Throwback: A Farewell to Honor
Remembering the legendary barrel racing sire Jet Of Honor.
by Tanya Randall, originally published in the December 2000 issue of BHN.
On Dec.1, the last Jet Of Honors will become eligible for futurity competition. These sons and daughters mark the end to a barrel racing legacy. The great stallion died at the age of 24 on Aug. 26, 1995.
Given the longevity of Jet Of Honor's breeding career, the chestnut son of the immortal Jet Deck has dominated the barrel racing industry like no other stallion. He was the complete package for a barrel horse sire. He was out of Quincy Liz, a daughter of Lightning Bar, the sire of Doc Bar, and out of a daughter of Leo.
Sure, there may be sires whose offspring have won more money, thanks to the boom in the barrel racing industry, but no other sire has had the sheer number of winners. From notable trainers like Ed and Martha Wright and Bobby Stivers to your backyard barrel racer, the offspring of Jet Of Honor has won for all of them.
At the time of this writing, Carrie Potashnick of Sikeston, Mo., won the Great Lakes Rookie of the Year riding Jets In The House, a 6-year-old mare trained by Stivers. Also, Jetta Honors Okie, 5, carried Brenna Hux, Louisburg, N.C., to ninth in the 1-D at the NBHA World Championships. Another Stivers-trained Jet Of Honor gelding, Sexy Classy Moon, 13, carried owner Van Manley, Davidsonville, Md., to 11th in the 1-D. At the North American Livestock Exposition, Frucon, owned and ridden by Karen Renshaw, won the AQHA Senior Barrels and Mr Honor Bound, a stallion owned by Ted Turner and ridden by Bobby Stivers was second, for a one-two Jet Of Honor finish.
According to AQHA records, Jet Of Honor has 1,148 total offspring and 172 are from his last foal crop in 1996. Largely in part to the Barrel Futurity Association's (BFA) decision to open their futurities to horses 5-and-under and the popularity of the Speedhorse futurities, only a handful of the 172 ran as 4-year-olds.
Several of those 4-year-olds have made their mark at the futurities this year. Jettin Honor, owned by Danny Kingins and ridden by Marne Loosenort, placed high at Speedhorse's Silver and Gold Cup futurities, earning over $20,000 in those two races alone. Honors Jazze Jet, owned by Karen Roemer and ridden by Jackie Dube, has earned over $20,000 just from the Old Fort Days Futurity and Texas Style Futurity. These two horses have won and placed at numerous other events. And, by no means, are they the only ones. Rather, they serve as fine examples of Jet Of Honor's ability.
Jo Starrett, Scottsville, Ky., has owned a number of fine Jet Of Honor offspring. Her connection with the bloodline came in 1991 when she purchased a group of four which included Sexy Classy Moon, High Six Jet, Red Jet Of Honor and Mr Boone Jet. Starrett's last Jet Of Honor is a sorrel gelding with a flaxen mane and tail named Portrait Of Honor. The 4-year-old is out of a Bugs Alive In 75 mare, Gucci Bug. And, like all of her horses, Portrait Of Honor is trained by Stivers.
Stivers has three others that call his barn home that will compete next year: Little Jons Honor is out of a Thoroughbred mare, Jonsluv, by Jontilla. Dixies Honor is out of Ginger N Wine, a granddaughter of Easy Jet. SH Cowboy Honor is also a granddaughter of Easy Jet through her dam Luva Easy Day.
He says the Jet Of Honors are easy to ride; you just have to let them work. And, Stivers has ridden a few. He recollects that he has 250 different Jet Of Honor offspring come through his barn in Scottsville, Ky., over the nearly 15 years he has been riding them.
They really want to work," he said. "They want to do it on their own. You don't have to have a lot of bridle. You just point them toward the pattern and go. They are just naturals. When we are done with them, they go on and make good rodeo horses."
Ed and Martha Wright have three Jet Of Honor offspring for next year. EMW Jetta C Leo, an Appaloosa mare, is closely related to their great Jetta C Leo. Scarlett Ohonor is a daughter of Miss Te Lou, a daughter of Mighty Te out of an Easy Jet mare. Shiney Red Sequins is out of the Oklahoma Fuel mare Fiery Fuel. The Wrights have raised all three.
"We've always been real high on Jet Deck-bred horses," Ed Wright told Barrel Horse News. "Jet Deck attracted us to him and the Leo added to it. The Lightning Bar added to it. We Like all three things, but mainly the Jet Deck. Everything we've been highly successful with was pretty close-up Jet Deck."
Wright said Jet Of Honor's mentality, coupled with his physical ability, made for good barrel horses.
"It's their mind and motion," he said. "Jet Of Honor's mind was so good, he crossed well with a lot of mares, and the colts tend to have quick, short speed. They tend to be business minded.
These statements are proof enough of the ability of the Jet Of Honors. They have excelled at all levels. They have carried young riders like the young mare Lillys Honor carries Ky Stierwalt. They win at futurities like Juke Joint Honor did for Wayne Pedigo. They run at the National Finals Rodeo like Jet A Beam did for Ember Givens Stewart.
Both Stivers and Wright agree that the 5-year-old futurities should be good for the Jet Of Honors, because some tend to be later maturing. Stivers said that most of the Jet Of Honors didn't show a lot of speed as 2-yearolds, but did as 3-year-olds, much to the dismay of race horse trainers. So, in a sense, the racing world's loss was barrel racing's gain.
Great sires like Fire Water Flit or On The Money Red will probably surpass Jet Of Honor's records, but it is in his legacy they follow.
Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for the latest in news, training tips, horse health care, event updates, and all things barrel racing!