JOINT STATEMENT BY PENN LITTLE &
MELANIE SMITH OF SOLO SELECT HORSES LLC (“SSH”)
June 14th, 2020
On July 13, 2020, there was much speculation about the transaction regarding Sooner Superstar amongst other horses purchased in the Jud Little Ranch dispersal sale. We both believe interpreting what Jud Little would do, first and foremost, is paramount in this situation. Absent his passion for breeding and developing equine talent, we wouldn’t have arrived at this and many other opportunities with which we’ve all been blessed.
We are proud to announce that “Sooner” will continue to produce performance horses for SSH and live on their property as well as remain in Penn’s name for the remainder of her life.
From Penn: “I attended so many of Dad’s sales through the years and learned one thing was unacceptable to him: an unsatisfied customer. First and foremost, I am proud to have had the opportunity to meet Melanie over the phone today after sharing Sooner’s story in a letter I wrote to her this morning. Melanie is a respected horseman and businesswoman, and Sooner’s importance to me and those who love her is complementary to the purpose of serving SSH.
The man behind the brand on the left hip, and Sooner’s dam, Star Eyed Money (a.k.a. “Momma”) instilled a love for horses in me. That ‘Rafter JL’ stood for “home and family” and market-determined subjective quality. Additionally, that stamp of quality truly clouded out the miracle that this mare was. She was an inspiration and part of my life, as well as many others. Most notably, her trainer, Jolene (Stewart) Montgomery (with whom she won the 2007 BFA World Championship), Tiffany (Fox) Case (with whom Sooner competed at the 2009 WNFR), and the many others that consider her family as well. I’m confident they’ll be delighted to know Sooner can be part of Melanie’s organization, and be in a place where her legacy can progress."
From Melanie: “I am proud to have this mare in the broodmare band for my stallion, Metallic Malice. I had full intentions of keeping Sooner Superstar; however, when Penn approached me about the circumstances, I felt it was only right to allow him to have ownership of his horse. I know this mare has an incredibly unique, inspiring story. She has been a special-even life-changing-animal and family member to many. I am proud and honored to carry on Jud Little’s lifelong passion for breeding through Sooner Superstar, and look forward to having her Metallic Malice foals in the Futurity world!”
Jud’s “lifelong passion” began in the 1950s when his mother, Carrie Lou, bought Jud his first horse. In regards to what he would want, we gleaned from an August 17, 2015 article by Doug Haberland in The Culver Academies Alumni Magazine Extra, Haberland summarized how “Jud Little shared the ethics and standards of the American cowboy, drawing from the book Cowboy Ethics by Jim Owen” in a speech at the school in May of 2015. Four, in particular, came to mind:
4.) Do what has to be done – and do it now, not after it’s too late! “Doing the right thing is a matter of honor, despite the odds. The true test of a person’s honor is what he or she would do to keep his honor.”
5.) Be tough, but be fair. Little shares a story a drilling contractor who signed a contract with his father for so much afoot and lost his shirt, almost going out of business. Quinton Little offered him another job and handed the driller a $50,000 check, knowing he was operating at a loss. “From that time on, he probably drilled another 100 wells for Daddy, and there wasn’t one of those big thick contracts. It was a handshake and a long relationship.”
9.) Some things in life aren’t for sale. And remember that some of the best things in life aren’t things.
11.) Demand fairness and fair play in anything you do. A square deal is a good one for everybody; all sides are equal. "There’s always right, and it is still wrong, but there is nothing in between. There is no gray area.”
“Sooner” will have the opportunity to live on SSH’s beautiful property near Whitesboro, TX--just a mere 32-mile drive south (on Highway 377) from Jud’s final resting place next to his parents, Carrie Lou and Quintin, at Oakland Cemetery in Marshall County, Oklahoma.
Sooner will be joined by her half-sister, Little Extra Credit (a.k.a. “Smoker), equally loved by Gayle and K.C. Jones (with whom Smoker was teamed at countless WNFRs) as much as she was by Jud, was purchased by SSH. According to the Joneses, “we know that ‘Smoker’ will pass on the heart and passion she has to compete. She was electric in the arena.”
K.C. Jones personally added, “It was also always special to call Jud immediately after every win I experienced with Smoker. Jud would always offer the most exuberant congratulations, and was always so proud to share this with everyone who loved the brand.”
We are jointly grateful to work together in the best interest of these horses in what we ensure is a square deal that bodes well for an exciting future.