The study of conformation and bloodlines was a determining factor in the purchase of Playgun as a yearling. Dick and Brenda had always been searching for the ideal horse to move their already successful breeding program further toward the cutting horse industry.
Playgun was everything they looked for in a horse from the first moment they saw him. As they always had done at the NCHA yearling sales, they had gone in separate directions, studying the horses individually and then comparing thoughts. On December 10th, 1993 they each thought they had found the perfect colt. As was often the case when analyzing hundreds of colts individually, they found that they had selected the same one. "Playgun was not the most striking colt by condition that day (he was the mousy color that gray horses often are as youngsters prior to gradually turning gray) and was also slightly cold haired. His confirmation however was exactly what we were searching for. Playgun had a balance and strength that jumped out and hit us from the first look. he was rough haired and not as fit as many yearlings are at the December sales, but we hoped that might work in our favor in order to be able to afford him." Playgun was by the leading sire Freckles Playboy and out of a mare that was sure to attract everyone's attention, Miss Silver Pistol. His dam was one of the most exciting show mares in years past. She had a unique style of trapping a cow in the center of the pen and her expression so intense that she would mesmerize a cow and draw it down in a style that sent crowds wild. During her show career she earned over half a million dollars and established herself as one of the greatest show horses in the cutting horse world. She was a beautiful gray mare with large kind eyes and lightning quick reaction time. Playgun's sire, Freckles Playboy was also an industry favorite. His offspring are known for their huge stops and general longevity and soundness. "From the moment we stepped in the stall with Playgun, we could tell he had inherited the best of both his sire and dam."
Playgun's road to the show pen was not without obstacles. He showed so much brilliance on a cow as an early two-year old that Dick often says looking back he wished he could have slowed down some of his moves and intensity. Playgun was just so natural that it was exceedingly tempting to allow him to do too much. He was mentally so quick and physically powerful that he tried to do more than necessary. Fortunately, he was also very cow smart and that kept him from making many mistakes. In the fall of Playgun's two year-old year, during the NRHA Futurity, Dick suffered serious spiral fractures of both bones of his left leg. The prognosis was not very encouraging. His doctor advised he would probably not be back on a horse for more than six months.
Having a horse like Playgun to finish training was probably the most motivation Dick could have to heal quickly. By April of his three-year-old year, with a cast above his knee, Dick attempted to pick up where he had left off the previous fall. Not an ideal situation, however Playgun's physical talent and tremendous mind compensated for lost time.
Dick had always trained horses as individuals and had a great understanding of their minds. Playgun was athletic, smart and very sensitive. He was quick, powerful, and reacted extremely fast to cow or human suggestion. Dick's ability to understand his mind was an important factor.
That August, good friend and neighbor Jody Galyean threw a leg over Playgun for the first time. He knew instantly that he was an exceptional horse. Dick arranged to have Jody work Playgun several times a week up until the Futurity to decide whether he wanted to show him in the Open. The decision was made in a few days. From that point forward, Playgun made the twenty-six mile commute to and from Jody's ranch several times each week. Dick continued to work him on the off days.
This would be the last year Dick and Brenda had commitments at the NRHA Futurity which overlapped the NCHA Futurity. It was also the first time Playgun had ever spent a night out of their care. A freind had gone to Fort Worth and taped Playgun's run in the first and second go round of the Open and brought them to Oklahoma City. Playgun was leading the combined score in the go rounds going into the semifinals at that point. Secure in the knowledge that he made the semis and confident that it would be an easy trip to the finals, Dick finished the week in Oklahoma City, loaded up and drove home, had about two hours to sleep before heading to Fort Worth for the first go of the Non Pro Futurity. Needless to say, 10 days at the reining futurity with very little sleep and the race to Fort Worth barley in time to make his bunch didn't work. Dick went out in the first go with a major penalty of a hot quit. Jody had an equally unfortunate situation in the semis. One bunch of cattle was extremely tough to settle. Playgun and Jody had the second highest score in that bunch but it fell 1/2 point short of advancing to the finals. Even though everyone knows the cattle can sure effect the outcome of the cutting, it was still a big disappointment, but onto the four-year old events....and what a year it was!
Playgun teamed up with Dick and Jody, doing double duty and started January as a finalist at Abilene and then on to Augusta as the Champion of both divisions. Between being a Futurity favorite and the double Championship at Augusta, Playgun's breeding career took off instantly. He was acquiring a loyal following each time he stepped in the pen and was booked to 80 mares for the 1996 breeding season. In fact, Playgun not only did double duty at the aged events, but he was also collected every second day for the breeding season and ended the year as the highest money earning four year old of NCHA. "I recall needing Dick to come home from Abilene on two breeding days during the Bonanza Cutting," says Brenda. "He and Jody showed, loaded Playgun, drove him in a snow storm, collected Playgun, headed back for the second go round, advanced to the finals, did the trip to Marietta again the next breeding day and went back again to win the Bonanza Non Pro Derby Championship.
Playgun's rare combination of being quiet, workmanlike and all business both as a breeding horse and a show horse made it possible for him to continue his show career through the entire aged events. He took very little preparation or loping, seldom worked the practice pen and was never anything other than a real gentleman to haul. He would almost act lazy just to ride around but was absolutely explosive in front of a cow. After numerous trips to the finals, several critics advised to "quit showing a breeding stallion before you get him beat," but we felt it was more important to take the risk and let people see he was sound and could go the distance. Playgun lived up to his dams and his sires great reputations. He was always bright and intense and stayed sound through the showing, hauling, breeding and finished his aged event career as a six-year old as strongly as he started. Playgun was a finalist at a total of twenty-one major events. His last two aged events earned him Steamboat Spring Open Classic Reserve Champion and El Cid Open Classic Champion honors.
Each year during his aged events, Playgun stood to a full book of mares. Dick continued to show him sporadically as a weekend horse the following year. He was so easy to haul and prepare, that it was hard to turn loose of him as a show horse. To this day, Dick will admit he had no idea how great Playgun was until he tried to compete in the large NCHA events that followed Playgun's graduation. As his first foal reached riding age though, the excitement started again.
Finalists and Champions started appearing from the first time his colts stepped in the show pen. Ironically the first foal to show was in September at a large reining futurity event. Toodies Big Gun won the go round and the finals of the Southwest Reining Horse Association Open Futurity, scoring 150 and 152 respectively. The first year of futurity age foals saw Playgun's in the finals at the NCHA Futurity, the NRHA Futurity, the SWRCH Futurity and the Congress and Canadian Cutting Futurities.
Each year since the list has grown and as of 2007, Playgun is a leading sire, having foals that have earned in excess of $4,700,000 in NCHA, NRCHA, NRHA, RHAA, and AQHA competition. The majority of his foals are aimed at the NCHA events and include finalists and champions at nearly every major aged event offered and an NCHA World Champion.
Playgun's offspring are sought after by not only cutting horse enthusiasts but also by ranchers and horsemen of many disciplines. Their strength, athletic ability and intelligence has been apparent in the versatility of his offspring. He has sired 2004 AQHA Super Horse, "Real Gun" and 2005 Reserve Super Horse "Silver Gun", in addition to 5 AQHA World Champions and 1 Reserve World Champion in five different events. An NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Champion and a RHAA World Champion also add to the list of his foals diversified accomplishments.