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Peppy San Badger made his mark in the show pen and went on to have an enormous impact on the Quarter Horse breed. • QHN File photo.

From The Archives: Peppy San Badger, aka “Little Peppy”

Peppy San Badger, or “Little Peppy,” made an outstanding contribution to the Quarter Horse breed, and particularly to the Western performance disciplines.

Though his influence is heavily felt in the cutting pen, his influence is felt in other Western performance disciplines — and far beyond.

Peppy San Badger’s Performance

Bred by R H Fulton and Co, of Lubbock, Texas, Peppy San Badger was a son of Mr Peppy San and out of Sugar Badger (by Grey Badger III). Under the ownership of the famed King Ranch, he was ridden to the 1977 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Championship by the legendary Buster Welch.

Buster Welch and Peppy San Badger. • QHN File Photo.

Welch would go on to pilot the horse to the Derby Open Championship at the 1978 NCHA Summer Spectacular. He finished his career with an Equi-Stat record of $56,834, but his impact on the sport was only getting started.

Sons & Daughters

Peppy San Badger went on to sire the earners of more than $25 million, fathering influential performers such as 1991 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Little Tenina, 1995 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Peptoboonsmal and the great Paint — 1986 NCHA Super Stakes Open Champion Delta Flyer (PT)

Just a few of his many other great progeny include NCHA Horse of the Year Little Badger Dulce as well as NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion and Equi-Stat Elite $9 Million Sire Haidas Little Pep.

Though the majority of his money winners listed in the statistical database Equi-Stat won in cutting, Peppy San Badger also sired 43 money-earners in working cow horse and 55 in reining. He also is credited in Equi-Stat with siring money winners in barrel racing, western pleasure and ranch cutting.

He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2008, and also is a member of the NCHA Hall of Fame.

His sire line also is represented in today’s reining horses, most recently through NRHA Triple Crown Champion Spooks Gotta Whiz. The flashy, white-faced bay — who himself sired 2016 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion Spooky Whiz — traces back to Little Peppy through his father, AQHA World Champion Junior Reining World Champion Spooks Gotta Gun, who is by Peppy San Badger’s son, Grays Starlight.

Though Peppy San Badger is extremely well-represented in modern cutting bloodlines, many modern reining horses trace back to the great stallion. This includes NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion Spooky Whiz. • Photo by Waltenberry.

Two other NRHA Triple Crown champions, A Vintage Smoke and Not Ruf At All, both trace back to Peppy San Badger on their father and mother’s sides. Both are sons of the stallion A Sparkling Vintage, who is by Shining Spark out of Little Peppy’s daughter, Vintage Badger.

A Vintage Smoke, who won reining’s Triple Crown when he won the NRHA Derby in June, traces back to Peppy San Badger through both his sire, A Sparkling Vintage, and his dam, Lady Smoke Peppy.
• Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Broodmare Sire

As good as Peppy San Badger’s sons and daughters were in the show pen, they made an even bigger mark as sires and dams.

According to Equi-Stat, Peppy San Badger’s sons have sired the earners of more than $121 million dollars. Some of the top-siring sons include Dual Pep ($25 Million) and Peptoboonsmal ($27 million).

Three of his sons – full brothers Grays Starlight, Gallo Del Ceilo (Rooster) and Paddys Irish Whiskey (out of Doc’s Starlight x Doc Bar) together are the fathers of more than $20 million in progeny earnings.

One of Dual Pep’s sons, the late Dual Rey, sired the earners of more than $46 million and become an influential maternal influence through his daughters, many of whom have been bred to all-time leading cutting sire High Brow Cat or his many sons.

Peppy San Badger’s son, Peptoboonsmal, is an enduring influence in the bloodlines of cutters and working cow horses. • Photo by John Brasseaux.

Not to be outdone, Peptoboonsmal went on to be an influential broodmare sire in his own right — two recent examples are daughter Chers Shadow, who is the mother of Equi-Stat Elite $34 Million Sire and NCHA Futurity Open Champion Metallic Cat; and son One Time Pepto, who is an Equi-Stat Elite $17 Million Sire.

The great stallion’s daughters also made their mark. So far, they have produced the earners of more than $45 million, ensuring Peppy San Badger’s legacy will continue in the maternal lines of many great performance horses.

Lasting Legacy

Peppy San Badger’s legacy has long been carried in the blood of today’s Western performance horses, but late last year it was sculpted in stone.

During the 2019 NCHA Futurity, officials unveiled a larger-than-life-sized bronze of Welch and Peppy San Badger that will be placed at one of the entrances to Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Welch, at age 91, was on hand for the unveiling at the new Dickies Arena at the Will Rogers grounds. Fittingly, he and the great horse are depicted cutting the breed of cattle developed by the King Ranch, the Santa Gertrudis.

Buster Welch speaks during an unveiling of the statue of him and Peppy San Badger during the 2019 NCHA Futurity. • Photo by Lillian Kent.

Though Peppy San Badger’s influence on the Western performance horse world was significant, his sons and daughters also helped ranchers improve their breeding programs and his many descendants have made their impact in rodeos, horse shows and as riding horses.

All of the stallions standing for Peppy San Badger’s long-time owner, the King Ranch, have the stallion’s blood flowing through their veins.