Ellen Kennedy was a stalwart in Oklahoma racing since 1960.


Ellen and longtime friend Carmen Howell made a significant contribution to the Quarter Horse racing industry. Ellen is credited with breeding the Walt Fletcher owned Heza Ramblin Man who made 51 starts for $759,907 along with a 111 speed index.  There was Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity winner Rakin In The Cash in 1996, and she also bred two-time Grade 1 stakes winner Spanish Boot, the running Oklahoma Bandido and her latest favorite Adios My Amigo.

As a breeder, the total for Ellen’s Quarter Mile Farm was more than $3.2 million. As an owner it was nearly $1.3 million and through it all, Ellen considered herself one of the “little guy.”


Last April at Remington Park, Oklahoma Bandido won the Mr Master Bug Handicap, a race named after the 1982 All American Futurity winner, followed in May again at Remington Park, when Adios My Amigo won the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes. An interesting side light in this race was the fact that Adios My Amigo was ridden by the ageless Roy Brooks, 68, who was a 2009 inductee to the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.


Hempens Angel, the mare that was always dearest to Ellen’s heart died two days after Ellen and less than one week later Adios My Amigo flipped in the gates and dies in the saddling paddock.


Less than three weeks before her death Ellen was taken to the emergency room by her son Allen, a bone marrow scan showed advanced Leukemia with a short time left to live. According to Allen, she said that was okay, that she had had a good full life.


Allen said that she handled that final week graciously just like she handled everything else.


Allen plans to carry on Ellen’s program and passion. There are currently 16 horse remaining at the Quarter Mile Farm.


Ellen Kennedy was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

Mel Hatley

When Mel Hatley made a trophy presentation at the Lone Star Park at the fall 2011 Quarter Horse meet, it was the first time he had attended the races in more than a decade. Hatley was once one of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest players, and recently said he has not ruled out getting back in with the right kind of horse.


These days, however, his focus is on getting healthy again after having a kidney transplant in 2002 and a serious bout with cancer, which is in remission. Hatley, 74, also is occupied with his real estate holdings, which include a 96-acre upscale gated community, located in a growing city north of Dallas, that he developed and lives in with his wife, Judy.


Hatley’s home is filled with racing memorabilia chronicling heights in the game that few reach. “It’s everything that everybody ever dreams about in horse racing, and he’s so humble about his success,” said Tony Bedford, a racing advisor who met Hatley outside of racing this past year and invited him to Lone Star.


On display in the Hatley home are Eclipse Awards and photos dating back to 1965, when Hatley entered the breeding industry with Quarter Horse stallion Triple Chick. He later stood perennial leading sire Go Man Go. His journey in the sport continued through the 1980’s, when Horse of the Year Lady’s Secret was foaled at his farm, and he raced two-time champion Life’s Magic in partnership. They are the horses most associated with Hatley, and both were trained by D. Wayne Lukas.


“We had a wonderful, successful run from the standpoint of a business relationship, but more importantly we passed that years ago and we became very, very dear friends,” said Lukas.


Hatley and Lukas did business together for two decades, buying, selling, breeding, and racing horses until Hatley left racing in the early 1990’s. The two crossed over from Quarter Horses in the late 1970’s and Hatley won his first Thoroughbred stakes in 1978, with multiple graded winner Effervescing. Then came Life’s Magic, who was the champion 3-year-old filly of 1984 and older female of 1985. A year later, Lady’s Secret was voted Horse of the Year.


“Wayne was the best partner I ever had,” said Hatley. “One year during the oil boom, we sold $15 million worth of horses and never ran an ad. When we were rolling big, we had 150 horses in training at one time during the year, and they were racing at 13 different tracks.”


Hatley met Lukas in the early 1970’s.


“I’d read the Quarter Racing Record, and I’d noticed there was a mare in there that they ran her for some claims, and they went to running her in stakes and she was winning, she was improving all the time,” said Hatley. “Wayne Lukas had her. He was the trainer.”


Hatley bought the Quarter Horse, named Native Empress, who went on to win 28 races. Lukas continued to train her, and while the gray mare launched Hatley into racing, it was another gray mare who has to some extent defined him in the sport. Lady’s Secret was foaled on Hatley’s farm in Lexington, Okla. She was produced from the mating of Secretariat to Great Lady M., a mare Hatley and Lukas owned at the time and leased to Lady’s Secret’s breeder, Robert Spreen.


Hatley and Lukas owned Lady’s Secret as a foal, and sold her as a weanling to Eugene Klein. During her career, she won 25 races and $3,021,235.


“It thrilled me every stage she went, from one level to another,” said Hatley, who has no regrets in selling Lady’s Secret.


Other high-profile horses Hatley either sold at one point or had an interest in included Family Style, champion 2-year-old filly of 1985; Capote, champion 2-year-old colt of 1986; and Grade 1 winner Saratoga Six.


The horse Hatley is best known for campaigning, however, is Life’s Magic, whom he raced in partnership with Klein and Lukas. A multiple Grade 1 winner, her greatest triumph was a 6 1/4-length win over entrymate Lady’s Secret in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 1985.


“How Life’s Magic beat Lady’s Secret, I’ll never know,” said Hatley.


Life’s Magic was also one of two Kentucky Derby starters co-owned by Hatley. She finished eighth to Swale in 1984. Hatley was also the co-owner and co-breeder of Badger Land, a Grade 1 winner who finished fifth in the 1986 Kentucky Derby.


Lukas knew the integrity of the partner he had in Hatley early on, when ownership of a coveted Quarter Horse was decided by a coin toss at the suggestion of another owner, Lamar Miller, who had called Hatley.


“Mel said, ‘Well, I’m in the office here alone, ‘ ” Lukas recounted, “And he said, ‘Well, so am I.’ He said ‘Flip a coin and call it and let me know.’ So, Melvin flips the coin, calls it, and it’s in Lamar’s favor, and Mel says, ‘Lamar, you won the filly.’ That tells you everything you need to know about Mel Hatley.”


Hatley is a Texas native who spent most of his career based in Oklahoma City, where his ventures included oil, real estate development, and banking. His success enabled him to buy quality horses. Hatley left racing when he started to experience health issues, and said a return is possible, provided the right young horse comes along.


“I want to play at the level I’ve been at, or I don’t want to go,” said Hatley.


“I wish he’d pick up the phone and call me and we’d do it all over again,” Lukas said. “Nothing would make me happier.”


Mel Hatley was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

Ellis Gragg

Ellis Gragg

Ellis Gragg

In 1958 the Gragg family moved to Edmond, Oklahoma. Farming & ranching was always a large part of their life and in 1962 his Ellis began a large Quarter Horse & Thoroughbred breeding farm, which was in operation for ~ 27 years.


Ellis Gragg has been a farmer, rancher, rodeo cowboy, rodeo performer, Quarter Horse breeder, trainer, showman and entrepreneur.


Gragg and his brother, Hubert, were partners in Grabro Farms. In 1965 Ellis and Hubert bought a Quarter Horse stallion, Diamond Charge, and in 1968 he moved his operation to Coffee Creek Ranch. Many outstanding stallions were a part of Coffee Creek Ranch, including Mr. Meyers, Don Bar, Moolah Rocket and Jet Charger.


Owner/manager of Coffee Creek Ranch in Edmond, Oklahoma, Ellis trained and raced horses for many years and then stood such stallions as What Luck (TB), Go Flight, Champion My Easy Credit, the outstanding runner Masters Salls (TB) and many others.


At the age of 83, Ellis owns and operates a wood shavings equine bedding business.


Ellis Gragg was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jean Dillard

Jean Dillard

Jean Dillard