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Golden Spur Award Honors Paint Horse Association Founder

Rebecca Tyler Lockhart of Ryan, Okla., will receive the 26th annual National Golden Spur Award for her visionary work in establishing the American Paint Horse Association.
The award will be presented during a dinner, beginning with a 6 p.m reception and silent auction, on Sept. 20, at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, 1501 Sixth St. The Ranching Heritage Association hosts the event.

Rebecca Lockhart of Ryan, Okla., will receive the 26th annual National Golden Spur Award from the Ranching Heritage Association. She is pictured here with one of her Paint Horses, Dusty Siemon.

Entertainment will be provided by recording artists Waddie Mitchell and Don Edwards. The two have performed as "The Bard and the Balladeer" on concert stages throughout the nation and with such orchestras as the Lubbock and Fort Worth symphonies.

Lockhart was selected for the 2003 Golden Spur Award in recognition of her work to create, maintain and promote what was originally called the American Paint Stock Horse Association. It was under her guidance that the organization founders set the high breed standards for the Paint Horse.

"Looking back, what makes me happiest is seeing the APHA grow, seeing good horses, and seeing children and whole families enjoying them," Lockhart said. "I've just loved seeing the pleasure horses give to people and all the children who have gotten involved.
"The Paints were such underdogs," she added. "I felt compelled to rescue them. It was as if I was driven to do it. Once I got my friends involved by telling them it would work, I had to see that it did. It was one of those cases where 'He who rides the tiger cannot dismount.'"

In the early 1960s, she spoke up against the prevailing establishment and advocated the start-up of a Paint, stock-type horse registry, helping set the standard for Paint Horse conformation, athletic ability, performance, intelligence, temperament and disposition.

Lockhart became impassioned about Paint Horses at an early age, seeing what she considered a continuing trend of discrimination against Paints because of their distinguished color patterns.

"People looked down on Paints," she explained. "They were thought of as inferior horses. If a breeder (of solid-colored horses) had a Paint foal, usually he was ashamed. Many thought it was a bad reflection on their herd and their breeding program; that it was connected with inferior blood."
She said Paints would often be relegated to the back pastures, or in some cases, destroyed.

Lockhart got together with ranchers who shared her concerns, one of them being Junior Robertson of Waurika, Okla. He was one of the few ranchers in the country at that time who actually admired and owned Paints, she said. One of his horses, the sorrel Paint, Wahoo King, set the standard for top competition horses in the 1960s.
With Robertson and other top ranchers, Lockhart met on Feb. 16, 1962, in Gainesville, Texas, to lay the foundation for the new organization. A constitution and bylaws were developed, officers and directors were elected, and a name was chosen-American Paint Stock Horse Association.

By the end of its first year in 1962, with 150 members, the organization had registered 250 horses. Following a merger in 1965 with the American Paint Quarter Horse Association, the group became the APHA. To date, 720,000 American Paint Horses in 43 nations have been registered. Membership in APHA has grown to 104,000 people.
Another of Lockhart's goals was to get youth involved in the horse industry. More than 40 years ago and before her work with Paint Horses, she founded the Red River Quarter Horse Association for Youth. The organization drew in hundreds of youngsters from a 90-mile radius of Ardmore, Okla.

The APHA shares in that high ideal of youth involvement with some 6,000 youngsters actively participating in the American Junior Paint Horse Association. A week of youth activities and classes are held during the World Championship Paint Horse Show in Fort Worth each year.

Lockhart's own interest in showing, breeding and raising outstanding horses started at an early age. She bred and raised champion Paints, Quarter Horses and Appaloosas. She raised two rodeo superstars and owned two stallions, Flit Bar and Leo San Siemon. In 1967 she won National Champion Halter Mare with her horse Linda Siemon.
At age 76, Lockhart still maintains her passion for the American Paint Horse and continues working on its behalf. "It is so enjoyable," she said, "and when you love what you're doing, it's not work, it's fun."

For her lifetime of dedication to her goals, Lockhart was inducted in 2000 into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.
"This magnificent breed and the APHA organization are forever indebted to this remarkable woman," said Jerry Circelli, director of Public Relations and Communications for the APHA. "By her strength of conviction and example, she has given all of us at APHA the catalyst we need to carry on her work."

The National Golden Spur Award is a joint recognition by some of the industry's leading organizations, among them the American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas CattleWomen, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Host organization, the Ranching Heritage Association, is a support arm of the National Ranching Heritage Center, a museum and historical park in Lubbock, Texas, established to preserve the history of ranching, pioneer life and the development of the livestock industry in North America.
More than 36 authentic furnished ranch buildings and structures have been relocated to the NRHC from ranches throughout the state and restored to show the evolution of ranch life from the late 1700s through the early 1900s.

Golden Spur Weekend events planned by the Ranching Heritage Association include dedication of the J.J. Gibson Memorial Park and presentation of the Boss of the Plains Award to Anne W. Marion on Friday evening, Sept. 19. The park will feature 14 life-size bronze steer sculptures, placed in a natural setting with accent lighting, benches and a walking path. Gibson Park is located in the front lawn of the National Ranching Heritage Center on Fourth Street in Lubbock.
The Ranching Heritage Association's annual membership and board meetings and a noon lunch in the 6666 Barn occurs on Saturday, Sept. 20. Tickets for the Golden Spur Award dinner are $50 each and $15 for the 6666 lunch. Reservations may be made by calling Whitney King at (806) 742-2498.

Golden Spur Weekend

Friday evening, Sept. 19
o Dedication of J.J. Gibson Memorial Park and presentation of the Boss of the Plains Award, followed by a reception. The park will feature 14 life-size bronze steer sculptures, placed in a natural setting with accent lighting, benches and a walking path. Gibson Park is located on Fourth Street in Lubbock, in the front lawn area of the National Ranching Heritage Center.

Saturday, Sept. 20
o General Membership and Board of Overseers Annual Meeting
9:30-11:30 a.m. A light breakfast buffet precedes a business update, board elections and an A/V presentation. Pioneer Room.
o Noon Lunch in the 6666 Barn
Western movie and television film actor Buck Taylor (as yet unconfirmed) appears onstage in the 6666 Barn, located in the historical site. Lunch and entertainment $15 per person. Open to the public with reservation. Call Whitney King, (806) 742-2498.
o RHA Executive Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m., Executive Director's Office
o National Advisory Board Meeting
3-4:30 p.m., Pioneer Room
o Golden Spur Award Silent Auction and Reception
6-7 p.m. Cash bar and large silent auction. Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
o Golden Spur Award Dinner
7 p.m. Honoring Rebecca Tyler Lockhart as the 26th recipient of the National Golden Spur Award. Ranches Roll-Call and entertainment by Don Edwards and Waddie Mitchell, "The Bard and the Balladeer.",



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