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 M. L. McGehee ... Breeder of Legends

M. L. McGehee ... Breeder of Legends

by Andrea Laycock Mattson

Our HOOF-NOTE column on Bartender in the October 1992 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal caused Melton McGehee of Wayside, Texas, to respond with a phone call. He was the owner of Bartender, Sergeant (P-1497) and other wonderful foundation horses. Sergeant, foaled in 1927, was a full brother to Will Stead.

We had a great conversation, and believe me, I was all ears! A few days later, I received an envelope with old photos he had of these legendary horses. What a pleasure to be able to look back at these "old-timers" when we know today what greatness was to be passed down from their blood. I'm very grateful to Mr. McGehee for being so willing to share, and giving me the opportunity to learn more about his horses.

Bartender was sired by Manitobian by Chubby, and was out of Old Vaughn Mare #1503. He was a AAA sire, as well as producing 5 AQHA Champions, some Superior Reining and Barrel Racing Horses, 2 Superior Halter Horses, 5 Superior Cutting Horses and 25 Show ROMs. His get include DEE GEE (1955 AQHA High Point Reining and High Point Halter Horse), TENDER BOY (1961 AQHA High Point Calf Roping and High Point Working Cowhorse), ALLEN'S STAR (twice AQHA High Point Pole Bending Mare, LUCKY BAR (AQHA Champion, Superior Halter Horse), and SANDTENDER, tied 5th in the 1968 NCHA Futurity.

One of the treasures McGehee enclosed in that envelope is a snapshot of the Old Vaughn Mare at age 24, and an interesting note. "The old mare was stolen when she was one year old -- they made a great roping mare out of her -- she was so fast -- they decided to race her. She was never out-run. I talked to two old time jockeys that rode her. They both told me she was never out run."

Old Vaughn Mare is a name that is associated with many good horses. Her only filly, Miss Chubby (by Chubby), was the foundation of four of the 44 AQHA Supreme Champions. Miss Chubby was the grandam of both the sire and dam of Goodbye Sam, the 9th Supreme Champion who was also a Superior Cutting and Superior Halter Horse. She was the second dam of Fairbars, the 3rd Supreme Champion; the second dam of Supreme Champion Leo Maudie, and the grandam of both the sire and dam of Supreme Champion Joe Fax, a full brother to Goodbye Sam! Stories, photos and charts on these horses are included in the book my husband,  Paul Mattson,  wrote about the Supreme Champions, "The REAL American Quarter Horse: Versatile Athletes Who Proved Supreme" (now out-of-print.)

If Old Vaughn Mare had done nothing more than produce Bartender and Miss Chubby, her place in history would be assured, but they were just two of her gifts to the Quarter Horse breed. She was also the dam of Charley McCue (by Billy McCue), Billy Barnes (by Sergeant), Chester B (full brother to Miss Chubby), and Duck Hunter McCue by Reed McCue.

McGehee owned Sergeant, a foal of 1927, who was registered in 1947, a year before the horse died, according to the registration certificate which was also included in the envelope. Sergeant was an early sire whose name keeps popping up regularly in great pedigrees. He was a full brother to Will Stead, and both appeared in the backgrounds of some individuals.

The sire of Sergeant and Will Stead was Billy McCue by Jack McCue, and they were out of Silver by Chickasha Bob. Going back on the female line, we next come to Maud (the Allen Borden mare) who was a double-bred Old Billy. She was out of Old Alice, one of the fabulous Old Billy x Paisana progeny, bred back to her sire, Old Billy! (Sergeant's 4-cross pedigree chart is given in the book, "ROOTS".) If you study their pedigrees, especially the bottom lines, you can easily believe that a cross of these two stallions would be pure dynamite!


Billy McCue

1917 - 1936 sor
Br: Blain Barnes
Tulia TX

Jack McCue

Peter McCue

Dan Tucker

Nora M. (TB)



Daisy / Rail

Sorrel Alice

Chickasha Bob

Texas Chief

Marge Keith


Old Billy / Shiloh

Old Alice / Old Billy


Br: Will Stead
Tulia  TX

Dam of
Will Stead
and Sergeant

Chickasha Bob

Texas Chief

Lock's Rondo

Daisy L / Project (TB)

Mary Keith

Tom Campbell


(Allen Borden mare)

Old Billy


Ram Cat / Steel Dust

Old Alice

Old Billy / Shiloh


One such cross is a mare you've all heard of, but probably didn't realize how she was bred -- FL Lady Bug (by Sergeant out of Yeager's Lady JA by Will Stead,  Sergeant's full brother).


FL Lady Bug

AQHA #9733
1945 sorrel
Br: W. A. Yeager
Woodward OK


Billy McCue

Jack McCue

Sorrel Alice


Chickasha Bob


Yeager's Lady JA

Will Stead

Billy McCue


JA Mare


She is a Leading Dam of Race ROMs, having produced 10 from 11 starters, including TOP LADYBUG AAAT ($195,942. Champion Quarter Running Two-Year-Old Mare of 1966), LADY BUG'S MOON AAAT ($191,573. Kansas QH Fut., Ruidoso Rainbow Fut., 2nd-All American Fut, etc.; a Leading Sire whose get include CHICORY MOON SI-102, 1973 Champion Quarter Running Three-Year-Old Gelding; SHAWNE BUG SI-101 $277,022.; MR HAY BUG SI-102, $182,328.; etc.), Barnes Ladybug AAAT ($112,787.), Lady Bug Leo AAA (dam of 8 ROMs), Lady Lasan AAA (dam of 9 ROMs, including TOP BUG AAAT, $103,693. Champion Quarter Running Two Year Old Mare of 1968), etc. Yeager's Lady JA produced 18 foals, and all seven who raced received their ROM. Her foals include LADY BIRD LEO AAAT (dam of 6 ROMs from 7 starters), FL Kingbee AAA, King Bee Leo AAA, Leo's Queen Bee AAA (dam of 7 ROM, including LION CHARGE SI-104, LION QUEEN SI-103, etc.), Twayna AAA (dam of 6 ROM from 6 starters, including CASADY CASANOVA SI-96 $157,173., CARLOTTA 2 SI-97 $67,685., Easy Sage SI-94 $45,952., etc.), etc. 'Nuff said about this great daughter of Sergeant!

Melton included another photo of a beautiful filly -- the kind that anybody would be proud to have in their string today, and there's a late '30's or early '40's model pickup in the background. This is a keen-headed filly, with a typy neck and body, and the shortest cannons and lowest hocks you could hope for. She looks like an athlete.

Guess what . . . Miss Bartender (by Bartender and out of Princess Adair by Will Stead). She was bred to Claude, (a grandson of Bartender), and produced SENOR GEORGE. For the benefit of you non-cutters, he is an NCHA Hall of Famer, 1961 NCHA World Champion, AQHA Champion, Superior Cutting Horse and two-time AQHA High Point Cutting title holder. He has NCHA lifetime earnings of $61,253. This stallion, carrying a double dose of Bartender and Old Vaughn Mare, went on to be the sire of such great performers as SENOR DRIFTWOOD (1966 AQHA High Point Steer Roping Horse), SENORITA MISTY (1975 AQHA High Point Cutting Horse, etc.).

When I think of all these great achievers coming from a small group of good foundation stock, it makes my head swim! What a fantastic feeling it must be to know that, somehow, you were a part of it. Congratulations, M. L. McGehee and Sons! Horsemen far and wide benefit today because you recognized and had faith in a good horse!

Sharing stories like this is part of the reason for PEDIGREE PURSUITS. Not only do we want to pass on information, but also the thrill and excitement we feel when we receive this kind of response from others who share our love and interest in horses, their history and breeding. We all appreciate Mr. McGehee's generosity in sharing these pictures and facts. -- Paul and Andrea Mattson

Copyright (c) 2004 Andrea Laycock Mattson.  All rights reserved.  Do not reprint without written permission.

Related Articles:
Choosing A Sire -- by Ralph E. Morrison -- 
                             Sept 1947 The Cattleman
Inbreeding -- by Larry Thornton
First Down Dash -- His Foundation Females Didn't Hurt Him
Heart of the Matter ... by Marianna Haun

 McGehee page posted 4-30-2001

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