Ranch Horses

The Wimpy Legend

Most Quarter Horse admirers know the name Wimpy and his number, but not the whole story of this legendary Quarter Horse.

Most Quarter Horse admirers know his name and number, but not his whole story.

In 1940, a group of ranchers interested in reestablishing the Quarter Horse as a distinct breed organized the American Quarter Horse Association. To create an incentive for ranchers to show their Quarter Horses, the newly formed AQHA decided the grand champion stallion at the 1941 Southwestern Livestock Exposition, held in Fort Worth, would earn the prestigious No. 1 in the AQHA studbook.

A stallion named Wimpy would take the blue ribbon in that class, and be eternally honored in AQHA records with the number P-1. (A “P” registration number denoted horses listed under permanent registration.)

Former AQHA secretary and breed historian Robert Denhardt, ring steward at the Southwestern Expo, was a witness the day Wimpy was crowned P-1. Unfortunately Denhardt failed to report the entrants in one of the greatest shows in Quarter Horse history — or if he did, the records haven’t survived.

Most Quarter Horse admirers know the name Wimpy and his number, but not the whole story of this legendary Quarter Horse.
Photo courtesy Rex Cauble

How many stallions vied for the P-1 number? That question may never be answered. According to Texas horseman Rex Cauble, “Everybody that had one (a stallion) was there.” Cauble’s remark may be the closest account of exactly how many stallions were entered in that class.

According to Delbert Bailey of the Fort Worth Stock Show offices, floodwaters invaded the coliseum and offices in 1942.

“Unfortunately, the records were mush,” he says. The AQHA has no record of this prestigious show, but a smidgeon of this show’s records were published in Denhardt’s book, The King Ranch Quarter Horses.

As the stallion class began, Lee Underwood’s “beautiful golden palomino,” Silvertone, led the parade, Denhardt wrote. Larry Baumer’s Little Joe Jr. “followed his owner quietly.” Next, the Waggoner Ranch’s Silver Dawn “caused a great ripple of excitement, the sleek, athletic dun running sideways on his halter.” Fourth, but not last, to enter the ring was the King Ranch’s 1937 chestnut stallion Wimpy, let by Lauro Cavazos. Also known to be entered were the sorrels Red Jacket and Top Flight.

In an article from the June 1964 Quarter Horse Journal, Denhardt recorded Wimpy’s entrance into that show ring. “He seemed to float out, bounding on his pasterns in sort of a stylized fashion as he trotted slowly with his head low, just about on line with his withers. It almost looked like he was walking on eggs and didn’t want to crack any.”

The horses placed in this order: Wimpy, Silvertone, Red Jacket, Little Joe Jr., Top Flight and Silver Dawn.

Where It All Began

The Wimpy legend began in 1941, but his story starts beyond the King Ranch pasture where he was foaled on April 3, 1937. A very strong thread in this quilted equine tale was legendary Quarter Horse breeder George Clegg of Alice, Texas.

It was Clegg who bred Wimpy’s grandsire, Old Sorrel, a stallion who would become the cornerstone of the King Ranch’s equine empire. Clegg sold Old Sorrel while still a suckling to the King Ranch for $125, trailing the colt behind his dam the entire 23 miles to the King Ranch in Kingsville.

By Solis and out of Panda — both get of Old Sorrel — Wimpy was inbred about as close as one dared prod the fire. In fact, according to an article authored by A.O. Rhoad and R.J. Kleberg Jr., and published in the August 1946 Journal of Heredity, “Wimpy is as closely related to Old Sorrel as a son. Wimpy is a double grandson of Old Sorrel, 12.5% inbred to him.”

But Wimpy’s name didn’t reflect an inbred mistake. Wimpy stood 15 hands, tipping the scales at 1,200 pounds. Although exceptionally muscled with a stocky build, Wimpy was refined and balanced, midway between “bulldog” and lanky Thoroughbred.

One of Wimpy’s better sons was Showdown, a sire of 14 AQHA Champions. In this 1957 photo he was the reserve grand champion stallion at the Hereford Show in Midland, Texas. Western Horseman Archives photo.

Wimpy was a perfect example of the type of horse the new AQHA was seeking to represent their breed. After his record-making debut, Wimpy was returned to the King Ranch to do what he was bred to do — sire good Quarter Horses.

Most of Wimpy’s 174 registered get would remain on the King Ranch. But many of his offspring moved on and further distinguished their sire’s name.

Wimpy’s first son, Lauro, sired five AQHA Champions. Silver Wimpy sired three; one was the cutting phenomenon Marion’s Girl, the 1954 and 1956 NCHA world champion.

Another son, Wimpy II, sired race starters and nine AQHA Champions. Showdown sired 14 AQHA Champions. Bill Cody was a championship show horse who retired to sire 12 AQHA Champions. Wimpy’s grandson, NRHA Hall of Fame Joe Cody, earned and AQHA Championship, and sired 13 AQHA Champions, 5 world champions, and 2 NRHA Futurity winners.

Bill Cody, son of Wimpy.
Bill Cody, another good son of Wimpy and an outstanding show horse, was the 1952 AQHA Honor Roll Halter Horse. He went on to sire 12 AQHA Champions. Western Horseman Archives photo.

But by his late teens, Wimpy was slowing down and considered sterile. Bob Kleberg of the King Ranch then gave Wimpy to George Clegg.

In less than a year, Clegg’s health began to fail. When virtually bedridden, Clegg realized he had to sell Wimpy.

The Untold Story

Word got around, and W.H. Plummer, an honor Texas Ranger, asked fellow Ranger Rex Cauble, “How would you like to own Wimpy?”

Cauble’s initial reply was, “He’s too old, and he’d cost too much.” Cauble had never met George Clegg.

But Cauble went to see Clegg. “George was in bad health and they didn’t think he’d live long,” says Cauble, “and they needed the money for a funeral.”

Cauble says Clegg’s quoted price was reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, Cauble didn’t have the heart to bargain with Clegg. “It was a fair price,” says Cable.

With Cauble’s urging, the Quarter Horse Journal consented to doing an article on George Clegg.

Most Quarter Horse admirers know the name Wimpy and his number, but not the whole story of this legendary Quarter Horse.
Rex Cable was active in the horse industry, both as a breeder of fine horses and a top competitor. Here, he is receiving the 1959 Houston Amateur Cutting Horse Association Horse of the Year trophy. Western Horseman Archives photo.

But Clegg’s health was losing stride. Cauble offered the services of his place to fly Journal writer Garford Wilkinson to Clegg’s ranch for the interview.

“They wrote the story,” says Cauble, “and delivered me a precopy, which I and Mr. Plummer personally carried to George Clegg. He got to read it, but he died before the issue was put in the mail. It was wonderful, and was the only story ever written about George Clegg.”

The article, “George Clegg: Pioneer Breeder of Top Quarter Horses,” appeared in the January 1959 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal. George Clegg passed away at a hospital in Alice, TX, the evening of Jan. 10, 1959.

Wimpy and Rex Cauble

Cauble brought Wimpy to better health, and the stallion went on to sire four foals while under Cauble’s care. In 1959, Fin Wimpy Note was foaled by Speckle’s Dawn, and a sorrel filly, Wimp’s Kaye, by miss Springe. The sorrel filly, Lindo Wimpy, out of Lindo Ace, was foaled in 1960, along with a sorrel colt out of the mare Cage’s Blondie. This colt’s name and number: Wimpy’s last, P-139,515.

Wimpy died at the age of 22, knee-deep in clover. One AQHA Champion, thirteen halter point-earners, four performance ROM-earners, and one race-starter were among Wimpy’s get. The grand old stallion is buried at Cauble’s former ranch in Leon County, near Crockett, Texas. Atop a hill, a mound of carefully placed rocks forms a headstone.

Recently, the Quarter Horse Journal reported a commemorative headstone was being constructed in honor of Wimpy. Cauble says this headstone will be placed not at Wimpy’s gravesite, but in an agricultural building in wither Crockett or Centerville, Texas.

Near Wimp’s grave, the Texas soil also cradles the remains of Cauble’s other great stallions — Hard Twist, and another great son of Old Sorrel, Silver King, who died at the age of 37. (Cauble’s 1962 NCHA world champion Cutter Bill is buried on Cauble’s former ranch at Denton, Texas)

Ask any AQHA member, and they can probable tell you the name of the horse carrying the honored AQHA registration number P-1, but now all will know about the men who were instrumental in Wimpy’s long and honored life.


This article was originally published in the March 1999 issue of Western Horseman.

4 thoughts on “The Wimpy Legend”

    • Great to read about Rex, Wimby and Clegg. My dad represented Rex for many years. In addition to Wimpy Rex owned Old Sorrel in the last years of his life. Cutter Bill was the most famous but BuildiRex had some many. The old barn in Denton should be a Texas Historic Building.

      Reply
  1. Interesting note when the King Ranch sent Wimpy he was not the top stud..Mr Bob had his favorite mare stolen from the front pasture a year earlier and was reluctant for any of the best animals to leave the ranch. Mr Ceasarstold Mr Bob they needed to be represented so Mr. Bob agreed to send Wimby who at the time was not in the top 5 on Mr. Bob’s stud list. Wimpy was an almost perfect quarter horse but King Ranch stud barn was loaded
    .at the end of the 80’s I got to visit when Mr San Peppy and Little Peppy were still standing. They were the last 2. They were standing in sand. The stalls had cameras and as soon as they took a leak a groom was there to replace the soiled sand
    As most stalled horses have hoof problems later in life this was King Rach’s answer. Everywhere you looked they were thinking about everything.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Recommended