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American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum


Joe Hancock

During the formative years of AQHA, Joe Hancock caused a lot of controversy. Some swore by the stallion’s abilities and others cussed his breeding. Few horsemen could say what a Quarter Horse was, but they knew, “it dang sure wasn’t a Percheron.”

Joe Hancock was foaled in 1923 and was by John Wilkins, by Peter McCue, and out of a half-Percheron mare. Joe Hancock’s breeder, John Jackson Hancock, lived in the Canadian breaks of the Texas Panhandle. The rancher kept a band of 35 to 40 mares, and periodically bred five or six mares to a small Percheron stallion.

As a long yearling, the brown colt was moved to Nocona, Texas, where John’s son, Joe lived. Joe ran a few ranch horses and did not need a stallion. The vet was called and the stallion was hobbled so he could be castrated. The vet, Jim Klingensmith, looked at the colt and said, “Joe, I’ve cut a lot of horses, and I’m fixing to cut another one. But damn, this is a helluva horse.” Joe looked at the brown colt, thought a minute, and said, “Let’s take those hobbles off.”

After using Joe Hancock on cattle, the rancher thought the horse might have some speed. The stallion was sent to Bird Ogles in Oklahoma to race. Ogles took the stallion to a county fair, and the racing secretary asked for the colt’s name, Ogles said, “He doesn’t have one, but he belongs to a man named Hancock. Just call him Joe Hancock.”

After scores of races, the stallion was sold to Bird Ogles’ son, George, for $1,000, an exorbitant amount during the Depression. The new owner turned around and sold the stallion to Tom Burnett, owner of the Burnett/Triangle Ranch, for $2,000. Joe Hancock began his career as a senior stallion for the Burnett Ranches. Horses such as Red Man, Little Joe The Wrangler, Joe Tom, Roan Hancock and Brown Joe are remembered for their powerful builds and level-heads. Horsemen remember half brothers Popcorn and Peanut, sired by Roan Hancock, who won the hearts of ropers Shoat Webster and Everett Shaw.

Joe Hancock died in 1943 at 20, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992.

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King P-234

In the kingdom of Quarter Horses, there are many legends, but there is only one King – King P-234.

The bay colt was foaled June 25, 1932, on Manuel Benavides Volpe’s ranch in Laredo, Texas. The colt’s sire, Zantanon by Little Joe, was considered the Man O’War of Mexico. Jabalina, the colt’s dam by Strait Horse, was hogbacked and difficult to handle, and traced to Little Rondo and Traveler.

Volpe named the foal Buttons, but that was changed when the bay was 2 or 3 years old. Byrne James owned the stallion and it is reported his wife changed King’s name saying, “Buttons, I’m changing your name to King, for truly you are the king of Quarter Horses.”

Around the same time, Jess Hankins of Rocksprings, Texas, was looking for a good stallion to breed to his riding mare. Hankins heard about King, and decided to have a look at the stallion. It was a 75-mile trip, so Hankins hauled his mare, just in case he liked the looks of the regal boy.

Hankins liked the stallion so much he wanted to buy King. Winn Dubose, King’s current owner, was not interested in selling, but Hankins was persistent. After a year of going back and forth, Dubose accepted $800 for the stallion.

Hankins used the stallion as a regular cow horse, roping and cutting on his. The rancher eventually quit using King because of the stallion’s heavy breeding schedule.

King sired a few racehorses such as Squaw H, but is best remembered for siring horses with tremendous performance ability and cow sense. A few of the stallion’s better known sons were Poco Bueno, Royal King, King’s Pistol and Continental King.

The grand old stallion died of a heart attack in 1958 at 26. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Poco Bueno

Poco Bueno. The English translation reads, “pretty good.” It is a wishy-washy compliment for one of the most influential sires of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

Foaled in 1944, Poco Bueno was by King P-234 and out of Miss Taylor. The plain brown colt did not possess his sire’s regal blood bay color, and he was a late bloomer.

In October of 1945, Hankins loaded the colt and some other horses, and hauled them to San Angelo, Texas. E. Paul Waggoner of the Waggoner Ranch bought the brown yearling for $5,700.

Waggoner shipped the stallion to his Three D Stock Farm in Arlington, Texas, and began showing Poco Bueno. The brown colt won several shows such as the Denver National Western Stock Show and Southwestern Exposition & Fat Stock Show. Bob Burton broke the two-year-old to ride, but it was Pine Johnson who showed the brown stallion to cutting fame. Johnson took Poco Bueno to the toughest competitions, and the duo consistently raked in the prizes.

Waggoner then sent Poco Bueno back to the arena to earn his AQHA Champion title. The stallion earned the award at the same time as his daughter Poco Lena.

Poco Bueno sired 405 registered foals. Of these, 36 were AQHA Champions, and three are in the National Cutting Horse Association’s Hall of Fame: Poco Mona, Poco Stampede and the renowned Poco Lena.

Fagan once said, “To tell you the truth, Poco Bueno was the greatest horse I’ve ever been with, and I’ve been around a lot of them. He was easy to handle. Gentle. And smart. Nearly all his colts were the same way.”

The brown stallion died in 1969, and was buried standing up across from the ranch entrance. A four-ton granite marker marks the special spot.

Poco Bueno was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1990.

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Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine was foaled in Benson AZ, on Kenny Gunter's Ranch. Dell Haverty bought Blue Valentine. Haverty's wife was a daughter of Buster Hayes of Thermopolis, Wyoming. Haverty took Blue Valentine up to Wyoming to the Hayes Brothers ranch & sold them 1/2 interest in him. During the Hayes/Haverty partnership, Blue would be hauled south in the late summer for Dell to use at the fall & winter rodeos in the southwest & for the early breeding season in Arizona. He would then be hauled back up to the Hayes Ranch at Thermopolis, Wyoming for the late spring breeding season & to rope on at Cheyenne Frontier Days & other Wyoming rodeos in the summer. Blue was used for roping, ranch work & steer tripping, when the calves weighed 800-900lbs. In 1968 Haverty's daughter barrel raced on Blue (he had never been run on barrels) took 3rd @ the annual Casper, Wyoming pro rodeo, an all-girl competition. Over the years, many members of the Haverty, Merritt, & Hayes families took their turn at competing on Blue Valentine, in rodeo events. In August 1980 he died, @ 24, from a ruptured intestine due to colic. The same month Buster Hayes was killed in an accident & none of the heirs were financially able to take over the ranch. It was sold & the Hayes Brothers broodmare band was dispersed. In 1983, Hyde Merritt was killed in an accident & his family also had to sell his ranches & most of the horses he had spent his lifetime breeding. Hyde's wife, & their son Chip, managed to keep some mares & two stallions. Chip has spent years rebuilding a Blue Valentine herd & legacy. Vince Hayes was also able to keep a few horses, including Leo Hancock Hayes, one of the last sons foaled the year Blue Valentine died. Leo Hancock Hayes is now owned by the Brookings in Texas. Blue Valentine horses are known for their gentle disposition, bone frame, good feet & minds. There are now only 2 remaining sons of Blue Valentine, Leo Hancock Hayes & Blues King Fisher. Blue was 25% Joe Hancock breeding.


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Mr Sun O Lena

16 AQHA Open Halter Points - 9 Grands, 6 Reserves
AQHA ROM Open Halter, ROM Open Cutting
1996 AQHA Reserve High Point Junior Cutting Stallion
1996 AQHA World Show Junior Cutting Finalist
23.5 AQHA Open Cutting Points
2 AQHA Amateur Cutting Points
10.5 AQHA Working Cow Horse Points
1998 AQHA World Show Senior Working Cow Horse Finalist
Subscribed to the NCHA Super Stakes, NCHA Gelding Stakes,
NRCHA Stallion Stakes, & Bonanza Cutting


NCHA Certificate of Ability #14994
1997 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Amateur Champion
1997 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Non-Pro Finalist
NCHA Classic/Challenge Amateur Finalist
NCHA Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Finalist
Abilene Western $50,000 Non-Pro Classic/Challenge Champion
Abilene Western $50,000 Amateur Classic/Challenge Champion
Abilene Western Classic/Challenge Non-Pro Finalist
1999 Ft Worth Stock Show NCHA $50,000 Amateur Reserve Champion
1999 Houston Livestock Show NCHA $50,000 Amateur Champion


SIRE RECORD: 32 Halter & Performance Horse Earners - 1756.5 Points ~ 43 Money Earners - $293,697.49.

12 AQHA Superior Performance Awards
42 AQHA World Championship Show Qualifiers, 9 consecutive years
AQHA World Champion Open Dally Team Roping Jr Heeling
AQHA World Reserve Champion Amateur Cutting
AQHA World Show Finalists 8 consecutive years
2 NCHA World Standings $15,000 Novice Non-Pro Top 15
12 NCHA Certificate of Ability (COA) earners

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Julias Peppy

Sire of 2004 NRHA Futurity Americana Open Finalist, 2005 & 2006 European Jr. Reining Reserve Champion & 2005 German Jr. Reining Reserve Champion & AQHA performance point earner. Maternal grandsire of 2009 APHA Reserve Champion Open Sr Working Cow Horse, 2008 APHA World Reined Cow Horse Finalist, APHA 3 year old Reining Challenge Reserve World Champion, APHA World Show Senior Reining & Working Cow Horse Top 100, APHA Greatest Horseman Reserve Champion, NRCHA top 10 finalist, SHOT Classic Champion & NRHA, NRCHA, SRCHA, SHOT, NRHA money earners over $2300 & APHA money earners over $17,000.

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