SDQHA honors Jim Hootman: Legacy Showing
Jim Hootman has been showing Quarter Horses since he was a boy. “I grew up in southeast Iowa but I was a city boy who loved horses. I went out to a farm at the edge of town (Fairfield, Iowa) to ride horses. The people who got me started were an elderly couple named Bill and Jesse DuBoise. They raised horses, and those were the ones I started riding. They had some great horses; they weren’t Quarter Horses but they were really nice horses,” Jim says.
“I rode their horses and started showing them, and Bill and Jesse were like second parents to me,” Jim recalls. He notes that folks like this who take the time to mentor young people are a wonderful, positive force in young lives, to help them achieve their dreams.
“I showed my first horse in 1957. In those days it didn’t matter whether the horses were registered; we went to a lot of open shows. There were many good horses back then,” he says.
“The mare that really got me going was a Quarter Horse named Cindy Dawson. We took that mare all over and won the American Royal in Kansas City on her, and the Iowa State Fair a couple times. Back in those days, those were big shows,” he says.
Later, his wife Kathryn (who passed away in 2018) was also interested in the horses and very helpful, and she became even more involved when their girls started riding horses. They moved to South Dakota in 1980 and have a place near Harrisburg where they keep their horses.
“When the kids got involved, both of our daughters, Susan and Kary, enjoyed showing also, and they took some nice horses to the AQHA Youth World Show. My wife made a lot of their show clothes and made sure they looked really good when they went into the ring,” Jim says. They were on the road as often as possible, taking horses to shows, whenever he could get away from work; they spent all of his vacation time showing horses.
He worked for Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc.–an employee-owned chain of supermarkets in the Midwestern and Southern U.S., with about 300 locations in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. This chain of stores was founded in 1930 by Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg in Beaconsfield, Iowa, starting out in a small brick building.
Jim was with those stores for 36 years and ended up as the Store Director in Sioux Falls during the last part of his career with that company. It worked out well, having the two careers and being able to follow his passion and show his horses.
“It’s been a family deal ever since the kids started showing with us. Now the grandkids are showing, too, and when they started showing, my wife helped them, also. We’ve had a great time doing it, and were fortunate to have a lot of great horses, and enjoyed meeting a lot of great people,” Jim says.
He has been showing Quarter Horses for 64 years and has had the good fortune to have a lot of good ones. “We’ve had some really nice horses over the years, starting with that Cindy Dawson mare. Another one that really stands out was Miss Kane is Invited.” She had a long show career and was shown by several generations of the family.
“We showed our horses from Texas to Las Vegas to Columbus, Ohio—anywhere there were some good shows. The great and amazing thing about it is all the wonderful friends we made all over the country. It was also a lot of fun to do it as a family,” Jim says. He has many good memories, and good friends who are friends forever.
Most of the horses he’s trained and showed were in western pleasure classes, though he has also had some very nice halter horses that won a lot of shows, including the Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota futurities. “We’ve had a lot of nice halter horses and halter babies,” he says.
Some of the achievements he has enjoyed are the many high point State Championships. “We also placed at the Select World Show in Amarillo, Texas along with the futurities. It’s all been enjoyable; they’ve all meant a lot,” Jim says.
The horses he’s shown have always been his own horses; he has always showed as an amateur and not for other people. He buys horses as weanlings or yearlings, always trying to select individuals that he thinks will make good show horses. He likes to start with them as youngsters and handle them from the ground up.
“I just search around for horses I like. I have bought horses at sales and from breeders but I look more at the individual rather than the breeding or pedigree. I try to pick out good ones; sometimes a person gets lucky and a lot of times you fail!” The ones that make you feel lucky are always special.
“Probably the one I enjoyed working with the most was Miss Kane is Invited. She took me to a lot of good places and then started my granddaughter (Shelby Holmes) in her first showing experiences. Shelby did a great job riding her; she was a really good nice big bay mare.”
Jim enjoys passing his knowledge and horsemanship tips to the next generations; it has been very satisfying having his kids and grandkids carry on the showing tradition in the family. The youngest generation is now enjoying the chance to get some pointers from Grandpa!
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