Char-Lin Ranch

Char-Lin Ranch is a family owned and operated business raising 100 registered Quarter Horses and 600 Angus Cattle. In July 1985, Charles and Linda Cline bought the ranch west of Cushing, OK as a place to retire after the sale of Cherokee Lines, Inc., the family owned a trucking company with more than 100 trucks and even more trailers, hauling across the 48 contiguous states from 1963 to 1990.

One evening, Charles suggested going to a horse sale and buying a couple of geldings. The following weekend he purchased 17 horses.  That established the now famous Char-Lin Ranch The next step was a breeding operation. They purchased the Scarlet Kid, Quincys Tear Drop, and Gold Classic Rose to be their breeding stallions, and began purchasing some great broodmares.

In January 1989 the first buckskin colt CL Buckley was born. As a two-year old “Buckley” earned the title of IBHA World Champion and ABRA World Champion, and was also a finalist at the AQHA Amateur World Show. The next year his first son, CL Uno, was fifth in the Open and 7th in the Amateur at the AQHA World Championship Horse Show. Buckley has sired the winners of over 190 of the 300 IBHA, ABRA, and PHBA World and Reserve World Championships, and top ten placings at the AQHA World Shows earned by offspring of Char-Lin Ranch

Oklahoma State University celebrated the opening of the Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center on February 17, 2016 which honored the memory of her late husband Charles. The state-of-the-art facility features a teaching barn, small indoor arena, mare foaling stalls, classrooms and more, providing hands-on opportunities for students and industry partners to learn cutting-edge production and management practices. Located near the OSU Animal Sciences Arena, the center was made possible by a significant contribution from Linda Cline. The Cline family credits much of its success with the Char-Lin Ranch in Cushing to information and assistance from faculty in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU.

Linda had previously established the Cline Family Equine Sciences Professorship which provides funds to an OSU faculty member to assist students and youth in a variety of equine programs, horse shows and judging contests, and supports graduate students in equine teaching and activities.

In recognition of her years of support and philanthropy, Linda was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department in 2015. Later that year, she was named one of three DASNR Champions, the Division’s highest award for non-alumni.

Most recently, Linda provided funds to establish the Horse Judging Team Endowment to provide travel and scholarship support to OSU.

She also recently established the Cline Family Equine Internship Endowment which allows OSU students additional opportunities to work at the equine teaching center and gain valuable hands-on experience.

Linda’s additional philanthropy, organizations and volunteerism includes:

  • The Right Path Literacy Project and Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • Linda has recently dedicated a portion of Char-Lin Ranch to build a veteran rehab facility to assist the Veterans With PTSD.
  • Shiloh Camp
  • AQHA Scholarship Program

Belle Mere Farm

At one time, Belle Mere Farm Ltd. was one of the largest breeding farms in the Southwest.  Owned and operated by Betty and her husband, 2010 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee, Dee Raper.  The early beginning was a farm just outside of Lexington, Oklahoma in 1983.  The name for the farm came from a friend who was looking up the farm location on a map and told them about a man-made lake in that area that was called Belle Mere.

In 1992 the farm moved to its present location in Norman, Oklahoma.  Over the past 50 years, Dee and Betty personally have been hands on every day and in every aspect of the farm operations.  Belle Mere has a reputation for providing excellent care.  Their trusted friend and co-worker Phyllis Norvell has worked as their bookkeeper with them on the farm for 36 years.

One of Belle Mere’s highlights was standing the legendary Easy Jet in 1985, an All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner and outstanding sire whose breeding fee was $15,000. Easy Jet would become an American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee in 1993.   The fabled stallion was an Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee in 2005.

When asked “who was the favorite stallion of all time”, they both said 2015 Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee Bully Bullion.  He stood on their farm for 32 years and was considered a part of the family before he passed away in 2014.

When asked which stallion they handled over the years had the greatest impact on the Quarter Horse industry, they both responded that it had to be Mr Eye Opener who was a great sire of racehorses, but also one of the top broodmare sires of all times.

One year they stood 13 stallions on the farm.  There were years in that era when they bred as many as 1200 mares in a single year.  In the early ‘90s after they moved to Norman there were a few years when they had as many as 700 mares on the farm during a single breeding season not counting mares that were bred off the farm with shipped semen, and it was not uncommon in those years to have upwards of 400 of those mares on the farm at one time.

Belle Mere Farm is a name, a place, but what warrants the farms induction into the Hall of Fame is the people.  All the while running this major breeding farm, and ensuring the highest caliber of care for the horses that came through their facility, the Rapers also found time to volunteer their time and support to serve the horse industry. Both Dee and Betty are life members of OQHRA and Dee served as president of OQHRA from 1993 through 2001.  He and Betty have worked tirelessly in and for the Quarter Horse industry.

Dwight Van Dorn

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.

Rodney Reed

Rodney Reed was born in Durant, Oklahoma, and lived in Wapanucka, Oklahoma all of his life. His second home, however, was the winner’s circle at Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK.

Rodney began training horses at the age of 19. A factor in Oklahoma racing for years, the Reed operation was prominent from the start. Reed saddled 1,420 winners, 18 Grade one winners, with earnings in the excess of $16.1 million. His major stakes wins included the Rainbow futurity, and Kansas Futurity, at Ruidoso Downs; the Heritage Place Futurity, 3 times, the Remington Park Futurity twice, the Blue Ribbon Futurity and Derby, an amazing 6 times each, and the Speed Horse Futurity, four times.

Among the stakes winners he saddled were the likes of Alamitos Dasher, Bugged Thoughts, Chicks Call Me, Clicken On, De Passem Okey, Endaleabull, Fast Del Rey, Fast First Prize, Feature Mr Jess, First Down Kelly, Heza Fast Dash, Phoebe’s Otoole, Rakin In The Cash, and Spit like Jagger, to name only a few.

The great Refrigerator was started by Rodney, and won his first race at Ross Meadows in Ada, Oklahoma, but his tenure with the horse was short lived, as the horse’s talent was overwhelming, and big money took the eventual All American Winner away.

Rodney won 10 Remington Park training titles between 1990 and 2003, with an amazing nine titles in a row between 1995 and 2003. He won over 40 races in four of those years, with his top mark of 47 wins taking place in 2001, a Remington Park record, at the time. Reed was inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in 2010.

Rodney’s biggest race, was the one for his life. Rodney became ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Rodney’s wife Shelia, a major part of their winning horse operation, was now taking over his care and medical appointments. What was originally thought to be cancer, was an 8 pound massive tumor, laying against his heart. “I wasn’t supposed to live very long at all at one point,” Reed said. “They didn’t give me much of a chance because the doctors thought I had cancer.” But, through the encouragement of his wife, and devoted owners, Rodney did return to racing, and won several races in the next 10 years. After he was back in the race barn, Rodney stated “I’ve already done more than I ever thought possible,”  “Everything else from this point on is just extra.”

Rodney Rodney unfortunately passed away April 23, 2018.

Rick Chayer

Rick Chayer was born November 21, 1959 to Don and Wilma (Chestnut) Chayer.  Rick’s family was extensively involved in the horse industry.  His father and mother both trained horses.  Rick’s father was a farrier.  His grandfather farmed with horses and also did some trading.  As a child, Rick knew that he wanted a career with horses.  While he was in high school he worked for Denny Hassett Quarter Horses.  While he was a youth, Rick entered the AQHYA Youth World Championship Horse Show.

After he graduated from high school he worked for Mark Chestnut.  Rick considers Mark one of his mentors. While working for Chestnut, Rick learned to rope.

Chayer worked for an elite list of world renowned equine operations such as Carol Rose Ranch, Wayne Jordan Quarter Horses, 7S Stuart Ranch, Lazy E Ranch And Arena and Eddie Crow.

In 1983, Rick entered his first AQHA World Championship Horse Show and has been participating every year.  Rick has trained horses in numerous disciplines, but he has great respect and has distinguished himself by exhibiting some of the most athletic type horses.  He specializes in dally team roping, tie down roping, working cow horse, reining, ranch riding Versatility Ranch Horse and Ranching Heritage events.

While working at the Lazy E Ranch And Arena, Wayne Halvorson would introduce him to a lady that would change his life, Dolly Jensen.  Rick and Dolly started their partnership training horses in 1990.  In 1993, they moved to Sperry, Oklahoma, where they had the opportunity to rent a big indoor arena (the largest in the area at that time) and barn that sat on 160 acres north of Tulsa. It was on December 11, 1993 that the couple married, beginning another partnership.  In 2004, Rick and Dolly were able to purchase the ranch and now call it home.

With good customers and great horses, they have been fortunate to raise, train or show numerous AQHA World Champions and All American Quarter Horse Congress Champions, along with champions in amateur and youth competition. There is an impressive list of outstanding horses that have achieved gold under Rick and Dolly’s guidance.  Chayers have also produced many Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Champions and Golden Horses. Rick Chayer has earned a total of 5384 lifetime points.

Rick and Dolly have also focused their program on performance horse sale preparation. Rick  has developed a reputation for bringing quality horses to the Pitzer Ranch Sales twice a year, and the Hershberger Performance Horse Sale annually. They have topped both sales with the High Seller.

Rick has served a volunteer with the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association as well as the American Quarter Horse Association.  It started about 18 years ago as state OQHA director.  Then Rick served as an AQHA National Director in 2001, OQHA President in 2003, and was elevated to an AQHA Director At Large in 2017.  He served on the AQHA Show and Contest committee, AQHA Stud Book and Registration and is an AQHA Professional Horseman member for over 18 years.  Rick holds the following judges cards, AQHA Specialized Event Roping, National Reined Cow Horse Association, AQHA Specialized Event Working Cow Horse, AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse, and AQHA Specialized Event Ranch Riding.

Jerry Burgess

Jerry Burgess, now of Grand Prairie, TX was a 1962 graduate of Poteau High School, earned industry-wide respect as a premier stakes jockey for more than 25 years and as a racing official for more than 30 years.

He is the son of the late Melvin and Myra Burgess, Poteau, OK . The family relocated to Arizona when Burgess was young, but returned to Wister in the 1950’s where Melvin Burgess worked for the Kerr Ranch Complex and later was the foreman for Roy Reed’s Dog Creek Ranch.

Jerry began riding as a child.  Melvin always loved a fast horse and he was determined that Jerry would develop a love of racing.  At the age of 15, he began riding races in Oklahoma and Berryville, Arkansas. He later began racing at such iconic tracks as Ruidoso Downs and Los Alamitos Race Track in California.

Upon graduation from Poteau High school, Burgess became a full time professional quarter horse jockey who also attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1969.

Among his achievements were wins in the 1975 All American Futurity on Bugs Alive in 75, the 1980 Rainbow Futurity aboard Mighty Deck Three, 2 World Championship Classics aboard Oh Snaz and Alamitos Feature and riding two time world champion Dash for Cash in the Vessels Maturity and the Lubbock Downs Futurity. He was a four time winner of the Sunland Park Derby, a four time winner of the Raton Futurity, two time winner of the Oklahoma Futurity and a six time winner of the World Wide Appaloosa Futurity.

He has been inducted into two horse racing Halls of Fame: the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame at Remington Park in Oklahoma City in 2010, the Ruidoso Hall of Fame in Ruidoso in 2011 and is a recipient  of the Pete Pederson Outstanding Steward Award in 2016.

After retiring as a jockey, he has worked as a steward at many tracks in Texas, Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico and Haileah Park in Florida.

Jerry also obtained a Law Enforcement Academy Degree in Texas which enabled him to serve as a Texas State Steward for 27 years. He is currently a steward at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, TX.

He serves as one of two stewards from the Southwest Region who collaborates with Racing Officials Accreditation Program on suggested improvements of racing regulations nationally.

Jerry is actively involved with a local program at Dubinsky High School Career Academy in Grand Prairie which enables him to present several annual programs to students of the veterinary medicine classes. These students are brought to the track to see hands on procedures from trainers, veterinarians, starters and farriers.

Ronnie Austin

Ronnie Austin, from Ringling, Oklahoma, joined the American Quarter Horse Association in 2001 with the desire to raise good roping horses. He started that journey with the purchase of 10 brood mares, a gelding named RR Quick Silver, and a good Playgun stud from the Roos Ranch. In that same year, Ronnie made a deal with Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association cowboy Trevor Brazile to haul Deuce to several ropings. He went on to successfully qualify for the AQHA Amateur World Championship Horse Show in Oklahoma City, OK.

Ronnie owns and operates Austin Cattle Company and Austin Livestock Inc. Trucking with his wife Jessica and son Stanley. Ronnie has a daughter name Sunnie who lives in Fort Worth, TX.  His passion for roping works well with his profession of buying cattle, his favorite subject. He hits an average of 20 cattle auctions a week, which means a lot of travel and little sleep.  He uses this as an opportunity to load up his horse and hit a roping or two along the way.

In 2002, Austin placed in several shows and was enjoying the pursuit of his desire, starting his roping horses, and getting them into the hands of top tie down ropers, to help improve his Quarter Horse program. He also qualified for the AQHA World Championship Horse Show in Amateur Tie-Down Roping for the 2nd consecutive year.

In 2003, Ronnie won the first ever AQHA Bayer Select World Championship Horse Show in Amateur Tie-Down Roping on RR Quick Silver, and then sold him for $30,000. This was the beginning of starting, and selling horses from his own program.

Living his dream, Ronnie had just left the AQHA Bayer Select World Championship Show in Amarillo, not feeling his best, pushed through the discomfort, and traveled on to New Mexico to pick up his cattle. He began to realize that health wise, he was in trouble. He left the cattle to be transported by friends, loaded his horses and returned to Oklahoma. A trip to the doctor’s office revealed the diagnosis of Leukemia, to Ronnie and his wife Jessica. The doctors said that the cancer could not be killed and an experimental treatment, was the only option for survival. It was a tough battle, but the cancer is in remission.

Through hard work, faith and internal fortitude, Ronnie made his way back to the roping world. In 2004, he was crowned AQHA World Champion on CNN Smart Gunner, and AQHA Reserve World Champion on RR Sonita Norbert.  He came back to win the AQHA Adequan Select World Champions in Amateur Tie-Down Roping in 2006 and 2007.

Austin achieved his goal, to get Oklahoma Bred Quarter Horses to the PRCA National finals Rodeo, with the likes of; CNN Smart Gunner, Little Smart Leo, RA Sonita Silver, Purple Prince, and RR Sonita Norbert.  RR Quick Silver and PRCA cowboy Turtle Powell won the PRCA World Championship in Heading and would be named the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year.  Ronnie has mounted, partnered or sold horses to many PRCA cowboys including Matt Shiozawa, Adam Gray, Tyler Milligan and Ryan Jarrett.

According to Brian Caldwell, “Ronnie is a very unique individual who is a great role model and a true caretaker of the cowboy and western heritage beliefs and work ethic. He loves his horses and the State of Oklahoma with a passion that cannot be easily out done. He gets up every day and works hard at every aspect of his life with a passion that only a man who has faced what he has and overcome could”.

Ronnie will tell you, “God is good”! Surviving, and thriving, through difficulties, Austin is the essence of a good man, and a great horseman. He represents the spirit of a man, who is good for the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Industry.

The Ole Man

Bred by Frank Vessels Sr., The Ole Man was by Three Bars (TB), arguably the most all-around influential Thoroughbred sire in Quarter Horse history. The sorrel colt was out of the Chicaro Bill mare, Chicado V, and was foaled shortly after the death of Vessels Sr.  The Ole Man, lived up to his name. Foaled in 1963, and breeding mares well up to the day he died at age 32.  The stallion was named for his AQHA Hall of Fame breeder, Frank Vessels Sr, “the Ole Man” who founded Los Alamitos Race Course, and both his sire and his dam are AQHA Hall of Famers.

With a speed index of 100, The Ole Man garnered eight wins, four seconds and seven thirds, and earned $20,657 out of 33 starts. From the time he earned his AAA rating, he brought back 20 checks from 21 starts. He won the Stallion Stakes and the Lightning Bar Stakes, possessing the stamina, heart and soundness to run 24 races his 3- year-old year.

In September 1966, The Ole Man was purchased for $100,000 by Roy Browning, who at the time, lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and later stood the stallion on his Roy Browning Ranch at Shawnee, OK. A true all-around horse, The Ole Man sired 1,878 named foals in 28 crops, to be one of the very few sires of Superior champions in racing, performance and halter.

The Ole Man sired 554 horses that started in official Quarter Horse races, with 250 returning as winners and 15 of those in stakes, for earnings of $1,077,061. In AQHA shows, the stallion is represented by 10 AQHA Champions; 78 horses that earned 1,335.5 points in open halter and 14 that earned 702 points in youth halter; and 106 earners of 1,439.5 points in open performance, 21 earners of 48.5 in amateur performance and 35 earners of 1,029.5 points in youth performance classes, for a total of 4,555 points.

Few horses have ever had as much influence as a sire – or for that matter, a more appropriate name. The last known surviving son of Three Bars, The Ole Man died in February 1995, after breeding 100 mares in both of the previous two years. The stallion was a major factor in owner Browning being the AQHA Champion Breeder in 1987 and 1991.

The Ole Man was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2018.

Laico Bird

Laico Bird was foaled in April 1965. A daughter of Good Bird (TB) and Paula Laico, she was bred by B R Campbell of Frederick, Oklahoma.  The brown filly was sold as a yearling in the Haymaker Sale for $3800, and later for $5000.  Floyd H Jones Sr. purchased the filly for his two sons, Floyd H Jr. and Jimmy Ray Bailey Jones.  The delicate feminine filly, standing just over 14 hands, garnered every laurel for which she was available, in the voting for the 1967 year end championships, by the American Quarter Horse Association racing Committee.  Not since 1955 had a juvenile performed with such authority, being named World Champion, Champion Mare and Champion two year old filly.

One of the most noteworthy among Laico Bird’s accomplishments was becoming the world’s richest Quarter Horse with the astronomical earnings of $406,399.20.  She achieved this by winning the All American Quarter Horse Futurity, Los Alamitos Futurity, Raton Futurity, Texas Futurity, Columbus Futurity, and placing second in the Rainbow futurity and Blue Ribbon Futurity.  At age two, in 17 starts, she amassed; 11 wins, 5 second place finishes, and only ran one race where she didn’t “light the board”.  She ran on 6 different tracks, winning 5 stakes races, and placing second in two others and remained “sound” through a very rigorous two year campaign.

Laico Bird came back, as a three year old to win the Button and Bows Derby, placed second in the Raton Derby, Sunland Park Fall Derby, and third in the Rainbow Derby and Ruidoso Championship stakes. She retired with a race record of 34 starts, 17 firsts, 12 seconds, and 3 third place finishes. Earning $435,653.00 in her lifetime, Laico bird proved Jimmy Jones right, when he stated “She’s like a deer, with quick small feet, and very alert. She stands about 14.1 hands and weighing 950 pounds. Laico Bird looks like she can move fast”.

She was ridden by Boyd Morris, Bobby Harmon, or Billy Powell, in all of her starts.  Bobby Harmon was in the irons when she won The 1967 All American Futurity.

Retired at the end of 1968, she was bred to Jet Deck to produce two fillies, both stakes horses. Fly Laico Bird, who won the Columbus Triple Crown Futurity, and placed second in the Oklahoma Futurity, Sunland Country futurity, and Ruidoso Futurity with earnings of $129,931. The second foal was Laico Bird 2, a stakes placed runner who earned $42,200.

She died of a twisted intestine in May 1971.

Easy Date

A look at the pedigree of Easy Date reveals exactly why the bay filly took the racing industry by storm in the mid-70s.

Easy Date was from Easy Jet’s second crop of foals, and she was out of the Roman Sandal (TB) mare Spot Cash.

With bloodlines rich in speed, Easy Date outshined the other racing prospects because of her even temperament and her aggressive attitude on the track. Legendary breeder and owner Walter Merrick of Sayre, Oklahoma, first noticed these traits.

“She had a wonderful disposition from the first,” Merrick said. “Easy Date was always quiet and calm. She never did act up, and she was real sensible. James McArthur trained her, and he never had a day of trouble.”

Easy Date won the 1974 All American Quarter Horse Futurity, beating Tiny’s Gay by a nose before a crowd of more than 20 million people who watched the live telecast of the $766,000 race. She was the first All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner by an All American Quarter Horse Futurity winner.

Easy Date won nine stakes at six tracks in three states, including the Kindergarten Futurity, the Rainbow Derby, the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos and the Golden State Derby at Bay Meadows. Easy Date finished off the board only twice in her career. She also set the ¼-mile track record at Bay Meadows in May 1975. The bay retired with $849,710 in earnings, putting her at the top of the all-time money earners list in 1977.

She produced 11 foals that earned $101,931. The highest individual money earner was Toast The Host, a stakes-winning son of Raise Your Glass (TB).

Easy Date was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002.