Pederson Broken Heart Ranch raises Quarter Horses & Red Angus

Ruth Nicolaus
for Tri-State Livestock News
The Pedersons work to make their horses “athletic in the rodeo and race world yet still ranchable,” Chad says.

The Pederson Broken Heart Ranch knows how to race, rodeo and ranch.

Whether it’s their Red Angus cattle or their American Quarter Horses, it’s always shakin’ at their ranch near Timber Lake, S.D.

Chad Pederson, his wife Lisa, and his parents Gary and Sue Pederson are continuing the tradition begun by Gary’s parents Ralph and Helen in 1947 with the purchase of the ranch.

Ralph started with sheep, since the ranch he bought had run sheep. But he switched over to Red Angus, buying his first registered Red Angus in 1962. He kept adding to the herd, because, in his opinion, Red Angus had the best “disposition, mothering ability, good milking ability, fertility, lack of sun burning and pinkeye, and the red cattle stand the heat better.”

Red Angus still roam the hills at the Broken Heart, but Ralph had another love: horses. It was an interest his wife Helen shared as well.

Their first registered Quarter horse stallion, Scamps Paprika “Pep”, was purchased in the 1950s from Harley Roth. When Ralph bought a Sutton bred mare, “Travels Blaze”, he brought it home to Helen as her Valentine’s Day gift, leading it to the house with a big bow around the horse’s neck.

Travels Blaze was a great choice to start off the Broken Heart Ranch’s program. In 1974, one of her foals, Moxie Bar, won three awards: he was the world champion in the junior western riding that year, the AQHA Champion, and he received a superior in western pleasure, all in the same year.

Other memorable horses that have come from the Broken Heart Ranch’s breeding program have done well not only on the race track but in the rodeo arena. Nelly Bruce, a foundation broodmare, won six futurities and was the dam of Go Bruce Go, who carried Martee Pruitt to a National Finals Rodeo qualification in the barrel racing in 1992. Daks Pana Bar was another foundation broodmare that produced foals who won over $45,000, and was the dam of 1990 S.D. Bred Derby and Futurity winners. BHR Missy Socks produced foals that won over $30,000 on the track, and she was the dam of barrel horse sire BHR Frenchies Socks. Missy Socks, by Can He Go, a race horse that Ralph and Gary had, is “unstoppable,” Chad said. “She ran well, and every colt she had was in high demand. She was awful valuable to our breeding program and we had about a half dozen mares that go back to her.”

One of her colts, BHR Frenchies Socks, a 1999 sorrel stallion who made the million dollar progeny earnings, lives in Florida. He was purchased by Joe and Janet Shulthise of Louisville, Kentucky, at the Fulton Performance Horse Sale as a yearling. The Shulthises, who operate a feed business at Churchill Downs, gave the horse to their granddaughter Crystal Shumate for barrel racing. Frenchies Socks was a finalist at the Ft. Smith (Ark.) Futurity and reserve champion at the Five States Breeders Futurity in Rapid City, S.D. Shumate wanted a rodeo horse, and wanted to geld him, but her grandparents said no. “I’m really glad they said no,” she said. “It would have been a big mistake.” So instead, she decided not to barrel race on him but instead stand him at stud. It was 2003, and his second foal crop gave them Kiss This Guy, who won over $100,000 his first year of competing. Another baby from Frenchies Socks is Tee It Up In My Sox, who won $100,000 at the Oklahoma City Super Stakes, a futurity slot race for three year olds. Tee It Up In My Sox is owned by Kathy Donegan and ridden by Lacey Harmon, Donegan’s daughter.

The ranch has six or eight mares that go back to Missy Socks, Chad said. “They’re nice boned, big hipped mares that look athletic.”

Standing at stud at the Broken Heart Ranch now is BHR Super Frost. A palomino by Frenchman’s Guy, his mother, BHR Super Deck, was a Triple A winner. Chad’s sister Kim ran barrels on Super Deck, who coliced when Super Frost was three months old, orphaning him. “With his quiet disposition and the muscle and build, we kept him for a stallion,” Chad said.

The ranch does some AI for their bloodlines now, with a Captain Courage filly that will run this year, among other bloodlines. They have a three-year-old stud, a son of One Famous Eagle, who might be their replacement stud in a few years. The couple made a trip to the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas to see One Famous Eagle, but after he got syndicated, his breedings were difficult to get. They were fortunate to find One Mean Eagle from Lis Hollman and Frenchman’s Quarter Horses. Lis’ parents, James and Frances Loiseau, have a lot of history with the Pedersons. They used to race horses against Lis’ mother and Ralph and Helen included her in a win picture with them years after she had quit racing.

In 2012, the Pedersons won the Fifty-Year Cumulative Breeders Award from the AQHA, for having registered at least one foal for fifty years cumulatively. Their horses are usually sold as weanlings at the Dakota Breeder’s Classic, except for the ones they race, who are marketed later on.

The ranch has held an annual bull sale for the last forty years, with some customers that date back to the first sale held in 1978. They also sell replaceent heifers. One of the secrets to staying in business for that long is honesty, Chad said. “We’re pretty straight forward, with no surprises. We work hard at building relationships.” He defers to their customers: “They make us look good.”

Chad and his siblings: Bret, who ranches near Glad Valley, S.D., sister Kim Olson, who lives near White River, and brother Bart, who is a minister in Knoxville, Tenn., grew up on horses out of Daks Pana Bar, a foundation broodmare who produced foals that won over $45,000. They competed in high school and college rodeo on them. They were “good, quiet horses that nobody thought could run, looking at them. But they could do some damage in the arena. They were pretty athletic and fast, but excellent for beginners. They took care of us through the years.”

They use their horses in the day to day operations on the ranch, sorting pairs, moving cows, and that’s what they want in the horses they breed: “athletic in the rodeo world yet still ranchable.”

The fourth generation of Pedersons is making her mark at the Broken Heart Ranch. Chad and Lisa’s daughter Bricelyn is six years old and “loves the horses, absolutely adores them,” Chad said. A three-year-old gelding on the ranch knows Bricelyn, Chad says, and when she walks into the barn, “he knows it and he’s looking for her. They’re pretty good buds.” After Bricelyn’s friend’s race career is over, he’ll come back to the ranch, be made into a saddle horse, and “eventually Bricelyn will have him. She has a big heart and soft spot for horses.”

The 40th annual Broken Heart Ranch Red Angus sale is March 7, 2018, at the ranch, seven miles west and eleven miles north of Timber Lake.