The Second AQHA Supreme Champion: Fairbars

The Second AQHA Supreme Champion: Fairbars

Fairbars had intelligence, beauty, speed and athleticism that carried him to earning the the most challenging of AQHA titles.

In an old black and white photo, a sorrel stallion with four white stockings and a blaze stands in a profile shot taken at Starkville, Mississippi.

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He was No. 2 – but he was an outstanding horse in his own right.

The 1961 chestnut stallion Fairbars was the second horse in AQHA history to earn the Supreme Champion title, just months after Kid Meyers claimed the first one.

Only 52 of nearly 6 million American Quarter Horses have ever achieved AQHA Open Supreme Champion honors, making it AQHA's rarest achievement. (See the list of 52 Open Supreme Champions.) To be named an Open Supreme Champion, a Quarter Horse must first prove himself on the racetrack, in the halter pen, earn points in cattle classes and more points in the show ring.


Pedigree and Breeder

Like Kid Meyers, Fairbars was by Three Bars (TB) and out of a Leo daughter. Fairbars was bred by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Ed Honnen’s Quincy Farms out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Quincy Farms, under the historic name of Hopkins Farm, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When Honnen purchased the farm in 1951, he converted a horse stable into a house, and he and his wife, Margaret, lived there until 1964. Fairbars, a 1961 colt, was most likely foaled on the property.

At one time, Honnen had owned 34 Leo daughters, and Lady Fairfax – Fairbars’ dam – was one of them. She was a 1949 sorrel mare out of Miss Chubby by Chubby. In 16 race starts, she was first four times, earning $1,581. As a broodmare, she was outstanding, with her foals earning 220 halter points and 66.5 performance points. She also produced the earners of $20,065. She produced 10 foals – Fairbars was the fifth.


Fairbars likely had an inkling about his royal pedigree. He was handsome and stout, with four white stockings and a wide white blaze between two broad-set eyes. He also had speed to burn. In 43 starts, he had a top speed index of 95. He earned a Superior Race Horse designation on his way to placing first seven times, second nine times and third 10 times, earning $12,380 – a sizable amount for Quarter Horse runners in the 1960s.

The AQHA Supreme Champion title required a horse to have raced, and to earn halter, cattle points and show ring points.

Fairbars’ conformation was good enough to earn halter points. He had the racing background required. And he was smart enough to learn new classes and look good doing them. In short, he was an ideal contender for the title.


A sorrel stallion with four white stocks and a blaze stands in three-quarter profile in a pasture. (File photo)

Fairbars was the second AQHA Supreme Champion. (AQHA file photo)


Fairbars hit the road. He earned 44 halter points, 11 tie-down roping points and 32.5 western pleasure points. He was entered once in working cow horse and won the class, but there weren’t enough other exhibitors in the class to earn points. He also won a get-of-sire class in which he didn’t earn points.

He earned his AQHA Champion title in June 1966 and he completed the requirements for his AQHA Supreme Champion title February 9, 1968.

Breeding Record

Showing and racing done, Fairbars retired to the breeding shed, where he sired 132 foals that earned $20,904 on the racetrack and 1,223 points in the show ring in open, amateur and youth classes.

His most famous son was Fairbars Jr, a 1969 sorrel stallion out of the Bar Three mare Rafter Bar Belle. Fairbars Jr was bred by Grafton Moore of Norman, Oklahoma, and was last owned by Gene and Linda Lay of Torrington, Wyoming, where he tore up the tracks, setting a track record for the Lays in June 1972 at Helena Downs in Montana. Fairbars Jr earned $3,725 on the track, then his offspring earned $4,380.

In 1970, Fairbars was sold to Dr. Yosef and Sheila Tiber of Los Angeles, and in 1974, he was sold to the Sidney E. Huntley Estate of Weatherford, Texas, and in 1975, he went to the newly formed Fairbars Enterprise of Elk Grove, California, made up of Mary Harbinson, Wayne Havens and Henry Poy. Fairbars died in March 1975.

Ed Honnen was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1990 and died in 1996. Three Bars and Leo were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

AQHA Supreme Champions

Wondering who the other 51 Supreme Champions are? See the list Supreme Champion here and learn more about the first Supreme Champion, Kid Meyers.