Written by Tanya Krause–Randall, first published in the August 1998 issue of Barrel Horse News. Photos by Kenneth Springer
Every once in a while a great one comes along, and all too suddenly, he is gone.
The barrel racing industry suffered a devastating blow Monday, June 15 when the promising sire, Packin Sixes, was humanely put down due to an undetermined illness. Results from an autopsy performed at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge were unavailable at press time.
The 12-year-old stallion, by Streakin Six out of Copasetti by Three Oh’s, was bred by Jimmy and Elaine Coffman of Aledo, Texas. On the track, Packin Sixes had a speed index of 99. He started 19 races, winning five, showing twice and placing once. He was an All American Futurity finalist and had lifetime earnings of $86,155.
On the rise
It was a breakout year for Packin Sixes in 1997. Seeing the potential for a great sire, Chad Hart of Royston, Georgia, purchased the stallion in March. With standout performers like Packin Sassy and Packin Doubles and the promotional efforts of Hart, Packin Sixes’ fame and good reputation began to rise.
At the end of the year, seven of his foals earned a total of $105,491 for an average of $15,070. Of the seven, four were just 3-year-old futurity money-earners.
“I thought he would be what he was, but I wasn’t sure,” Hart said. “I like him well enough to breed my own mares to him, if no one else wanted to.”
Hart’s belief in the stallion and promotional efforts were well-warranted.
“When people started calling in September of last year wanting to book mares for the 1998 breeding season that was something,” Hart said. “It showed me that people really wanted to breed to him.”
In April 1998, Richard W. Howe of Yorktown, Ind., purchased Packin Sixes from Hart. Howe, a longtime futurity horse owner, had decided to go into the breeding business and he knew exactly what horse he needed.
“It was a no-brainer as far as the numbers were concerned,” Howe said. “There was nothing out there that could come close to Packin Sixes. You can find sires for race horses, but you can’t find a sire with such a high percentage of winning barrel futurity colts as this horse did. You could take Packin and breed him to almost any type of mare and he would put the mind and athletic ability in a horse. Whether it was a cutting horse or a race horse, 40 to 50 percent of them are going to be winning money.”
The beginning of the legacy
At the Old Fort Days Futurity, three weeks before Packin Sixes’ untimely death, four of his offspring made the finals: Packin Moonshine, owned by the Southern Rose Ranch and ridden by Mike Green, was third, earning $23,411.39; I Cant Wont You, owned by Danette Head and Curt Potter and ridden by Head, was 14th, earning $9,710.11; Super Lucky Sixes, owned by Don and Jim Warner and ridden by Jim, was 25th, earning $6,900.74 and Penny Packin Plenty, owned by Head and Potter and ridden by Head, was 32nd, earning $5,261.94.
Howe had just implemented a bonus program for the 1999 Packin Sixes futurity horses. Howe said he will keep the program open for 1999 despite Packin’s death.
“I feel like we need to keep the incentive program for 1999 because we said we would,” Howe said. “We want to stay in the horse business and it is the right thing to do. We can’t find another horse like Packin. It kind of knocked the wind out of our sails for a couple of days, but we have had to go on. It is going to take a lot of years to come up with another one.”
Both Howe and Hart felt sorry for Pervis and Dorothy Lege, who stood Packin at their Spring Hill Farm in Kaplan, La. For them, it was like losing a member of the family.
“He stood here for three years,” Dorothy said. “He had a great personality. You could talk to him almost as if he was human. He was really gentle. He was not aggressive. As a stallion, he was just awesome. He really was an outstanding horse. It is a great loss.”
Packin Sixes covered 125 mares before his death and several mares already were booked for the 1999 season. With the colts yet unborn, Packin Sixes’ last offspring will run in futurities in 2003. Banking on the success of his current performers, perhaps the best of Packin Sixes is yet to come.
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