Hall of Fame - People September  23, 2018

The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Hall-of-Fame showcases the many horses and people who have earned the distinction of becoming part of Quarter Horse Racing history in Louisiana. To be part of the Hall-of-Fame, horses and people must have been outstanding over a period of years in a variety of categories. They must have brought exceptional visibility and/or contribution to Quarter Horse Racing and the State of Louisiana.

Hall-of-Fame inductees are chosen each year by a selection committee and are honored at the annual LQHBA Awards Banquet. The inaugural inductee class were announced in January 2016. On April 9, 2016, Leverne Perry and Claude and Bessie Lea Jeane, Oh Black Magic, Rocket's Magic and Royal Bushwhacker were inducted into the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association (LQHBA) inaugural Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the association.

Prominent Louisiana Quarter Horse breeders and owners, Lee Berwick and W.A. Darling were feted last year along with equine champions Vicki Meyers, Streakin La Jolla and Heisajoy.

"Our board of directors spend considerable time in selecting individuals and racing champions for the LQHBA Hall of Fame," stated Tony Patterson, LQHBA executive director. "We are looking forward to saluting John Soileau and Hemp Meyers in this year's class. Our goal is to ensure that each inductee is celebrated for the significant role they have played in Louisiana breeding and racing."

A special thank you to Martha Claussen for research and writing bios and to Speedhorse and TRACK magazines for helping track down photos of these inductees from their archives.

The inductees have each played a significant role in Louisiana Quarter Horse industry. Inductees into the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Hall-of-Fame are:

PEOPLE

  • Claude & Bessie Jeane
  • Leverne Perry
  • Lee Berwick
  • W.A. Darling

HORSES

  • Oh Black Magic
  • Rockets Magic
  • Royal Bushwhacker
  • Go Vicki Meyers
  • Hesajoy
  • Streakin La Jolla

Below are photos of each Hall of Fame member inducted in 2017. Click their photo or name in the left toolbar to read their biographical information. To view previous Hall-of-Fame member bios click on "PEOPLE" or "HORSES" in the left tool bar.

John Lionel Soileau, Sr.

Inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in 2018

John Soileau, Sr. - 2018

It would be difficult to find a Louisiana horseman who loved horses as much as John Soileau.

"We came up as a farming family and it was hard work," acknowledged Soileau's oldest son Darrel. "But on Sundays, after Church, we piled into the truck and headed to the bush tracks."

The founder of JLS Speedhorse Ranch, Inc., Soileau was the owner of 1,377 Quarter Horses and many who not only won stakes races but shone the spotlight on Louisiana breeding and racing.

Royal Bushwhacker, a son of Behold a Beduino, was one of Soileau's first stakes winners. After breaking his maiden at Delta Downs and winning the $77,315 Firecracker Futurity, he showed so much potential that he was sent to Ruidoso Downs to compete in trials for the All American Futurity.

Royal Bushwhacker and jockey Alvin "Bubba" Brossette on the back side of Ruidoso Downs racetrack.
ca. 1991, Ruidoso Downs

During his 3-year-old season he defeated world champion and three-time Champion of Champions winner Refrigerator and stakes winner and leading sire Takin On The Cash in a trial for the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs. In a blanket finish in the 1991 All American Derby final, only a head and a neck separated the top three finishers: See Me Gone, Refrigerator and Royal Bushwhacker.

Royal Bushwhacker closed out his career in 1992 with 13 wins and earnings of $290,770. He was inducted into the inaugural LQHBA Hall of Fame.

"That gray horse was really special," stated Darrel. "He put daddy where he deserved to be."

Additional stakes winners included Do It To It Reb, Get It Reb, Captain Lyles and Ms Pilot Point. Noted champions, bred by JLS Speedhorse Ranch, LLC included JLS Party Wagon, JLS Streak of Snow and JLS Book of Psalms.

AQHA Racing Champion Jls Mr Bigtime qualifying for the $1.9 million All American Futurity(G1) at Ruidoso Downs. Gay Harris / Ruidoso Downs

But without a doubt, the most prolific homebred for Soileau was JLS Mr Bigtime, the multiple-graded stakes winner who earned $1,031,037 throughout his exceptional career. He ran second in the 2010 All American Futurity (G1) and was honored as 2010 AQHA Racing Champion 2 year old gelding.

It was a special Labor Day weekend as his showing in the prestigious race garnered unprecedented attention for Louisiana Quarter Horse racing. A contingent of over 100 family members and supporters made the trip to Ruidoso Downs and rooted for JLS Mr Bigtime to become the first Louisiana-bred to win the All American Futurity.

"Daddy cried that afternoon," said Darrel. "JLS Mr Bigtime got bumped and ran second, but that's horseracing. "He was so proud of the horse and having so many family members and friends with him to share the day."

Soileau bred Shaken Thru Zoom, a Shazoom mare who produced 2014 LQHBA Breeders Futurity winner, Jls Dashn And Zoomn. Darrel Soileau recalls the naysayers doubting the mare's ability to produce a champion.

JLS Dashn And Zoomn winning the 2014 $1 million LQHA Breeders' Futurity-RG1 (now the LQHBA Louisiana Million Futurity at Evangeline Downs. Coady Photography

"Daddy never let talk like that bother him," said Darrel. "He researched mares, sometimes going back three generations. He always believed in crosses, but more importantly, in himself."

Darrel remembered arguing with his father when he purchased a club footed mare for $7,500.

"I could not believe that he wanted me to train that mare," recalled Darrel. "She never won a race, but as a broodmare produced a nice foal that won over $200,000."

Soileau received numerous awards from both the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and LQHBA.

Breeder John Soileau pictured in the winner's circle of the 2014 $1 million LQHA Breeders' Futurity-RG1 after breeding winner JLS Dashn And Zoomn.
Coady Photography

He passed away on December 9, 2017, at the age of 81, at his home in Opelousas, Louisiana, but will be well-represented at this year's Hall of Fame Ceremony. John's wife, Bernadine, sons Darrel, Glen and Johnny and daughter Stephanie and their children will be in attendance for the family patriarch's induction into the LQHBA Hall of Fame.

"We are all so proud of daddy," stated Darrel. "Louisiana racing and breeding meant so much to him. He grew up in hard times and was a Cajun with strong opinions. But he was kind to everyone and bred some really special champions."