By definition, one chosen for any Hall of Fame should have achieved lasting greatness within their chosen field.
They should have had dedication to their activity that would leave a lasting impression on others’ lives as the
result of their work. For over forty years, Guy Ray Rutland was proud of his accomplishments as a breeder of
American Quarter Horses and the influence that he had on the nation’s horse industry. Now it’s time for the
Association to honor his greatness by inducting him into the AQHA Hall of Fame.
For those that were not fortunate enough to ever meet Guy Ray, they need only look at the Leading Breeders lists
from the mid-1960’s to the mid-1980’s compiled by the AQHA to realize the influence and magnitude that he
represented. For many years, he was one of the, if not THE, Leading Breeder of Races Won, Leading Breeder of
Race ROM Qualifiers, Leading Breeder of Money Earners…and more, of the American Quarter Horse
Association, while at the same time on the Leading Breeders list for Halter and Performance Class Winners,
Show ROM and AQHA Champions. Most everyone who owned, raised or bred an American Quarter Horse thru
those years had at least read or heard of Guy Ray Rutland and his horses.
Yet, the irony of his greatness goes well beyond what the numbers and Leading Breeders lists reflect. Simply
put…he was a horseman. He had an eye for what a good quarter horse was supposed to look like. He
understood the reasons for proper conformation on the athletic horse and was very determined to keep
unsoundness out of his breeding program. He knew bloodlines and was more than happy to visit horses with
anyone at any time of day or night. Very few realized the personal sacrifices that he made to insure his horses
were well taken care of. He was proud of his horses.
For anyone that had met Guy Ray, it was an acquaintance never to be forgotten. The “old timers” of the quarter
horse industry still reflect on his amazing understanding and knowledge of horses. His humor, mixed with his
straightforward intuition of any situation having to do with a horse, made him the target of many phone calls
throughout the day and night. People appreciated Guy Ray Rutland. The honor and respect that has been shown
toward him from his customers, both before and since his death, leave little doubt that he deserves the highest
recognition possible from the AQHA.
For 26 years the Guy Ray Rutland Production Sale was held (most of which were at his ranch in his mare barn
that was literally bigger than a football field) offering at auction his entire foal crop, ranging from 117 to almost 200
head. Dean Parker, who auctioneered many of the sales, once commented that he felt Guy Ray was the only man
in the country that could make such an auction work, selling so many baby colts just weaned from their mothers.
People found that to become a customer of Guy Ray’s was to become his friend. It was not uncommon for
someone unable to attend the auction to allow him to pick out a foal that he thought would suit their needs and
buy it for them. The success people would have with their purchases and the manner in which he treated his
friends was evident in the repeat customers he would have.
Guy Ray Rutland devoted his life to horses. His wealth was his horses and the friends who bought them. He had
no outside source of income to support his operation. He built what he had and made his entire living in the horse
business, and that alone. The dollars seemed unimportant to him other than a means to pay for the feed and hay
for his horses.
Lasting greatness…should it be measured in statistical numbers? Should it be measured in knowledge? Should it
be measured in friends one has helped in the industry? Should it be measured in one’s love and dedication to the
horse? Should it be measured in respect gained from one’s peers? Or can greatness really be measured?
No matter the consideration, there is little doubt that Guy Ray Rutland achieved lasting greatness in the quarter
|Guy Ray Rutland ~ AQHA Hall of Fame Candidate
|Jeff Rutland ~ 1047 East College Avenue ~ Independence, KS 67301 ~ 620-331-2485 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org