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2 million spectators to see beautiful Paints in action

American Paint Horses proudly bear the colors for Six Flags Over Texas in 2002

FORT WORTH, Texas-American Paint Horses are bearing the six flags that have flown over Texas during the past 500 years as part of an exciting new outreach program undertaken by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA).

American Paint Horses made their debut at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, recently as part of the theme park's "Rangers and Outlaws" show. The American Paint Horse Association is sponsoring the exciting performance, which is a salute to the Texas Rangers. (APHA photo by Darrell Dodds)

For two months, from June 8 through August 11, APHA is supplying nine highly talented Paint Horses to the Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington, Texas. The horses are part of the thrill-packed "Rangers and Outlaws" Wild West Show, sponsored by APHA. The 20-minute adventure brings to life a true story of how the Texas Rangers fought outlaws and brought justice to the silver-mining town of Shafter, Texas, in 1892.

The show runs four times each day for 65 straight days and about 2 million visitors to the park during that time will have the opportunity to see the adventure. It is estimated that about half of those spectators will be under the age of 18.

"One of our primary missions is to promote the outstanding qualities of Paint Horses and to try to familiarize as many people as possible with the breed," said Jim Kelley, APHA's executive secretary. "In many cases, we just want people to know what defines an American Paint Horse. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the breed to a young audience. Through the American Paint Horse Association's 'Rangers and Outlaws' show, we're able to introduce our breed to millions of people in a fun and entertaining environment. We were thrilled when Six Flags asked us to be part of the show."

American Paint Horses ride in precision drill-team formation as they carry the six flags that have flown over Texas as part of a two-month performance expected to be seen by nearly 2 million people this summer. (APHA photo by Darrell Dodds)

Marian Buehler, director of human resources and administration for Six Flags Over Texas, and a longtime horse breeder, sought out APHA's help in finding the horses.

"We wanted traditional Western stock horses -- ones with excellent conformation and athletic ability," said Buehler. "Of course, we also needed them to be even-tempered, intelligent and trainable. And, we wanted horses that were really attractive. Having been involved with horses for 30 years, I know that American Paint Horses have all those qualities.

"These Paint Horses have stolen the show."

As part of the APHA-sponsored "Rangers and Outlaws" performance, American Paint Horses charge out into an arena and gallop full speed in precision drill-team formation as riders in Texas Ranger attire carry giant replicas of the six flags that have flown over Texas. The flags include those of Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, the Confederacy and the United States of America.

Throughout the performance, lawmen and outlaws alike ride Paint Horses. The show is filled with non-stop action, including gunfights, stunts, a daring escape from a blazing hotel, and even a giant water tower explosion and silver mine calamity at the finale. Ten actors, whose specializations also include stunts and horsemanship, are part of the show, according to Robert Keith, the show's director and stunt coordinator.

As a special feature of the "Rangers and Outlaws" show, members of the audience are invited to leave their seats after the performance to talk with the actors and get a close-up view of the horses. This "meet and greet" event is popular, especially with the younger members in attendance. The actors, who have developed a close bond with the horses, field numerous questions, many of which center around the beautiful American Paint Horses.

The APHA "Rangers and Outlaws" show is part of Six Flags' Best of Texas Festival - a 65-day summer-long event dedicated to highlighting the Lone Star State's history, animals, lifestyles, music, cuisine and other special attractions.

Among the entertainers at the Best of Texas Festival are the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and the Apache Belles, a world-famous precision dance and drill team from Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. The renowned Light Crust Doughboys, who have been playing popular Texas swing for seven decades, will be a featured act twice daily.

In addition to Texas-style entertainment, Lone Star cuisine is a big part of the Best of Texas Festival. Chicken-fried steaks and big burgers are part of the food fare. The world's largest fruitcake, whipped up in a stainless-steel cement mixer, will also be on display.

"This year, we decided to go all out with the biggest and the best of everything's that great about Texas," said Steve Calloway, vice president and general manager of Six Flags Over Texas. "And that's why we wanted Paint Horses here, too."

APHA paints the town
This is the second time in the past two years that APHA has answered the call to showcase the breed in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, which has a growing population of more than 5 million people.

In spring 2001, when officials at the Fort Worth Zoo needed a horse to take up residence in their innovative $40 million "Texas Wild!" exhibit, they turned to APHA for help. They asked the Fort Worth-based association if it could come up with a horse that would serve as an icon of the West, and Texas in particular.

The association did just that, finding a beautiful American Paint Horse named Ollie Oops, who was born and bred in the Lone Star State.

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people visited "Ollie" at the zoo last year, and read zoo placards describing American Paint Horses. Millions more will see the easy-going, loud-colored gelding in the years ahead.

"We're a family-oriented organization," said Kelley. "Our commitment to donating a beautiful Paint to the Fort Worth Zoo and finding beautiful performance horses for Six Flags is just one way we're reaching out to families. We want families to realize that this breed has a lot to offer.

"When we put beautiful Paint Horses out there before the public, the attributes of this breed are easy to see," Kelley added.

"The Paint is a great horse for children and parents alike. Whether you're just learning to ride, or want to compete at the highest level, an American Paint Horse can take you there.

"That's the message we're trying to get across."

More about APHA
Since its founding 40 years ago, APHA has registered more than 660,000 horses. Currently, American Paint Horses are being registered at APHA's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters at a rate of about 57,000 horses each year. The association serves nearly 100,000 members, who are located in every U.S. state, throughout Canada and in 34 other nations around the world.

APHA employs 160 people and has an annual operating budget of $15 million for activities worldwide.

Among the many qualities that make Paint Horses desirable are their sound conformation, versatile athletic ability, intelligence, calm temperament, willing disposition and beautiful coat color patterns.

For more information about the American Paint Horse and APHA, visit, or call (817) 834-2742, extension 788.

More about Six Flags
Six Flags Inc. is the world's largest regional theme park company. The company owns and operates 38 parks throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Six Flags theme parks serve 40 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

The parks annually host more than 50 million guests worldwide. For more information, visit the Six Flags Web site at



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