Big Step

Big Step

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2022.

2022 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee Big Step

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It’s the sons and daughters of Big Step that put their daddy in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

“Big Step was bred to be a racehorse. While that didn’t work out, he sired winners and point earners in halter, reining, cutting, roping, barrel racing, racing, western pleasure and western riding,” noted Roy Dunaway, who ranched at Claremore, Oklahoma, and bred many of his own mares to the stallion.

Big Step started twice on the track, where he finished fourth and eighth, before a mishap in the starting gate ended that career. The sorrel stallion went on to sire top ranch horses and outstanding offspring who could halter and perform with the best in the country.

Big Step was a product of the program of Blain Lewis, a well-known ex-rodeo pro and prominent horseman who owned Big Step’s sire, Parker’s Trouble. Foaled in 1956, Big Step was out of Little Bit L, who was a Register of Merit racehorse and the earner of 11 halter points.

Big Step was purchased in 1963 by Don and Virginia Wilcox, who were trick riders and retired from pro rodeo–he as a roper, she as a barrel racer–to raise and train halter and performance horses at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Don pointed Big Step to a career as a sire of all-around horses.

With 570 named Quarter Horses in 23 crops, Big Step sired 176 foals that grew up to earn points in halter, reining, cutting, roping, barrel racing, western pleasure and western riding. Of those, 18 were open AQHA Champions, 10 were youth AQHA Champions, two were world champions, and three won races on the track.

His standout foals include Trouble Step, who earned 264 single-season points to be the 1965 high-point halter horse and enough performance points the next year to be an open AQHA Champion; Montego Step, the 1989-91 high-point horse in youth jumping who was also the reserve world champion in youth jumping in 1991; Stepsister Jones, who was the first AQHA Youth Supreme Champion; Figure 8 Step, the 1975 high-point reining horse; and Opie Step, a three-time youth AQHA Champion.

Top reining stallion Wimpys Little Step traces on his dam side to Big Step, whose sons such as Heza Royal Step, Mr Trouble Step, Stepahead and Figure 8 Step made solid contributions to the breed. Big Step daughters did their part, too, producing horses that earned 17 AQHA Champion titles, five world championships, 10 Superiors at halter and 63 Superiors in performance.

Big Step died in 1982.

“As one of the first race-bred descendants of Three Bars (TB) to carve out a name for himself as a sire of show horses, Big Step heralded a new era in Quarter Horse show-ring competition,” Frank Holmes wrote in Western Horseman’s “Legends 7” book.

He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2022.


Biography updated as of August 2022.