Hall of Fame - Horses May  26, 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.

HEMP MEYERS

Inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in 2018

Hemp Myers inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Last year, William Albert Darling was inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame. "W.A." was honored for his legacy as a Louisiana Quarter Horse breeder and owner. An active LQHBA board member, Darling served as president in 1984 and 1990.

This year, one of Darling's superior horses, Hemp Meyers, will join John Soileau in the LQHBA Hall of Fame. The son of Hempen (TB) out of the Mr Meyers mare Miss Fancy Meyers, was foaled on February 1, 1978. He made his racing debut in 1980 at Delta Downs and won four of his 13 starts. Stakes-placed in the Old South Futurity and Firecracker Derby, wrapping up his racing career on October 11, 1981 with earnings of $58,889.

"Some horses just seem to steal your heart and my dad really loved his mare, Miss Fancy Meyers," said Karen Darling Falgoust. "Hemp Meyers was her first foal and dad adored him. He spent a lot of time with him and they had a very special relationship."

Hemp Meyers qualifying for the Old South Futurity at Delta Downs. ca. 1980 / Courtesy Speedhorse Magazine

Hemp Meyers made a successful transition to the breeding shed, siring 273 performing foals that earned $2,949,349. His most successful sons included Horseplayers Hemp, with a 105 speed index who earned $200,387, with a stakes record of five wins, five seconds and five thirds. Candy Man Hemp earned $189,180 with a record that included two stakes wins. Hog Heaven and Plunder Bayou were also stakes winners whose earnings exceeded the $100,000 mark.

Louisiana horseman Glenn Fontenot had a steadfast friendship with W. A. Darling which grew deeper when they agreed to a partnership on the breeding of Hemp Meyers.

"I saw W.A. at the races at Delta; he told me he had heard that I had lost my stallion," recalled Fontenot. "He offered me a share of a horse he was considering sending to stud, but I told him that the stallion I wanted was Hemp Meyers."

Fontenot cited Hempen as a stallion and Miss Fancy Meyers as a good mare. But he also saw talent in Hemp Meyers as a runner.

A stallion ad on Hemp Myers. ca. 1985

"He broke his maiden in trials for the All American Futurity," said Fontenot. "I liked that about him!"

The two men embarked upon a 50-50 partnership and Hemp Meyers stood stud on Fontenot's farm in Ville Platte. In his first year, 128 mares were bred to Hemp Meyers with an impressive 118 in foal.

"He was a natural and the easiest stallion I ever collected," said Fontenot.

In 1982, Fontenot bred his mare Johnnie's Flash to Hemp Meyers. A strapping filly was born at around 2:00 am on February 27, 1983. He remembers that W. A. stopped by the next morning, took one look at the filly and thought she was two weeks old. That filly was Flashy Hemp, who went on to win 12 of her 20 starts, earning $283,632. The Flashy Hemp Stakes at Delta Downs is run in April, named in honor of the champion mare.

Fontenot told Darling that Hemp Meyers was no longer producing semen when he turned 30. Darling simply responded by asking that the prolific stallion did not suffer. He died at 31, but Fontenot had a difficult time telling W.A. that Hemp Meyers had passed.

"W. A. and I were very close," stated Fontenot. "I waited about a month before I broke the news."

W.A. Darling died at the age of 90 in 2011. He was inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame last year. His daughter Karen carries on the racing and breeding business as manager of Darling Farms, LLC, the family's 5.26-acre property in Opelousas.

"Hemp Meyers was almost like the first grandchild for my dad," added Falgoust. "He was crazy about that horse!"