Every year, the Calgary Stampede in Alberta crowns its champions one by one, in several different divisions and disciplines. The pro-rodeo events ultimately get a tremendous boost with local press and world-wide television coverage. What much of the world does not get to see in the comfort of their living rooms are the events that create much of the backbone to the hectic July event, such as the judged horse and livestock divisions.

If you attended the 2001 Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Division classes this year, you would have heard names announced that included the word "Lucas". For example, "Lucasia Ribbon" who was the Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Overall Reserve Champion in Mares or Geldings and then Champion Percheron Jr. Mare.

If prior to the Stampede you attended the Alberta Horse Improvement Program in early July 2001 to watch the Percheron judging, you would have heard announced that both "Lucasia Ribbon" and "Lucasia Miracle" earned their 2 year old Championships in this very stringent division, earning their "Classic" status by way of a points system. At the same event, both Get of Sire and Produce of Dam categories were awarded to a single breeder from southern Alberta. If you are wondering what all of this Percheron success has to do with the Appaloosa horse, I'll give you a hint. These outstanding heavy horses are owned by Appaloosa notable, Bill Lucas of High River, Alberta, a prominent figure in the history of the ApHCC for several years.

Originally from Vulcan, Alberta, Bill and his wife Opal relocated to and set up Lucasia Ranch in the Porcupine Hills located just on the outskirts of Claresholm. Spanning a vast 4000 acres, it was originally established in 1881 and was known as the Colonel Lyndon Circle L Ranch and is a very historic site. The Lucas's along with their son Wayne and his wife Judy, raised Appaloosas, Percherons and cattle. Amongst their Appaloosas was the popular stallion, "Pinehill Equal", a son of Equal's Hy John H who was sired by the legendary Commanche's Equal. Pinehill Equal was imported from Washington state, and in keeping with the cross-border shopping tradition, the dynamic black and white stallion "Scalawag" entered into the fold bringing some classic Thoroughbred breeding to Alberta via his sire Everetts Son. Many great Appaloosa stallions have stood at Lucasia Ranch - horses like "Chinook Flight", an own son of Ocala Flight, and "Dial Lite", a son of the brightly colored Dial Bright Too. With such a quality selection of stock, it was decided in 1986 to begin an Annual Lucasia Ranch Appaloosa & Percheron Production Sale which ultimately brought buyers from far and wide to have the opportunity to acquire some of the great breeding that Lucasia had become known for.

While still tending to ranch business, Bill's devotion to the Appaloosa Horse Club of Canada ran as deep as his strong work ethic. He gave of himself tirelessly as the Chair of many committees; National Building Fund, National Museum, National Sale and Editorial committees. He has served as 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, and ultimately as President of the ApHCC in 1983 and 1984. During this time, Bill worked hard on the ApHCC Constitution in getting it ready for approval and along with the Board of Directors, he oversaw the revision of the Official Rule Book for approval, monitored the Building revisions and procured a Senior Citizen's Museum Grant of $14,000.

Bill has traveled far and wide promoting the Appaloosa horse and the ApHCC where ever he went, be it a trail ride, sale or show. A shining moment for Bill was the official opening of the ApHCC Museum on December 1, 1984 - something he had worked long and hard at as both a committee member, volunteer and die-hard supporter of the history of our great breed. It doesn't matter where you go or who you talk to about the Appaloosa, you'll eventually speak of, or hear Bill Lucas's name. He could have met you at a show, visited your barn or even gone out to dinner with your for his favorite seafood meal! Consider yourself luckier than most, and more fortunate than those who only hear his name mentioned by the announcer at the next Calgary Stampede.

Sidebar; Bill and Opal Lucas now live in beautiful High River, Alberta, approximately halfway between Claresholm and Calgary. Wayne and Judy are still on the original Lucasia Ranch homestead, where they operate Lucasia Ranch Vacations. Visitors from around the world partake in their round ups and cattle drives.

 

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story by L. Munro