Harley D Zip among AQHA Hall of Fame class
Induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors bestowed by the American Quarter Horse Foundation. This year, we are inducting three horses and four men in the Class of 2023: Harley D Zip, High Brow Cat, Okie Leo, Ralph Seekins, Leverne Perry, G. R. Carter Jr. and Clark Bradley.
Harley D Zip, the pride and joy of the Papendick family of South Dakota, earned a record $237,176 ($115,937.82 in AQHA Incentive Fund money), more than 6,000 AQHA points and won multiple AQHA world championships and year-end high-point titles. He won the year-end all-around senior horse title four times. “Harley” is the only horse in history to have won the same class in all divisions (junior, senior, amateur, Select and youth) at the AQHYA, Select, Amateur and Open world shows.
High Brow Cat, a 1988 chestnut stallion by High Brow Hickory and out of the Smart Little Lena mare Smart Little Kitty, was bred by Hanes Chatham and Stewart Sewell. High Brow Cat has progeny earnings of more than $90.8 million to date. In 2021, 12 of the top 25 cutting horse sires were sons or grandsons of High Brow Cat. On the all-time list of sires by performance money earned, “Cat” is joined in the top five by his sons Metallic Cat and Smooth As A Cat; their progeny alone have combined earnings of $91.5 million. Cat is also the No. 2 all-time broodmare sire of horses by performance money earned, with progeny earnings in cutting alone of nearly $63 million, behind his grandsire, Smart Little Lena.
AQHA Champion Okie Leo, a 1956 sorrel stallion by Leo and out of the King mare Sorrel Sue, was bred by Bud Warren. Okie Leo sired 531 registered American Quarter Horses that went on to earn more than 4,500 AQHA halter and performance points, two AQHA Superhorse titles, 64 performance Registers of Merit, four AQHA Champion titles and nine AQHA world championships. Six of Okie Leo’s progeny also made 39 race starts. Okie Leo was one of the great “using horse” sires. He sired horses with incredible minds and conformation that solidified the versatility and using ability of the American Quarter Horse. Breeders looked to Okie Leo’s genetics to develop programs that would further the ranch horse to be cowy, have good feet to work in outside conditions and a trainable mind that made the horse a partner with their rider. Okie Leo’s bloodlines can be seen in some of the great ranch horse stallions and broodmares of the West today, continuing to prove this all-around ability.
AQHA Past President Ralph Seekins of Fairbanks, Alaska, served AQHA as its 67th president in 2017. Prior to serving as AQHA president, Ralph served as an Alaska state senator for four years. He used that celebrity status to educate Alaskans about American Quarter Horses and help build the Quarter Horse industry in his state. Ralph, a self-described people person, used his outgoing personality to meet as many AQHA members as he could as president. His message? AQHA members need to own the Association, get involved and make a difference.
As a 40-year breeder, Leverne Perry’s best-known accomplishment was being involved in the breeding of Mr Jess Perry, a champion 2-year-old colt who became a leading sire. Mr Jess Perry was named for Leverne’s father, who is listed as the horse’s breeder and who was buried the day the colt was foaled. Mr Jess Perry had 12 wins in 21 starts with earnings of more than $687,000. His offspring have earned more than $40.8 million on the track. As a leader in the racing industry, Leverne served on the AQHA racing committee and was the executive director of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association.
Jockey, AQHA Professional Horseman and AQHA Director G. R. Carter Jr. remains atop the AQHA lists for wins with 3,906 and mount earnings of more than $75 million. Additionally, Carter has the most wins in Paint racing and in Appaloosa racing and even counts 335 victories aboard Thoroughbreds. Carter has accumulated nearly 5,000 victories (in all breeds) overall and was voted AQHA champion jockey 13 times overall.
AQHA Director Emeritus Clark Bradley was honored as the 2001 AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year and is past president of the National Reining Horse and Ohio Quarter Horse associations. The trainer is in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame and joined his dad, Bailey “Stretch” Bradley, in the NRHA and American Quarter Horse halls of fame. Clark served as an instructor at the University of Findlay for 26 years, coaching national championship teams, and was an AQHA, NRHA and National Snaffle Bit Association judge.
Please make plans to join us to celebrate the Class of 2023 at the 2023 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Induction & Reunion Celebration September 15-16 in Amarillo, Texas.