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‘Cowboy at heart’

He rode broncs in a remuda, served in the United States Army, taught high school in three states, raised fine Quarter Horses for more than fifty years, fathered two sons, and married the best woman in the world. Gene Hunt, known as Geno to his friends and family, has had an adventuresome life filled with kind friends and high-quality American Quarter Horses, he says.

While Geno’s wife Effie Lopez Hunt was more passionate about teaching young minds than returning to ranching, she helped shape her husband’s life in a big way. Geno grew up riding what he referred to as brumbies; Effie grew up the opposite in a family with a fine taste for good Quarter Horses.

“His dad had hundreds of horses, all basically Indians’ ponies, wild horses they’d gather and train and break. That was transportation; it was the same for most of their neighbors in those days. He had nine sisters and another brother, and they used to ride some of these old inbred mustang-type horses to school every morning,” Jim Hunt said of his dad Geno. “He acquainted the neighbor girl, my mother, and once he got to ride the well-bred Quarter Horses his father-in-law mounted him on, he decided he was going to raise Quarter Horses and never go back.”

Nearly-85-year-old Geno started his path with a degree in education from Black Hills State teachers’ college in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was drafted to the army for a couple years, before returning home to marry his sweetheart Effie and finish his degree. He attempted to attend South Dakota State University in Brookings but had no taste for the lack of cowboy companionship and abundance of cold, wet, and humid weather. He implemented his degree and taught high school students for half a decade.

“At heart, I was a cowboy, a rancher, but I did teach school for five years. I taught high school business, world history, and American history in Meteetse, Wyoming, Plevna, Montana, and Belle Fourche, South Dakota,” Geno said. “Then I came here to my ranch in 1962. At first, I just worked with my good friend Bill Ullman, then he sold me the ranch. I added to it. I was fortunate to get started at a time when a young man could still put together some country, and I’ve put together a pretty good ranch. I’ve helped my sons and their families stay in ranching and horses.”

Through the years, Geno has combined efforts with family and friends to produce a high-quality horse sale, Hunt, Lopez, and Meyer. His stallions always contained, and still do, notable Quarter Horse bloodlines. Geno jumped on an opportunity to purchase his current stallion Frenchmans Mr Tuff—a son of Frenchmans Guy— at a sale in 2002 as a weanling.

“On his dam’s side, he’s what every Frenchmans Guy stallion should be bred with: good, proven using horse lines. I got him from this horse lady in Colorado, Ann Scott, and I bought two of them at this said time,” Geno said. “They didn’t brag on these two young horses like they did some of the others, so I got them bought pretty reasonable, and they’ve both been outstanding.”

The filly proved her breeding, winning the Indian World Championship with Jeff’s daughter Jakki Hunt aboard. The stallion has been used within Geno, Jeff, and Jim’s breeding programs, passing along his finer traits to his colts.

His most prized stallion, however, was Top Not, a son of Bar Nothing Springer born in 1949.

“Those Top Not mares were the best, and we still have some of that bloodline in our mares. I had a lot of good horses, and I wouldn’t ride anything but a good-bred horse,” Geno said. “I’ve got an eye for horses; I just look at one and recognize the qualities of it. I can tell a good looking horse by first look. I guess, of course, I improved upon it as the years went by, but I have no trouble seeing the qualities in the horse.”

Another of his prized horses he purchased from Pat Cowan before his untimely death in a plane crash in 1985. Geno used PC Sun Socks to improve his broodmares before having to put him down to limit his suffering from navicular.

“I have a creek by my house that I used to let him stay in the water and mud to ease his pain,” Geno said. “They don’t get along that well; they suffer quite a bit from that navicular, but he was a very good horse.”

His good friends Bob and Karen Meyer were present when Geno purchased Sun Socks.

“Geno is a horseman; there wasn’t four-wheelers back then. He had big country and ran a lot of mares,” Karen said. “We were there at the sale when he bought PC Sun Socks in 1984. We were good friends of Pat Cowan, as was Geno. He’s always been a good friend.”

For several years in the 70s and 80s, Leon Torvell worked for Geno training horses, allowing Geno to sell broke horses alongside his young ones.

“Leon was very good; he loved to train race horses, but he would also train saddle horses. He was one of the good ones. He loved horses and was very kind and gentle, one of the better trainers in the US,” Geno said. He was a pall bearer in Leon’s funeral.

His intent was always to raise good horses to ride, but it was never considered a bad thing if they found some success in the arena.

“They’re used in the arena and in riding on the ranches. The people got along good with them,” Geno said.

His life has been peppered with highs and lows; Geno lost his wife in 2006 to a car accident, and he had a stroke four years ago. He had a near-dispersion sale of his horses in 2009, but he still runs more than 400 cows and has about a dozen broodmares. He has a stake to leave his sons and grandchildren, and he was honored by the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association as a 50 year legacy breeder.

“His mind and memory are clear and sharp as a whistle, and he still knows the difference between a good one and a bad one,” Jim said of his father.

“I’m happy here, I like this ranching life, however many years it’s been. Fifty year plus,” Geno said. “I’ve raised horses, lots of them, so I’ve had a very good life.”

South Dakota’s Crago family recognized as AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year

Although brothers Bruce and Ralph Crago each run their own cow herd under different brands, the two share more than a brotherly bond. They also share the rocking chair horse brand that has represented their family for over 60 years.

The brand was first registered in 1957 as a partnership between father and mother, Vince and Margaret, and their three sons: Bruce, Ralph and Chuck. After the passing of Vince and after Chuck left to run his own operation, the brand is still used for the Crago Cattle Co. Quarter Horses.

Ralph and his wife, Becky, along with their daughter, Kristy Schmidt and her husband, run one stud and a band of 12 mares. Nearby, Bruce and his son, Colby along with his wife, run three studs with a couple small bands of mares while Margaret still lives on the original homestead that has been in the family for 130 years.

Vince’s grandfather came to western South Dakota from England and homesteaded the first 320 acres in 1887, turning it into an orchard and planting 1,000 apple trees. His son, Charles, purchased the orchard and land in the late 1920s from his father. As the story goes, the family sold apples, milk and vegetables to grocery stores in order to keep the family afloat during the 1930s. Shortly after, Charles changed the focus of the place from fruit orchards to cattle, draft and ranch horses.

Vince grew up with those horses and thanks to his father, Margaret says that he always had an appreciation for them. In 1958, Vince bought his first registered horses. A mare and a colt for 60 dollars and a yearling for 40 dollars. Soon after, he bought a registered stud named Wrangler Red, who was a grandsire to the second stud that he purchased, Beckwith Dun.

“Beckwith Dun was kind of our cornerstone sire that started the Crago Quarter Horses and us having a production sale for 30 plus years,” Kristy said. “They go back to King, Leo, Poco Tivio and Sugar Bars.”

Because Kristy has grown up riding Beckwith Dun horses on the ranch, she says she intends to keep those bloodlines alive, not only because she enjoys everything about the horses, but also because they are what her grandfather believed in and brought to Crago Cattle Co. in the beginning. While it’s true that working cattle on the ranch helps make good horses, good bloodlines also help and Beckwith Dun has contributed to the Crago’s reputation for good, solid ranch horses that can also be taken to the arena or show pen and be highly competitive.

“My mother’s maiden name is Beckwith,” Bruce said, “and I remember when we went and got that horse [Beckwith Dun] from my gramp in Midland, South Dakota back in 1976. He raised Beckwith Dun and then we raised a lot of colts out of him with quite a little success so for as long as we can, we’d like to keep those lines.”

Bruce looks for good conformation and disposition in the colts that he raises. Conformation so that the horses stay sound and disposition so that a horse can be turned out if needed, and still be the same horse the next time he is ridden.

From 1976 to 2008, Crago Cattle Co. held an annual Quarter Horse production sale until the passing of Vince in 2006.

“Around then, we just kind of quit having it and that’s when we started doing our separate bands of mares, but together under the same brand with the same Beckwith Dun bloodlines,” Kristy said. “We cut back our mare numbers quite a bit and we just sell mostly through private treaty now.”

Of the mares that the brothers kept, all were either proven themselves, having won some money or otherwise shown they are well minded and sound, or have full siblings who have proven themselves.

The colts that are not sold as weanlings are sent to have the first 30 rides put on them as 2 year olds, turned out for a few months, and then as 3 year olds they begin to start seeing more ranch miles under the Cragos.

“We sell about half of our colts, and keep the other half to make sure we always have some coming up,” Kristy said. “We sell some broke geldings every couple of years to keep the numbers and make sure we have room for young ones as well.”

While with the Cragos, the horses are used in a variety of off the ranch as well, including team roping, cow horse performance and even picking up broncs at local and amateur rodeos.

“They get used to a little bit of everything around here,” Kristy said. “We like to produce a good, well rounded, solid ranch horse. The good ones are worth a lot of money when you take the right steps and put the time into them.”

In the past few years, Kristy and her husband have been attending and placing well at AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges, shows that are open to any horse bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder, which Crago Cattle Co. is. The challenges consist of several different classes such as working cow horse, working ranch horses and ranch boxing classes.

“It’s a lot of fun and a really great challenge,” Kristy said. “If someone buys one of our colts, since we are a Ranching Heritage Breeders, they can also take that colt to these Ranching Heritage Challenges and compete on them.”

This year, Crago Cattle Co. is being awarded the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the year award, an award to recognize Quarter Horse breeders who continue to uphold the ranching tradition.

The Cragos are quick to pay homage to Vince and Margaret, the first to bring Quarter Horses to the ranch, the ones who helped their sons into the ranching business, true stewards of the land and a true ranchers. They are also quick to pay respect to each family member who continues to work hard every day to keep the Crago Quarter Horse program alive and well.

‘A great guy,’ South Dakota Quarter Horse Association to honor Stanley Johnston

If he couldn’t do it well, Stanley Johnston was of the mindset that he wasn’t going to do it at all. The Nebraska-born cattleman bought a ranch in Ree Heights, South Dakota in the 1940s and proceeded to do very well in the Angus cattle business, even showing cattle and winning at shows. In order to run cattle though, a man needed to swing his leg over a good horse. Stanley and his wife, Frances, started breeding horses.

At the time, they may not have known the lasting impact that their horses would leave on the American Quarter Horse industry, they just knew that the horses they bred worked well for the couple’s purposes. They were athletic, but they were good minded and trainable. While some Quarter Horse breeders produce one or two great horses in their lifetime, Johnston horses continue to leave a lasting impact. Horses from their breeding program, such as Wilywood and Sun Frost, went on to produce numerous great horses who performed not only on the ranch or in the arena, but also carry on what continues to be strong genetics for generations to come.

Around 1950, the Johnston family traveled to Arizona in the winter, initially due to poor health of Stanley’s daughter. The family would then go north, back to the ranch in South Dakota for the summers, returning to Arizona every winter following. It was in Arizona, while roping, cutting and bulldogging all winter that Stanley and Frances began to be noticed for their horse breeding.

Stanley purchased Poco Speedy, an own son of Poco Bueno, who soon became his favorite mount. Poco Speedy became an American Quarter Horse Association champion, the first ever from South Dakota. He turned into an excellent breeding horse and he won National Cutting Horse Association shows.

“Dad really liked to cut, and Poco Speedy was his favorite stallion,” says Randy Johnston, Stanley’s son. “He practiced roping with us once in a while, but he never roped calves. He’d heel for me in high school rodeo, team roping. But bulldogging and cutting, those were his things.”

While Stanley was riding Poco Speedy, Frances bought some mares. The first was River Stardy, an Oklahoma Star bred mare that Randy describes as being the greatest mare his mother ever rode. Frances was a true cowgirl who loved to ride cutting, pleasure and barrel horses with great success in each arena.

The pair seemed to have an eye for what would make good crosses. It was a son of Driftwood named Gray Chip that turned Stanley onto the Driftwood bloodlines. Originally, the gelding was supposed to be a bulldogging prospect for Stanley, but Randy says he “kind of stole” the horse from his father.

“The first time I rode that horse, I won second in South Dakota so then I just kept roping calves on him. Dad liked the way he was, so he started buying Driftwood mares and then started breeding them to Poco Speedy,” Randy says. “That’s what he called the ‘Golden Cross’ and that’s what he rode, crosses out of Poco Speedy and a Driftwood mare until he passed away. They were his favorite.”

In 1977, David and Dennis Motes won the NFR team roping title, both riding “Golden Crosses.”

While many of the colts were sold straight off the mares, the colts that Stanley saw a future in were taken to Arizona where Randy would start them, then turn the prospects over to his parents who would train them for cutting events.

“Mom, she was great with the cutting horses, training them,” Randy says. It was around when Frances was diagnosed with cancer that she purchased Prissy Cline and started running barrels on the mare. “After she passed away, things kind of changed. They were pretty close, Mom and Dad. They liked the same things, so it was a heartache when we lost her.”

After Frances passed away, Stanley bred Prissy Cline to Docs Jack Frost, an own son of Doc Bar, resulting in Sun Frost who went on to produce many winning foals, such as Frenchman’s Guy, who has sired over 11 million dollars’ worth of winners.

One foal, French Flash Hawk, aka ‘Bozo’ out of Sunfrost and Casey’s Charm, was owned by Kristie Peterson. Bozo carried her all the way to the National Finals Rodeo time and time again, winning her five barrel racing average checks and four world titles, as well as AQHA Horse of the Year from 1995 to 1999. The ESPN announcers, seeing that Peterson called her horse Bozo, mistakenly said on live television that she found the horse at a circus.

It has taken years for Stanley’s legacy to be realized, for horses to mature and show their innate ability and for rodeo cowboys to take to using papered, well-bred horses in the arena. Stanley passed away in 1982 and is remembered as a straight businessman with a big heart, one who Randy even recalls giving horses with promising futures away to those who couldn’t afford to buy them.

“Of course, he’s the guy who didn’t want anybody to know about doing that,” Randy says. “But he was a great guy, a great dad and he was great to everybody.”

In 2015, the South Dakota breeder was posthumously inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame. Today, many Quarter Horse breeders across the nation boast that their programs are products of Johnston-bred horses.

“I feel like him and mom deserved it all because I had seen them do it all since I was a boy,” says Randy. “There’s a lot of work and I felt they’d done great at it, and a lot of people have done great with the horses that he raised.”

A strong Chord: Cee Heart Quarter Horses named producer of the year

Clayton and Sally Chord put their hearts into—and on—all that they do, including their home-raised horses sporting the Cee Heart brand. Their passion and love for quality Quarter Horses earned them 2017 South Dakota Quarter Horse Association Producer of the Year.

“I am honored they chose us,” Clayton said. “There are so many great producers in this state. I couldn’t believe they picked us.”

The Chords have raised Quarter Horses for 35 consecutive years with the Cee Heart brand on their shoulders and Cee Heart suffix in their names.

“I always felt like that brand looked like Christ’s love,” Clayton said. “I feel that God has really blessed us with horses way past what we could afford. Before we had kids, we decided we could probably breed better horses than we could ever buy.”

Their lineage of horses is built upon a foundation laid by Sally’s parents, Jack and Ellen Paulton; who also established the ranch, located 16 miles west of Custer and eight south, where Clayton and Sally have lived since 1980 and where their four daughters grew up. Several of their mares trace back to Paultons’ lines.

The stallion, Hawkeye Classic, was purchased in 1987 as a three-year-old, and created the base for Chords’ predominantly gentle, sound-minded, athletic herd of ranch horses.

“I studied pedigrees a lot; it’s a passion that God had given me, so when Hawkeye Classic became available to purchase, I felt that it was an awesome opportunity. Hawkeye Classic was an exceptional horse to train. I roped a cow on his 12th ride. By the time he had 30 rides, we had dust pneumonia come through our calves and we roped and doctored 30 of them,” Clayton said. “He just was an awesome ranch horse. When Brenda was 5 or 6, she would ride him out in the pasture, whether there were geldings or even a mare in heat. That was a problem. We couldn’t get outside mares because they didn’t know he was a stud!”

Hawk, a son of Dandy Seeker, gave the Chords more than 100 colts in his 17 years with them. Two of Hawk’s grandsons are the future for Cee Heart Quarter Horses, and many of his offspring make up their daughters’ herds.

“Dandy Seeker, Hawk’s sire, for 10 years was in the top 10 AQHA youth horse sires. He was a superior halter horse and had eight points in western pleasure. He was a son of Goldseeker Bars out of a Joe Reed II-bred mare. On the bottom, Hawk had Two Eyed Jack and Barry Pat Star,” Clayton said. “We aren’t into fads or trends. We have a 120-head cow outfit. The horses we ride are our own and need to be built a certain way. They have withers and bone and speed enough to catch and doctor cattle on our operation.”

Their daughters each showed Hawk’s sons and daughters to success in local 4-H and FFA shows and rodeos, as well as showing and competing on the state level. Now, the grandchildren also ride and show.

Clayton and Sally’s four daughters are spread 17 years apart. Melinda is the oldest and married to Lucas Stolhammer. They ranch west of Newcastle and have three kids, Connor (10), Carli (8), and Waylon (5).

“They are very active with Cee Heart horses. They have several horses that trace back to what Sally’s parents started out with and have continued to keep breeding Cee Heart horses,” Clayton said.

Their second daughter Brenda is married to Ivan Brovont and is expecting a baby in May. They ranch south of Newcastle and breed Cee Heart horses to use on the ranch and to train and sell.

Like her sisters, Katrina, the third daughter, raises Cee Heart horses; she works at Black Hills University in Spearfish. Katrina married Ryan Huft two months after her little sister passed away.

“Laura moved to Heaven May 3, Katrina was married July 16, and my dad went home to Heaven,” Sally said.

The fourth daughter, Laura, died when she was a junior in high school. She was on her way home from a track meet when she was in a car accident.

“Laura was very passionate about her love of the Lord, her love of the truth,” Sally said. “She took every opportunity, whether speaking or writing in her blog to proclaim truth! Even though we miss Laura, and it is just so incredibly painful, it is also incredibly amazing to know that she is in Heaven, and we’re on our journey there as well. We have so much to look forward to and it’s a great reminder that this life is so very short, and eternity is forever.”

Like her sisters, Laura had her own home-raised horse, a gelding, Cee Heart Gold Bar, that she called Trigger. Clayton wears a rodeo buckle that Laura won and Sally wears an all-around performance buckle of hers; though there many buckles still to be earned by Cee Heart Quarter Horses.

“Last summer, our eight-year-old granddaughter was showing a mare that was a great granddaughter of Sally’s mom’s horse that Ellen showed in the early 60s,” Clayton said. “Carli won the all-around in Hermosa while her great-grandmother was watching.”

Like their daughters showed the true gentle manner of Hawk’s offspring, the grandchildren are exhibiting the same qualities in this generation of Cee Heart horses.

“The girls were very pretty; they showed their horses off very well and had good seats,” Clayton said. “I loved having them go to brandings with me; they could outwrestle and outrope the boys.” F

123 Years of Horses: South Dakota’s Suttons Honored as 2018 AQHA Hall of Fame Inductees

The late Ray Sutton and his wife, Georga will be inducted into the 2018 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Hall of Fame. The Suttons are the first South Dakota natives to be inducted and only the second couple to be so honored.

“Induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame is the highest honor possible in the American Quarter Horse Association,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “Georga and Raymond Sutton have greatly impacted our Association, and I look forward to welcoming these deserving individuals into the Hall of Fame in 2018.”

The Raymond Sutton Ranch, located near Gettysburg, S.D., is home of the oldest quarter horse production sale in the world. Horses raised on the ranch carry the original ranch brand, S quarter circle, on their right jaw. The Sutton ranch was established by Edwin Sutton in 1894. Since 1916, the Suttons have raised cattle, buffalo and horses on their ranch, with a strong emphasis of raising successful bloodlines that will produce dominant breeders with distinctive carry-on breeding abilities.

Recipients of AQHA’s Legacy Award (50 years of continuous breeding) and the 50 Year Cumulative Award, they will host their 66th annual production sale in September 2017. The sheer numbers of horses sold to more than 1,000 customers is a testament to the strength of their program. By the end of 2016, the ranch had registered 2,646 foals and is still counting.

“The goal has always been to produce the best horses possible,” said Georga Sutton. “The move from horsepower to mechanical means of farming necessitated a rethinking of the horse program on the ranch. Early saddle horses were a necessity and bloodlines were not closely scrutinized. If the horses were able to put in long, hard days over miles of country, then they were acceptable.”

In 1910, the Suttons started raising registered Hereford cattle, and by 1916 they had invested in their first purebred horses with the purchase of five Percheron stallions.

“Most of our horses were sold privately, but in Aug. 1933, a trainload of Sutton horses were shipped to the Chicago market,” said Georga. “This shipment was one of the largest of its kind and made the headlines in Chicago. This trainload also reflected a shift was coming to the ranch with less emphasis on breeding draft horses and more attention paid to raising saddlehorses.”

A severe drought in Texas in the late 1940s provided the opportunity to get in the registered Quarter Horse business, and Georga says the AQHA’s emphasis on Ranching Heritage Breeders has helped to refocus on the reason Quarter Horses were first developed.

“We strive to raise horses that are multi-talented,” said Georga. “We believe in horses that are beautiful in mind, body and disposition; they can be specialists, all-around performers or just faithful friends. Our program has always had the all-around horse as our goal. It is what Quarter Horses excel at and it is what we breed for.”

Both Ray and Georga grew up riding horses, and when they met at South Dakota State University, their passion for the equine industry brought them together. The couple married in July of 1968, and they worked together for 37 years breeding the best horses possible.

The proof of the Raymond Sutton Ranch breeding program is in the success their customers have found through their purchases. The ranch résumé boasts numerous awards and accomplishments.

The ranch is home of Bill’s Rock, who was first in AQHA Get-of-Sire for two years; Peggy Note and Patty Punk, who were both first in AQHA Produce-of-Dam; Sorrel Spark, whose produce accumulated 2,592 AQHA points and boasted a World Champion Senior Pleasure Horse, two AQHA High Point Halter Mares, a Youth Supreme Champion, Open and Youth AQHA Champions. Horses from the ranch’s breeding program have Superiors in halter, pleasure, hunt seat, showmanship and horsemanship; and are the dams of Dynamic Deluxe, Sudden Inclination and Cowboy’s Squaw II, who was AQHA’s Honor Roll Mare, just to name a few.

“When we got serious about being in the registered Quarter Horse business, we knew that we had to get our horses out for people to see,” said Georga. “A few of the early stallions the ranch owned came with some type of show record. Some did not. Ray and I always enjoyed showing our horses, not for the trophies, but for the satisfaction of knowing that what we bred was as good as or better than the competition. Heather and I still enjoy the challenge of the show ring.”

Heather is Georga and Ray’s daughter, who returned to the family ranch in 2006 following the untimely death of her father just days prior to the 2005 production sale.

“Raymond was killed fighting a fire on the ranch,” said Georga. “He was an AQHA National Director and Judge for over 20 years, a man who loved being around horse people. Since his death, Heather has joined me in operating the ranch and breeding horses.”

“It would have been easy to throw in the towel in 2005 after Dad died, but we wanted to keep going and continuing the family tradition,” said Heather.

The daughter of the two-woman duo says she has fond memories growing up on the ranch and learning the ropes of the business from her parents.

“We always used to say, ‘the family who cleans stalls together stays together,’” said Heather. “Growing up, we spent a lot of time working cows, putting up hay and the other day-to-day responsibilities of running the ranch. Some of my fondest memories are when I was younger, and my parents were able to go to the horse shows, too. They both had very hard work ethics and a strong interest in horses, and they taught me that your word is your bond. I think that’s why people continue to come back as repeat buyers each year; they know we are honest people to do business with.”

The Suttons’ first sale was held at the sale barn in Aberdeen, S.D. in 1951. Today, the sale is held at the ranch, and most of the offering is current year foals with a few older geldings and mares.

“We hold the sale at the ranch because we feel it is important for our customers to be able to see both the sire and the dam of the horses,” said Georga. “Horses from the sale have gone international as well as staying in the United States. Buyers from 10 states took home horses from the 2016 sale. We have requests for over 700 catalogs that are mailed out.”

While Georga is a retired school teacher, Heather has put aside her career as a veterinarian to work full-time on the ranch. Together, the pair has a sharp focus on their breeding program and continuing the legacy the Sutton family has built.

Today, the Suttons maintain a stallion battery of 15 and a mare band of over 100. To prepare for the sale, the two take photos, put together the catalog, advertise, freeze brand, and “halter gentle” the foals. Last year, they each haltered 40 of the foals before the sale.

“In recent years, we have focused more on performance horses, for cutting and cow horse events,” said Heather. “We’ve invested in some new bloodlines, and we plan to do some embryo transfer work on our older, successful mares in the next couple of years.”

In Heather’s spare time, she serves on the marketing committee for AQHA and on the board of directors of the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association. Over the years, Georga has served on several AQHA committees including international, studbook, registration and Hall of Fame Selection. In 2013, Georga was named an honorary AQHA vice president, and both she and Ray served as presidents of the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association.

Joining Ray and Georga Sutton on the 2017 AQHA Hall of Fame are five horses including Maroon (TB), Otoe, Runaway Winner, Smart Chic Olena and The Ole Man. Also being inducted are AQHA members including Abigail Kawananakoa of Nuevo, Calif.; Dr. Tom Lenz of Louisburg, Kans.; the late AQHA Past President Gene Graves of Grand Island, Neb.; and the late Robert Sutherland of Kansas City, Mo.

To learn more about the Raymond Sutton Ranch, visit www.raymondsutton.net.