LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen September  21, 2017

LEVERNE PERRY
A LOUISIANA LEGEND BELOVED BY ALL

Leverne Perry passed away on Easter Sunday, a devastating loss for his family and the racing and breeding industry. We wanted to devote this month's "Insider" to Leverne as he touched the lives of so many and left a lasting legacy.

Leverne Perry, a legend in Alexandria. passed away Easter Sunday. Leverne was born in Sieper, La. January 4, 1932. Leverne contributed much to this community throughout his lifetime. As an accomplished cowboy he traveled the south and even competed in Madison Square Garden in New York. Many remember Leverne as host of the children's show "Leverne Perry and the Little Wranglers" which ran from 1960-1966. He had a heart for children, especially those with special needs, He organized the "Horses and Handicaps Program " volunteering many hours to help give joy to others through his love of horses. He also was involved in fund raising for St. Mary's.

Leverne was the owner of Leverne Perry Shoes. He also served as President of the Police Jury in the 1970's. He was President of Amicus Club Rodeo Association.

He became Executive Director of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association in 1987. He played an instrumental role in the expansion of gaming at racetracks in the state and leading the development of the strongest quarter horse state bred program in the nation. He also was one of the masterminds of the LQHBA Youth Scholarship program. His many awards include: La Rodeo Hall of Fame, AQHA Gordon Crone Special Achievement award, LQHBA lifetime Achievement Award, and on April 9, will be inducted into the inaugural LQHBA Hall of Fame.

He was preceded by his parents Jesse and Goretha Perry. He is survived by five daughters, Sonny and Karen Rush, Julie and Dana Normand, Javier and Jill Gutierrez, Larry and Leigh Lepinski, Heath and Amy Grimes, twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

His memorial service took place on Tuesday, March 29. The posting of his passing on the LQHBA Facebook page was shared and viewed by over 30,000. So many people in the racing community and generations of friends of the Perry family posted heartfelt messages. Here are a few that truly touched on the lasting impact of Leverne Perry.

Kenneth Roberts, Sr.
"When I first came to Louisiana (from Texas), Leverne was one of the first to send me a horse. He told several owners about me and was a great guy and family man. Making a living in our industry is tough, but no one fought harder than Leverne. He was so good at working with the politicians and kept fighting to make the Louisiana-bred program as good as it is. Leverne Perry inspired me and will be deeply missed."

Jimmie Hatcher
"My family had a long association with Leverne and respected him very much. He was a true "people person" and got along with everybody. His work with the legislators helped Louisiana greatly. There wasn't a politician he didn't know, and they knew him on a first name basis. He fought hard for Louisiana, and would not take no for an answer. I attended sales with him at Ruidoso and California; everyone knew him there as well. Leverne was truly a good guy."

Beccy Belgard
"Such a wonderful man. Always smiling. Always kind. He'll be greatly missed!"

Richard Dale Domingue
"Without his hard work in establishing breeders awards, smaller operations would never have made it. He made it possible and was a great man."

Brenda Broussard
"He was a strong leader for the LQHA. His contribution to this organization has helped so many horsemen. The LQHA is what it is today because of his dedication and determination. He was a firm believer in the La Breeders Program. He built this organization day by day. Horse racing in La survived because of his strong belief of the best horse breeders where from La. The best stallions were born and raised in La. He strived to make the best program work for the best horseman here in La. Thanks to Mr Perry for all your hard work and dedication, it was greatly appreciated. May you rest in peace."

Lawrence Babineaux
"His contribution to the Breed will be felt for generations. A great horseman and gentleman. Thank you Mr. Perry!"

Jayne Norris Segura
"I was fortunate enough to witness the tireless effort that Leverne gave, 24/7, to fight for the promotion and improvement of horse racing in Louisiana. I always told him he was the guru of horse racing and I was always taken aback every time at the racetrack, he was surrounded by people wanting to know what was the latest information concerning racing legislation or whatever. You could have heard a pin drop, just to hear him talk. I am very proud to have been involved in his life and appreciative of everything he taught me. He is a true legend and will be missed by many."

Tony Patterson who followed Leverne Perry as executive director of LQHBA, spent over six years working beside the Louisiana legend. He remembers his first few months in Alexandria.

"Leverne took me around the city and personally introduced me to all his contacts," recalled Patterson. "It was amazing how many people he knew and how each of them had such respect for him."

Patterson acknowledges that one of Perry's greatest contributions involved his work with the Louisiana legislature to ensure the prosperity of the state's Quarter Horse breeding and racing.

"Leverne was respected and revered by so many," added Patterson. "His success in breeding and racing set a very high standard, as did his tireless efforts in working with legislators to expand gaming at racetracks. His passing was a tremendous loss, but his legacy will live on forever."

LQHBA Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet

In addition to Leverne Perry, prominent Louisiana Quarter Horse breeders and owners Claude and Bessie Lea Jeane will be inducted into the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association (LQHBA) Hall of Fame. Oh Black Magic, Rocket's Magic and Royal Bushwhacker have also been announced in the inaugural class, as LQHBA proudly celebrates its 50th anniversary of service to the Louisiana Quarter Horse industry. The ceremony, in conjunction with the annual LQHBA Membership Meeting & Awards Banquet, will take place on Saturday, April 9 at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

LQHBA president Shawn Magee and the board of directors felt that holding the event in south/central Louisiana would appeal to a larger audience. Also, setting the date between live race meets was important so horsemen could enjoy a rare night off.

It will be a very memorable evening as each of the inductees have played a significant role in Louisiana Quarter Horse industry.

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.