August 26, 2011
The versatile sire is best known for his barrel racing progeny.
In his first foal crop, Flit Bar sired a cutting money earner and a winner of five races. In all, the 1956 chestnut stallion sired five AQHA Champions with winners on the track, in halter and performance classes.
Bred by the legendary Bud Warren of Perry, Oklahoma, Flit Bar should have been a sprinter. By Warren’s Hall of Fame stallion Sugar Bars and out of a match-racing phenom named Flit (who was by Leo and out of a Joe Hancock mare), Flit Bar raced only three times for owner E.L. Gosselin of Edmond, Oklahoma. Known for breaking hard from the gate but being unable to sustain the speed, the disappointing stallion was sold to A.T. Ferree of Skiatook, Oklahoma. Ferree then sold Flit Bar to George Tyler for $1,750.
Rebecca Tyler Lockhart, who would be instrumental in forming the American Paint Horse Association, was married to George Tyler at the time, and he had promised her a stallion to go on her mares.
“George bought (Flit Bar), and I claimed him,” Rebecca says in Western Horseman’s “Legends 6.” Never shown, the pretty-headed stallion’s legacy had to be written by his get. Flit Bar started siring winners on the track, along with arena winners.
Then Flit Bar horses came into the hands of some prominent barrel racers.
Karen Walls bought a 4-year-old named Shadow Bar in 1966 and was fourth a year later in the intercollegiate standings while attending Tarleton State University.
“She hauled Shadow Bar to the tough West Texas Barrel Racing and Texas Barrel Racing Association events, and everyone began to notice him,” said barrel racing author and photographer Kenneth Springer.
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C.J. and Sadie Shellenberger purchased Flit Rose as a 5-year-old in 1967. The 1962 sorrel gelding had set a track record as a 2-year-old. “Elmer” carried Sadie to the TBRA top-20 before being sold to Sadie’s niece, Vickie Adams.
In 1970, Jim and Blevins Gibbs of Valley Mills, Texas, visited Lockhart to find a horse for their daughter, Jimmie, to college rodeo on. They bought two horses – a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old bay named Robin Flit Bar. Robin Flit Bar, or “Billy,” became Jimmie’s barrel racing mainstay. In 1974, they won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All-Around and the Girls Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year. In 1975, Jimmie won her first world championship on Billy in a career that saw her inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Then change came to Flit Bar’s life. The Tylers divorced, and George bought Flit Bar from Rebecca. He gave the stallion to his daughter, Robin, and she stood the stallion at Junior Hudspeth’s place in Era, Texas.
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“Flit Bar could only breed a limited number of horses as he got older,” Rebecca says, “so when people would call, (Hudspeth would) just turn them down.”
That disappointed Vickie Adams and her friend Celie Ray. Celie and Vickie had partnered on the mare Slash J Harletta and wanted to breed to Flit Bar.
“We had to get Robin to call (Hudspeth) and tell him he needed to breed their horse,” Rebecca says.
The first colt would belong to Vickie and the first filly would go to Celie. The first foal turned out to be a palomino colt that Vickie named Fire Water Flit. “Milo” went on to be a successful barrel-racing horse before siring the earners of almost $2 million, including 2000 and 2001 AQHA Women’s Professional Barrel Racing Association Horse of the Year Firewater Fiesta.
Fire Water Flit died in December 2005.
He’s just one of the great ones who owed his success to Flit Bar.