Chuck Sperry

If you’ve been to any of the Quarter Horse shows in Kansas, you have no doubt met Lloyd Charles Sperry, Jr., better known as Chuck Sperry. He’s the one opening and shutting arena gates, setting the trail courses, and helping out with numerous other tasks associated with shows—all while showing himself and coaching his clients.

Chuck hails from Mound Valley in Southeast Kansas, with his family moving to Altamont when he was six.

Chuck has been fascinated with horses since the first time he saw them—so much so that when he was only four or five, he rode out of town on his bike and spent the day on the backs of some horses he found in a pasture. Needless to say, his parents weren’t happy with the way he spent his day.

His folks bought him his first horse when he was 10. Between his pasture riding days and his first horse, he rode everything he could get his hands on, which was probably a good thing since the horse his parents bought was one he could grow up and learn with.

Chuck loved every moment of horse ownership; he belonged to the local saddle club and was on its drill team. Since he had a cousin who did a lot of roping, Chuck took that up along with pole bending. He ran a lot of 21 second patterns with a few even timed at 19.

Chuck was out of horses for a bit when he served in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1971. While in the Marines, he was stationed in San Diego, San Antonio, Norfolk, Newark, and Okinawa. Upon his return he went to Labette Junior College and Edmond State University in Edmond, Oklahoma. He graduated from there and earned a mortician’s license, taking up his dad’s trade. He moved from Altamont to Phillipsburg in1976 and from there to Beloit in 1988.

He got back into horses in 1989 while raising a family and had success in the show pen. He started showing in AQHA shows in 1992 when his daughter Jessica got into showing and joined KQHYA. After having some more success as an amateur, he decided to turn professional and began to train horses while working other jobs. He credits Craig Cole, Jeff Mellott, and Murray Griggs with helping him the most—especially in pleasure and trail, which were new events to him.

One of his first successes was Just Say Whoa, better known as Darla, a buckskin mare he traded Jerry Wright for. That mare went on to earn a lot of AQHA points and Buckskin World Championships for both Chuck and Jessica. Although the mare was later sold, he bought her back for his youngest granddaughter to begin her show career. He believes if they would have had versatility classes back then, she would have been a top contender. He says the mare is now 25 or 26 and owned by Lee Granada.

Another early success was Liz’s Gold Boy, better known as Sunny, who won the Kansas Futurity as a three year-old and four Buckskin World Championships. He also earned a lot of AQHA points.

Chuck moved to Topeka in 2000 when Jessica and her husband Anthony were looking for a place to buy while they both went to Washburn University. Although he had held a lot of jobs over the years—ranging from the three paper routes he had growing up, to dog catcher, to judge, to mortician and later to retail sales—horses were never far from him, and so he decided to go into training full time—a decision he’s never regretted.

In addition to his own success in the show ring, he seems to have a knack for selecting good horses for others. What does he look for? Good movement and cadence— especially looking at what the legs do; balance; self-carriage, and eye appeal. He says if the horse doesn’t catch his eye right away, he is turned off and passes on that horse.

Family is very important to Chuck and much of his career has involved his daughter Jessica and now a third generation has joined in the fun. His granddaughters Isabella and Rylea both hold World Champion titles on horses trained by Chuck.

He frequently shares his love of the outdoors, especially fishing and hunting, with his grandson, Graeson. Lukas, who is turning five soon, loves to come and help Chuck on the farm with all of his chores./p>

In addition to training and coaching, Chuck has also been very active in the Kansas Quarter Horse Association over the years. He was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Craig Cole who says “Chuck has been highly involved with KQHA. . .serving on the Prairie Classic Committee, Region 8 Committee and numerous other committees throughout the years. He has served as Vice-President and President. He has provided trail patterns and volunteered setting trail courses for the past several years for nearly every Quarter Horse show held in Kansas. He is an active Past President and highly involved in KQHA, and I feel a very deserving nominee for the Hall of Fame honor!”

For his outstanding dedication and service to the Kansas Quarter Horse Association and the Quarter Horse industry, it is a great honor to induct Chuck Sperry into the KQHA Hall of Fame.