Smokin Hot Gun Smokes....

The immortal Mr Gun Smoke 1961 sorrel AQHA stallion
The immortal Mr Gun Smoke 1961 sorrel AQHA stallion

I love foundation Quarter Horses and also love to see how the foundation horses play a part in modern bloodlines. Here is an opportunity to explore some bloodlines that many people take for granted and see that these champions are not 'by chance'!

My first subject of choice is the 1961 sorrel stallion, Mr Gun Smoke, AQHA 0157943. Mr Gun Smoke was inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame, NRCHA Hall of Fame AND the NRHA Hall of Fame. He earned his Superior cutting horse in 1968, his arena ROM and also earned his NCHA COA with lifetime earnings totaling almost $8500. As a performance stallion he was very good, with a strong and impressive record. However, my focus here is to explain what an outstanding producer and sire as well as grandsire, great grandsire and great, great grandsire Mr Gun Smoke is for both AQHA registered AND APHA registered horses. The American Paint Horse Association is mentioned because Mr Gun Smoke passed on splash overo to many of his offspring. This trait can be seen many generations on in his great-great grandchildren such as 'Gunner' by his great-granddaughter Katie Gun who is also bald faced with high whites on her legs. If you want a quick list of his performers Mr Gun Smoke was sire of: AQHA Chs, Arena ROMs, 3 Res World Chs, 5 Superior Perfs incl 1973 Honor Roll and Supr.Ct.Horse, Two Ds Dynamite. Mr Gun Smoke is sire of CRCHA and NRCHA money earners incl Snaffle Bit Fut Champion, Kits Smoke. Sire of NCHA money earners incl 1972 NCHA Fut Ch, Gun Smokes Dream. Sire of multiple NRHA Fut Chs incl NRHA Hall Of Fame, Miss White Trash (See Legends Vol 3). Sire of APHA Chs and Arena ROMs.
Mr Gun Smoke, foaled 1961 is an earner of NCHA $8,476, Working Cow Horse Hall of Fame, 71 Cutting points., all Time Top 60 Cutting Sire of earners of $826,090 and Top 20 Maternal Pattern Grandsire of earners of $4,060,587. Also a Top 25 Maternal Ring/Top 50 Pattern Ring Grandsire and an All Time Leading Ring Cow Horse Sire of 1 NCHA Futurity Champion, 1 NCHA Non Pro Futurity Reserve Champion, 1 NCHA Reserve World Champion, 1 NRHA Year End Open Ring Champion, 3 AQHA Reserve World Champion Cutting & Reining, 1 AQHA Champion, 1 Hi Point Cutting (2048.5 pts.)
APHA performers include 1 National Champion Cutting, 1 APHA Champion (195 pts.)

These stats are impressive, but this horse appears far back on some of the 'newer' champions pedigrees. Is he really making an influence in the performance horse's genetic make-up? Many believe in his great-great grandson known as 'Gunner' (AQHA Colonels Smokin Gun) who is out of Mr Gun Smoke's great-granddaughter Katie Gun, also the dam of 'Spooks Gotta Gun'. Katie Gun is by Mr Gun Smoke's son One Gun and she is dam of 18 registered foals as of 2008. Of those, 11 have earned $383,017 with several foals not yet performance age. Her most noted offspring include:

  • Gunner - (by Colonelfourfreckle) NRHA $177,669

  • Dun It Gotta Gun (by Hollywood Dun It) NRHA $61,665

  • Spooks Gotta Gun (by Grays Starlight) NRHA $48,847

  • Here's Your Shine (by Shining Spark) NRHA $39,768

  • Nighttime Nic (by Nic It In The Bud) NRHA $30,432

Katie Gun was bred to quality stallions, but there is little question that bred to many different stallions she still remained a producer. Her trademark 'Mr Gun Smoke' bald face and white stockings have been passed down to several of her offspring and they continue to pass the trait along to their own foals. A visible stamp of their 'Mr Gun Smoke' heritage.

My own stallion, a 2007 bay, Munez Smokin Tater is registered with AQHA, APHA and is 95% NFQHA registered as well. He is a grandson of the immortal Mr Gun Smoke, meaning that Mr Gun Smoke still appears on his foal's face papers, just like on Katie Gun's papers. All of 'Taters' foals will be related to Mr Gun Smoke in the same was as Katie Gun was, as great-grandfoals.

This is a legacy that has faded slowly away up-close in many pedigrees, with most if not all of the own sons and daughters of Mr Gun Smoke being past breeding age or deceased. In fact, my stallion, Munez Smokin Tater, was the last foal of his sire Cutter's Smoke (Smokin Streak AQHA) before he passed away in 2007. My stallion shows signs that he may be a carrier of the Mr Gun Smoke splash trademark so he may throw colored paint foals with the bald face and high stockings just like his outstanding grandsire.

In a tough economy people who want to breed their mares to outside stallions have difficult choices to make about color, pedigree and show records. Value for money is going to factor into many mare-owner's decisions and value is not just going to be based on potential for high sales prices as many foals, even very well-bred foals, are not selling until after they are trained. Thus, if a mare-owner decides to breed their good mare, they have to look at the very real possibility of retaining their foal, training and also possibly showing before sales viability at a fair market value. Having a foal that has a legend on its face-papers and also can be triple registered if the dam is NFQHA eligible means that the value of the foal increases for the mare owner, even in a difficult market. Temperament, mind and conformation are all important, put those with an excellent pedigree and the mare owner has a formula for success in ANY market.

The final thought here is that temperament and work-ethic count a lot in performance horses. At the end of the day, the hours and days and months and years that you have to put into a horse to make them a successful performer are going to be more enjoyable and rewarding with a horse that has an excellent temperament and work-ethic. In my experience, these Mr Gun Smoke horses have a special temperament. They tend to be calm and friendly as a general rule; my stallion is very 'gelding like' even when breeding. I always get compliments on his behavior and people are always surprised that he's a stallion because he's so well-behaved and gentle. However in the show pen, in training and when being asked to perform, these horses 'turn it on'. There is a power that comes over them, a spark that ignites in their eye and they suddenly are in 'working mode'. The work is done fluidly and with talent and then when it's over they are back to that laid-back friend. This is an ideal temperament for a working horse who has to perform many duties in a ranch setting from working cattle to breeding to giving rides to children. A calm, kind and balanced mind is essential to a successful performance horse.

If you have not 'met' the Mr Gun Smoke horses yet I encourage you to find some to get to know.  Most performance events will have Mr Gun Smoke bred horses so keep an eye out for the 'trademark' bald face and high white stockings or the 'Smokin' or 'Gun' in the registered name. If you are a passionate owner or fan and deeply believe in these Mr Gun Smoke horses then I invite you to share your stories and let his outstanding legacy live on. You have a horse you can really ride who is likely to try hard for you and give their all and that is something to be proud of! When a horse owner talks about 'heart' these horses are an example of exactly what they are talking about.

Munez Smokin Tater

Munez Smokin Tater, 2007 GRANDSON of the great stallion Mr Gun Smoke. He puts Mr Gun Smoke on his foal's face papers.
Munez Smokin Tater, 2007 GRANDSON of the great stallion Mr Gun Smoke. He puts Mr Gun Smoke on his foal's face papers.

Katie Gun

Katie Gun, Mr Gun Smoke great-grand daughter and dam of the famous 'Gunner'
Katie Gun, Mr Gun Smoke great-grand daughter and dam of the famous 'Gunner'


Colonels Smokin Gun (known as 'Gunner')Most famous son of Katie Gun.
Colonels Smokin Gun (known as 'Gunner')Most famous son of Katie Gun.

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Comments 20 comments

E M Smith profile image

E M Smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

One for the horsing fraternity. Interesting either way.

Terry 6 years ago

I also have a 2007 foal by Streakin Smoke out of a Reminic mare. Is your horse talented? Mine has been started, very smart and curious with a very sweet disposition.

clw 6 years ago

the largest group of his decendants is in utah at the smokey mountain ranch.

gary wexler 6 years ago

I used to own Mr Gunsmoke, and your grasp of the Gunhsmoke traits is right on. he was the gentlest, kindest, and most well behaved horse I've ever been around. I personally foaled over 100 of his offspring, and we ahared a hug after each birth...I appreciate the kind words, and wish you luck with your Smoke

Theresa Plummer 6 years ago

I worked for Dale Wilkinson 1971-1973 when he owned Mr Gunsmoke. While doing the general farm work, I spent a lot of time caring for Mr Gunsmoke- stall cleaning,grooming feeding,prepping mares for breeding, saddling him up when Dale occasionaly rode him and having the honor of giving him his exercise. Though Mr Gunsmoke was retired, Dale would cut on him once in a great while for just a few wonderous moments. When he stepped off him he removed the bridle and Mr Gunsmoke walked himself down to the end of the arena and cooled himself out,paying no mind to the other horses. He truly was a nobel horse, unfailing in his good manners. Though I never rode him faster than a walk I could still feel his greatness-truly he was all a horse could possibly be!

gary wexler 6 years ago

never heard that story before, fun to daughter used to take him on trail rides bareback through the woods in California with some of the ranch dogs..never failed, she would come back with with a dog laying over Smoke's withers, which was pretty interesting, since Smoke didn't like dogs...maybe you know this, Theresa, from working with Dale in Findley

Theresa Plummer 6 years ago

Gary,I was hoping you would post again.It sure is good to find out that Mr Gunsmoke had such a good life in California. There were not that many dogs around Dale's, so I never noticed anything about him disliking them.We were on a trail ride one time and came to a puddle. He turned around so fast I had to check and see what planet I was on. After that I just rode around the edge of the fields,could not take the chance of him spinning out from under me and being out loose. That sure would have been the end of my job!

gary wexler 6 years ago

That's funny, but you wouldn't have lost your job, Dale would have just laughed, and probably told you it happened to him on more than one occasion...not Smoke getting loose, although he wouldn't have done anything but gone home,but nearly moving out from under him...Did Dale ever tell you the story about him showing him cutting, and they pulled a dirty cow...the cow made a dive for the herd, right through Smoke...Smoke wasn't about to let that cow back in the herd, so he dropped his head and bang they went head to head...both went down, but Smoke was up first, and dared that cow to try that again....One of Dale's favorite stories ! Hope you got a kick out of that...hope to hear from you again...regards, Gary

Theresa Plummer 6 years ago

Hello, No I had not heard that story! Gunsmoke's Dream won the NCHA Futurity when I was working there. She sure had his spirit. Dale borrowed my saddle one day and took her to the outdoor pen to cut. I was in the barn saddling another horse. There was a big commotion outside. A cow had run right into her and Dale and bowled them completely over. Dale had some cracked ribs but went to Dayton Ohio the next weekend and won a big reining against Bill Horn and all the other great reiners at that time. Of course Gunsmoke's Dream went on to win the Futurity in December. And believe it or not my saddle came out of it with hardly a scratch! Theresa

gary wexler 6 years ago

never heard that story, but it was a great time for the Gunsmokes...White Trash with Bill Horn was killing them, Hollywood Smoke also with

Bill Horn, was fast becoming a force to deal with, and Two D's Dynamite was making people a believer in the Smokes...wish I could turn back the clock, and relive those super times ( the ramblings of an old man) Regards, Gary

ezgreen profile image

ezgreen 5 years ago Author

Theresa and Gary-thanks SO much for your wonderful stories! It's wonderful to hear about these great horses and know that we are carrying on this fantastic bloodline! My Mr Gun Smoke grandson's foals are due at the end of March, first is out of a Reminic granddaughter-VERY nice client mare. I've chosen a Doc's Hickory granddaughter of my own to breed him to for a 2012 foal. The foal will be sensitive and probably a late bloomer but just wait till you put it in front of a cow! I absolutely LOVE my grandson of Mr Gun Smoke. He is an amazing gentleman and is just four this year. If he starts teasing off a mare and it's not the time I just gently tell him 'come on' and he stops and comes with me, not a sound or complaint. I just use a normal nylon halter on him, not even rope but flat nylon. These horses are still making such an impact in the performance horse world and they have special temperments with an intelligence and sensitivity that is hard to come by any more. Of course you have to take your time with them and let them grow up, and they certainly are smart enough to hold a grudge so you better play fair, but if you are kind to them and let them do their thing as it were, boy oh boy, you simply can't find a horse with more heart or cow-chasing desire/ability. Just my opinion of course :) Thanks again for your input here! Would love to her more! My website is if you're interested in following Tater, his siblings or his offspring. Thanks!

Smokes Storm 5 years ago

I am glad to see these bloodlines being carried on In my oppion the Mr Gun Smoke horses are the best I also owned a son of Cutters Smoke Who looked a lot like his sire and grandsire with the bald face and high white socks We got 4 foals by him before we lost him at age 5 due to an unknown allergic reaaction to something all his foals had that wonderful playful disposition The oldest is now in Roping Training and I can't wait to see what she becomes

ezgreen profile image

ezgreen 5 years ago Author


That's wonderful, I'd love to see photos of your horses! If you check back here please visit my website and on the contact page is my email. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your stallion-they are truly wonderful horses. It's a blessing that you have his offspring to carry on his legacy! What was the breeding on the mares you bred him to? I'm interested to see if my guy throws the white as he has stripey hooves and splash tendencies but not enough to qualify him for regular APHA registry. Tater's first foal is due at the end of Feb 2011! I think it's extra speical for me because I raised and trained his dam and just lost her this past October. It's wonderful to see several generations of excellent horses and I'm enjoying raising them and training them!!!

gary wexler 5 years ago

Glad to see everyone is still talking up the Gunsmokes. After 30 years out of the business, I have kind of sneaked back in. I now have 5 mares, all related to Gunsmoke one way or another. I just bought a Remnic daughter in foal to Spooks Gotta Gun, and due any day..I will be breeding her to Rooster...Also bought two trashadecous daughters, now being bred to Gunnatrashya...A Peppy san daughter out of a smart little Lena daughter also being bred to Gunnatrashya...and a Dun Gotta Gun daughter out of a Trash daughter, going to Gunnatrashya...You may be wondering why all the Trash Breeding? Trashadeceous was out of Miss White Trash, one of Gunsmokes best daughters...I'm a real fan of hers...Now a lot of people wouldn't double up the Gunsmoke and Trash, but I don't agree...Just watch these colts! Maybe I'll get another shot at owning a great one again!! Regards....Gary

Lori Pope 5 years ago

God Blessed the Gunsmokes!! Well she's a Greatgrandaughter of Mr Gun Smoke and is colored like Katie Gun and has a big apron face ..... reading this blog brings tears to my eyes because I have something very special and need advice ..filly is 2 yrs old she was born "already trained" I want to show her, her name is Smoken Gunolena look her up on you tube and contact me with advice I have only about 60 rides on her! she is unbelievable to everyone who sees her........ Loves her... email

Tracey Franc 4 years ago

We are huge fans of the Gunsmokes. I have a super confident and talented reining gelding with Mr. Gunsmoke twice on papers on top and out of a Dry Doc mare. I've enjoyed reading these stories. The looks, disposition and talent of this line is most desirable. Keeps us looking for another reining prospect such as our "Drip Dry".

Faith 3 years ago

I just got a legacy of Mr. Gun Smoke's today and I'm already in love with her. She's just under 3 and she's already the sweetest most patient horse. Her eyes are bright and she's very alert and really pays attention to you. She also stood calmly and patiently while I trained her mane and braided her hair and never once lifted her leg or jerked away. She's such a good girl! She's already so sweet. She is registered but she doesn't have a name yet. So I'll get to name her soon =)

My trainer said she was the perfect horse for me and I trusted his judgment. Time will tell but so far I think he was very right about her. I can't wait to see what she'll be like when she's strong enough to ride!

Robin oflanagan 3 years ago

I bought Par To Jose Cross 9 years ago. She is now 14 years old. Her great grandfather is Mr. Gun Smoke.I couldn't have asked for a better horse! if you have any information about her background please email me. Her sire was Smoken Jose and her dam was Par To T Cross.

Judi 3 years ago

LOVE hearing those personal stories about Mr Gunsmoke! It's fantastic to get a chance of seeing him as a "horse" instead of a legend. It also shows to me just how much of himself is passed down to his get. Up until 1993 I had never heard of Mr Gunsmoke... that was until I unintentionally acquired a grand daughter of his from a dealer. The dealer bought her from a meat pen at an auction in New Jersey. At the time I felt I was "saving" this mare, but it turns out that she ended in saving me. I was coming off of a back injury & couldn't afford a fall. Needless to say that I needed a calm, solid horse. She was definitely that. I can easily make this story much longer, but suffice to say that after 6 months of good care & rehabbing that meat pen mare (APHA Sweet Smoke; aka: Kharma) & I were cleaning up at whatever we decided to try. She was the model of VERSATILITY. We competed in Eng pleasure & equitation, West pleasure & equitation, Low hunter over fences, barrel racing, trail classes, team pennings & poles.... & came out with the ribbons & trophies. The most eye opening revelation was when we were just relaxing & moving cows around the night before a penning & I hear a 'clicking' noise. It was Kharma snapping her teeth together. She had her lips pulled up & ears laid back, but she never grabbed a hold of a cow. The one guy I was riding along (State Champ for Penning) took one look at her & was after me to buy her. I refused. The next day when we were competing, we were running a cow up the wall when it did a cut back to the left (towards the herd). I was still going to the right, but Kharma was what seemed like halfway back down the arena right with that calf. lol It was through the grace of God & a fortunate hook of my left leg that took me with them & not eating arena footing. lol That mare changed my horsey life. It was catastrophic for me when she passed. Years later I found 2K Enterprises out of Stephensville, Tx that breeds some quality Mr Gunsmoke horses. I braved hurricane Rita to drive down & buy a yearling filly from them that is a granddaughter of Mr Gunsmoke on the top & a great granddaughter on the bottom. She is the quietest, most mellow mare. She was almost too easy to train. I still have her to this day, as well as a palomino daughter of hers. In 2014 I am planning on taking her back to 2K to breed to one of their Mr Gunsmoke stallions.

To finish up.... The Mr Gunsmoke line is strong & thriving & gaining fans daily. All it takes is exposure to his line & you're hooked. :) Also, there are still sons & grandsons of Mr Gunsmoke still out there breeding, you just need to know where to look for them. :)

Thank you for a wonderful article.

Gary Wexler 10 months ago

Mr Gunsmoke was inducted into the AQHA " HALL OF FAME", Last night 3/13/16, BOUT TIME !!!

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