"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 Plum Farm.

“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 champions.”

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 Legends  •  Bonanza Horses


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