Bogie Black, the Untold Story, by Rickey Morales

Bogie Black AQHA #283853 (spring 1963 – June 1, 1989)

Often times we take for granted the things we have readily available at the time in life. But the truth of the matter is, nothing lasts forever. It is after it is gone that we begin to see the significance of what we once had and how much we neglected it or simply just did not realize exactly what we had on our hands. Truth can be said of one particular black quarter horse whom we have come to love…

One day in 1950, a cattle rancher from Throckmorton, TX named G.D. “Nig” London was visiting with S. B. Middlebrook at his ranch in Vernon, TX. Nig was bragging about what good colts he had. Mr. Middlebrook told Dad, "I'm glad you like them so much because I am going to give a filly to your daughter Georgia. Nig was not in the horse business and knew that Nig would have to take the filly if it was a gift for his daughter Georgia. Georgia broke and rode that filly she called Ginger every day. AQHA registered this filly London Ginger with AQHA # 0075745. Ginger was used at the ranch to ride the pastures, rope, work and cut cattle.

Nig London remembers London Ginger, “We started riding her when she was a two-year-old. The main thing I liked about Ginger was she would trot about seven to ten miles an hour. The other cowboys would have to long trot or lope to keep up. They sure did hate to see me catch her when we were going to the back side of a big pasture. You could jump a cross-bred Brahma cow on her and that mare would trot along beside the cow until she trotted her down, and a cross-bred Brahma cow is the hardest thing I know to trot down. Ginger was both a roping horse and a cutting horse. We rode her until she was seven years old, then Georgia and I decided we would breed her.”

London Ginger was by Mike Norfleet Jr. out of a Dan Waggoner mare. She traced back to Barney Owens on top who sire Dan Tucker, who in turn sired Peter McCue and on down. She also carried Yellow Wolf blood on the top and bottom who traced back to Steel Dust and Shiloh. Her dam side goes back to Dan Waggoner who traces back to Lone Star, Yellow Jacket, Peter McCue and Old Joe Bailey.

King County Joe AQHA #2303 (photo credit: AQHA Hall of Fame)

In 1962 Nig bred Ginger and recalls the occasion of his first sight of Bogie Black in his book Through the Years; a Collection of Cowboy Stories, in pages 114-145. “... I took London Ginger up to Allen Reed and bred her to a Hancock horse named King County Joe. She had a little black horse colt in the spring out on Boggy Creek. The first time I ever saw him, he was the muddiest little dickens I had ever seen. So I said we should call him Boggy. We raised a lot of horses out of Boggy. I leased Boggy and a bunch of mares to Slim Williamson and James Hardin in Louisiana. They raised, trained and sold a lot of good horses.”

Nig owned G.D. London Cattle Co. which was headquartered in Throckmorton County. It was here where one of Nig's ranch hands, Kocker, broke Bogie when he was coming two year old. Kocker rode Bogie for a year. Renowned cutting horse trainer Jack Ray rode him for the next year and a half working cattle on Bogie Black. According to long life friend and working partner Jacky Watkins from Throckmorton, TX, Jack Ray was heard to have said that, “there wouldn’t have been no Doc Bar if Nig would have let him show Bogie Black. Bogie had more style, class, natural talent and worked cattle with ridiculous ease and determination.” Billy Jack Whitten of Benjamin, TX picked up where Jack Ray left off and rode Bogie for the next four years. Jack Whitten remembers Bogie, “He was an outstanding horse. You could do anything on him. I used to rope bulls off of him. He was very reliable.”

Nig kept a set of mares on Bogie to breed back and keep horses for ranch work. Most of the stud colts were gelded and used in the day to day ranch operation. Nig was also partners in the Muleshoe Cattle Company headquartered in Jolly, TX. At one time he kept Bogie with a band of mares on this 120 thousand acre cattle outfit. Nig was the manger of all cattle operations until the partnership dissolved.

Mike Slover of Paduca, TX broke many Bogie Black colts for Nig and others. He recalls these horses as "good minded and horses that carried you real good".

During this time, Carroll "Slim" Williamson of Campti, LA would come to Throckmorton and buy yearling fillies from Nig. Carroll would then train and sell these horses for cutting and using horses. It was at one of these visits when he saw (and rode) Bogie Black cutting cattle while doing ranch work. Carroll was taken by the natural cow ability and ease that Bogie Black had to work cattle. By 1977, Nig had put together a band of Bogie Black mares and was needing an outcross stud for these mare. It was then that he leased Bogie to Carroll Williamson. Carroll took Bogie Black to Campti, LA and started a breeding program around Bogie Black raising cutting and using horses.

J.W. Vercher, son-in-law to Carroll describes Bogie, “He was 14 hands or so, typical quarter horse. His colts had tremendous speed and very agile.”

Carroll Williamson was a friend and mentor to Bobby Jack Varner of Louisiana. Carroll helped and taught Bobby Jack the ins and outs of cutting horses.

Bobby Jack Varner remembers them, “Bogies colts were very durable horses with a lot of longevity. The geldings were sometimes slow to mature but once they got over that they would turn out really good horses. The fillies usually would pick it up right away and easy to train. Them were good horses.”

That partnership continued until Carroll had a stroke in 1980.

After that James Hardin of Louisiana leased Bogie and a few mares for several years. James was trying to breed halter horses that could cut cattle. Bogie was 18 yrs old when James first leased him in August of 1981 and kept him until July of 1983. By then Bogie was 20 years old. James remembers, “Even at this age Bogie still had that cow ingrained in him. When Bogie would come to a cow, he would drop his head about four inches and his demeanor would change. Bogie had a perfect set of legs and a nice long thin neck. He was six inches between his ears and about 10 inches between his eyes. He was a good looking horse. He had a long flat footed walk and never would bring his head up.”

James raised a lot of good horses.

In the winter of 1983, Nig took Bogie back to Throckmorton and turned him out with a set of mares. Bogie Black lived to be 25 years old and died on June 1, 1989.

Bogie Black produced 261 registered horses of which 16 have performance records. His get totaled 87.5 AQHA points and $1819 NCHA earnings. Most of his get were used as ranch horses because of their ability to work cattle and how quickly they would learn.

Bobby Jack Varner continued to breed, use & show Bogie Black horses after Carroll Williamson had the stroke in 1980. In fact, Bobby Jack bred and trained many Bogie get and grand get over the years. He bought a Bogie Black mare named Black Widow Gal whom he trained and later bred. She produced five foals which won $4,808 in NCHA earnings and 3 performance points including an Incentive Fund Foal mare.

Bogies Bandjoe was another Bogie Black horse trained and ridden by Bobby Jack Varner. The bay gelding was used in High School Rodeo qualifying his owner to State Finals. He also earned NCHA money.

Bogies Bandjoe was also shown in AQHA earning points in all divisions including a 1984 AQHA 7th place Youth World Show Cutting.

Another good Bogie mare was a 1968 black mare named Fair Freckles. Those who knew her said she was an outstanding mare with tremendous speed. Matlock Rose offered to buy her at one time. She was shown with earnings of $801 in NCHA dollars, 8 AQHA Open Performance Points and 3 Youth Performance Points.

Fair Freckles produced a total of nine foals whose get earned a total of 103.5 AQHA Points in all divisions; $547 of AQHA World Championship show earned; and over $50,500 of NCHA money earned.' Her get included a 1981 brown stallion named Freckles Peponita, by Peponita.

Bobby Jack Varner on Freckles Peponita, AQHA #542229,
at the 1998 NCHA National Championships (photo credit: Bobby Varner)

Bobby Jack Varner bred, trained and showed Freckles Peponita with much success earning $40,296 in NCHA dollars and six AQHA Open Performance Points.

Bobby Jack Varner on Hombrito, AQHA #2415972 in 1989 (photo credit: Bobby Varner)

Then came Hombrito in 1985. This red gelding out of Fair Freckles by Bonitas Little Man gathered a total of 98 AQHA Points, World Championship Show earnings, ROM in Amateur and Open Team Penning, World Show Qualifications 1995 thru 1997 as well as a 10th place in Amateur Team Penning in 1995, including over $10,000 in NCHA money earned.

Tina Varner on Shuffles Brother AQHA #1516460 (photo credit Harold Campton)

Shuffles Brother is another great performing Bogie horse. This 1979 sorrel gelding was trained and shown by Bobby Jack Varner. Today at 29 years young he is still being used to turn back cattle. His current owner, Cecil Gates of Shreveport, LA shows him in non-pro and amateur cutting. Shuffles Brother has won points in Open Show as well as earned winnings of $713 in NCHA money.

Bogies Beauty a 1987 sorrel mare won points in Open as well as Amateur AQHA Shows. She earned her ROM in Amateur in 1997; ROM Open in 1998; Qualified for the Open and Amateur Team Penning World Show in 1998 and 1999. She has 24 open performance points and 31.5 amateur performance points. At the time of this writing she is 21 yrs old and is still going strong, being used in team penning. Her current owners say she is a joy to ride, good with kids and very fast.

© 2011 article researched & written by Rickey Morales,
Lazy M Quarter Horses, Eagle Pass TX, all rights reserved

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