"Because They Were So Bred"
By Lyn Frank
It was a cold and bitter day in 1949, “Lewis Blackwell remembers, “but
some of us horsemen ventured out to the stockyard on the east side of
Amarillo anyway. Word was out that Potts Ingerton had hauled in a few
Thoroughbreds from Kentucky in a cattle truck.
That was the first time I ever saw Custus Rastas. He was only a
yearling in ’49—solid brown save for a few white hairs on a hairs on a
hind foot. But there he was, own son of Requested and Slim Rosie, both
parents descending from Himyar. It would be my good fortune to own Custus
Rastas for a number of years, once I was able to get him away from Potts.
It would be my bad fortune to have to sell him, along with the rest of my
horses, because time came when a long drought wiped me out. If I had to
let Custus go, he couldn’t have gone to better man- Lou Tuck.
“What I remember most about Custus Rastas is that never in any
situation did he display a bad habit. I have been breeding and selling
horses since I was a kid and have been at the job for seventy years. I
still have Custus Rastas blood in my breeding program and consider myself
the richer for it.” Custus Rastas was destined to speed the major portions
of his life with Lou Tuck at Wild Plum Farm in Littleton, Colorado. Only
two horses from Custus Rastas family in Colorado were his son, Milk River,
a Supreme Champion and his grandson Little Town, also a Supreme Champion.
“Custus Rastas was a horse of great dignity.” Lou Tuck told
Eastern/Western, “And he was kind. As he grew older, time seemed unable to
make a mark on him. But, when he was approaching his mid twenties, he was
kicked by a mare. A little tumor developed in his leg and wouldn’t heal,
in spite of careful and constant veterinary care. My ultimate decision was
to put him down. We buried Custus Rastas under a spruce tree here at Wild
“The only way you can understand the true worth of Custus Rastas is to
compare his lifetime stud record with some of the horses today. Today a
Quarter horse stallion sometime accepts in excess of two hundred mares
during one breeding season. Custus Rastas was always sparling bred. He
sired 184 registered Quarter horse foals in his lifetime, yet he was on
multiple AQHA leading sire lists, and remains a leading sire of AQHA
The first mare ever bred to Custus Rastas was the immortal Mame Taylor.
She was a spitfire on straiaways for several years before establishing
herself as a grand dame among broodmares by foaling such individuals as
World Champion Running Horse, Hard Twist.
Mame Taylor was in Lewis Blackwells’s mare band in Amarillo when
Blackwell welcomed Custus Rastas to his farm.
“First mare Custus was ever bred to—he was only two at the time, and
she was about eighteen—was ol’ Mame. She gave Custus a son—Jaguar. He was
brown like his daddy. A beauty was implanted in him that he never lost. He
was without any doubt the most beautiful individual I had ever laid eyes.
Ed Honnen thought so too. Jaguar was still a weaner when Ed took him to
Quincy Farms in Denver , Colorado. I always kept track of Jaguar. He
told’em who he was in AAA time on race track. He marched in and took his
AQHA Championship with ease. Then he proceeded to put forth on the ground
a worthy family of running horses and performance horses. He stood quite a
while for Ed Honnen, and then Jaguar, he went east to a very great lady,
Mrs. Lorraine Beresford, and as far I he lived out his life with her. I
have always been proud to say that I bred Jaguar.”
While Jaguar was still commanding the Quincy Farms stud a man appeared
with his favorite mare, Sparky Joann, Sparky being a member of the Peter
McCue family through her sire, Little Joe The Wrangler. The story comes
down that Bill Coy was in the pasture with Sparky, at home in Wyoming in
1959, when the mare foaled Jaguar’s husky, blazed face sorrel son. Coy ran
towards the house shouting to his wife , Charlene “we have struck a
Bonanza!” Thus the sorrel foal was signed into history as Coy’s Bonanza.
Coy’s Bonanza was destined to become the bedrock of one of the sweetest
success stories ever told in AQHA. All of the beauty that Jaguar contained
seemed emphasized in Coy. The legend of the Bonanza silhouette was
perpetuated by Coy himself during a spectacular campaign that led him to
the wire ahead of the rest in AAA time, and to triumphs in the performance
arena in AQHA Champion style.
He so was purely structured within the limits of balanced beauty that
his athletic ability was overshadowed by his own presence, because he was
so appealing to the eye.
In the tradition of granddad Custus Rastas and dad, Jaguar, Coy’s
Bonanza begat short crops only a limited number of foals-229 in his
lifetime, 141 were performers, 93 earned halter points, 84 earned
performance points, 57 earned Arena ROM’s, 26 were AQHA Champions through
1982. The number of High Point, Champion and World Champion individuals in
the Bonanza clan is so large that no attempt will be made even to present
a cross section here.
Coy’s genetic power which imparted such an awesome percentage of
excellence in his family, was generous in stamping his get in his own
physical image. Those who champion the bloodline can spot a Bonanza
anywhere. Through the years an impressive number of Coy’s sons have taken
their stand and issued a stud call that is a lullaby to discerning
horsemen—The Blood Goes On Boys. Some that have taken the proud stand are
the black horse in Wisconsin, Bonanza’s Champ: Bonanza’s Scorpion and
Mister Bonanza in Canada; Grand Bonanza will stand inOregon in 1984,Ricky
Bonanza, one of Coy’s favorite sons stands in California.
One of Coy’s finest sons Major Bonanza, commands Cranham Farms in
Yamhill, Oregon. Viewed from any angle he reflects the Bonanza beauty. And
in the beginning, his owners, Andy and Carol Rees, wanted only a halter
horse. Major fulfilled the role explicitly but continued to display
exceptional athletic ability. Andy and Carol ignored all that at first,
but as time passed they decide that,in fairness to Major, he could have
his day in the arena. The Stallion displayed winning ways in multiple
stock saddle events including working cowhorse. Major continued to excel
and literally changed the lives of Andy and Carol Rees. They left their
home in Canada, settled in Oregon,and Major’s bank account earned through
stud duties has a lot to do with keeping life pleasant in Yamhill. Barn
talk in cutting hoss ranks is that Major Bonanza family may well be
crossed with be the cross on Doc Bar progeny.
His son, Major Investment was 1981 World Champion Junior Cutting Horse
and he has other offspring that are demonstrating excellent cow sense.
Another Bonanza son, Beau Bonanza, stands 16 hands high and is
recognized as a worthy progenitor in the Bonanza tradition. His own son,
Beaus My Daddy, is the only seven and lives in Stewart, Minnsota, with the
Edmundsons and Wackers. Last September “My Daddy” offspring more or less
steamrolled to top places in every class and category that the Minnesota
Futurity at Windom had to offer. My Daddy’s gelding son, My Daddy’s
Diamond, owned by Donna and Johnny Johnson of St. Louis, Missouri, is the
current all round amateur leader in the nation.
Regardless of the stallion’s true worth, the people in his life have
the power to make or break him. Some admirable people arrived and departed
in Coy’s Bonanzas life before one man viewed him and was never the same
again. The hand that rocked the Bonanza cradle though meticulous,
selective breeding put the indestructible excellence in the nucleus of the
Bonanza family is Bill G. Moomey’s hand.
He has always kept his breeding operation small, going for quality not
quantity. Bill continues to choose sons of Coy that stand at the Moomey
farm, Hickory Grove im Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Those stallion are Tailwind
Bonanza and Boss Man Bonanza. In addition to the mares that Bill selects,
they also stand to outside mares. The head honcho at Hickory Grove is of
course Big Daddy Bonanza.
“Big Daddy doesn’t stand to outside mares, not because there aren’t a
lot of good ones around, but because Bill wanted total control over his
first crops, totally right or wrong.
The partnership between Bill Moomey and Coy’s Bonanza was a long
standing association between strong individuals. When the horse passed on,
the man was bereft but did not say too much about that in public. He
continues fervently to believe that Big Daddy is the one, the Coy son he
intends to shoot it all on one more time. Big Daddy shows all the signs of
being worthy of the attention, but there are many in the legion of
Moomey’s friends who hope that, second time around, Bill will not get
quite so attached.
Thanks from: All the consigners
Thank you, Roger Brown for sharing this article about Coy’s Bonanza.
Coy's Show Influence
Coy’s Bonanza earned a 154 halter points, 70 Grands and Reserve Halter
Champions. Earner of Register Of Merit and Superior AQHA halter titles in
1966, and his AQHA Champion status in 1967. Being bred for speed, Coy was
entered in a 350 yard race on April 4, 1967. He won it in the AAA time of
18.13 seconds. After retiring from the show ring and racing, Coy
established himself as a premier sire. Throughout the 1970’s, Coy’s get
dominated the AQHA halter and performance classes. They earned 23
Superiors in the event, and amassed 4,644 points.
Coy’s foals were tagged as halter horses. They were big and pretty, known
to be kind, willing horses with plenty of natural athleticism. His foals
were always a threat to win at halter and performance events anywhere they
were shown. Coy’s Bonanza was one of the highest regarded Quarter Horse
stallions in the nation.
Coy's Bonanza Horses For Sale •
• Bonanza Horses