Dedication, integrity and horsemanship
by Susan van Dyke
uy Roberts is a man who has earned the
respect of his peers and fellow horsemen throughout his long association with
Thoroughbreds and the racing community. He and his wife Barbara have bred three
state champions and a host of other stakes winners, led the Washington breeder
rankings for seven years, stood some of the top stallions in the state at their
farm in Sunnyside, besides raising five children and running a busy and
successful agricultural business. Guy has served as the president of the WTBA
(1979), has been board member of the association since 1973. He is also a
former Washington Horse Racing commissioner.
During the 10 years in which the WTBA honored a
Breeder and Owner of the Month, the Roberts were the
only persons honored (as breeder) during each year of the decade long program.
A now 42-year member of the WTBA, Guy Roberts is
only one of 14 distinguished Washington horsemen honored with the S. J. Agnew
Special Achievement Award (2002) since its inception in 1980.
Joe Roberts, had immigrated from Nova Scotia to the small agricultural
community of Prosser, not far from Horse Heaven Hills, where he was a wheat
farmer and also had fruit orchards. (Today, the area is among the most
prominent in Washingtons wine growing industry.) A widower with two young
sons, Joe advertised in the Spokane paper for a housekeeper to take care of his
boys. Rachel Kincaide, a widow with one young son, answered the advertisement.
Later, they married and had four children of their own: Mona, Wayne (who would
become a Baptist church minister), Boyd and finally Guy, who was born on
September 30, 1928.
When Guy was three, the family
moved to Sunnyside where they raised asparagus, alfalfa and had a few milk
cows. His initial equine experience came through the familys
half-Shetland pony, Tony.
During his eighth grade
year at school, a friend came out and implored Guy to check out the new girl in
the seventh grade class. He raced across the playground and peaked in the
school window and it was then he had his first glance of his future wife,
Barbara Andrus, who had just moved to town from the Milton-Freewater, OR area
(just south of Walla Walla). They began dating in high school.
During his senior year at Sunnyside High School, Guy
left school to join the U.S. Coast Guard for what was supposed to be a two-year
hitch. After being stationed in Hawaii and San Diego, the Department of the
Treasury, under whose jurisdiction the Coast Guard operated, ran out of money
and offered early retirement to some of their enlistees. So, after
serving 1 1/2 years, Guy returned home to Sunnyside and earned his GED
He and Barbara were married on August
30, 1948. Both attended college at Washington State College in Pullman, but
other horizons beckoned. Guy left college to work for the John Deere tractor
dealer in Sunnyside for five years. He then joined his father-in-law Leroy N.
Bus Andrus in the Andrus and Funk Produce Company in 1959. When
Andrus and Funk split up not soon afterwards, with the Funks moving to Spokane,
the Andruses, et al., stayed in Sunnyside (the asparagus capitol of the
Northwest) to run the fruit and vegetable packing house where today they handle
fresh packed asparagus and potatoes as their main products. Guy and
Barbaras son Chad now runs the packing plant, while their other son Scott
oversees the orchards. Apples from the familys approximately 500 acres of
orchards are also processed at the plant. The Roberts also raise a few cherries
and pears, but send them elsewhere to be processed.
Kids and Horses
also had three daughters: Diana, Pam and Cindy. All three of the girls
were horse crazy, and the two boys still arent, says Guy.
The Roberts familys first horses werent
purchased for the kids to ride, but to provide Guy with transportation while he
was elk hunting. That event led to getting horses for the kids
entertainment. From Quarter Horse riding and show mounts, Guy progressed to
Quarter Horse racing. The first stallion the Roberts ever stood was quite
coincidently a Quarter Horse named Guybar.
all three of the girls raised yearlings through the then WHBA 4-H broodmare
program. With the success of the girls sales yearlings, Guy decided to
switch from racing Quarter Horses to racing Thoroughbreds. Daughter Diana had
raised a Rare Rice colt from 1965 Washington broodmare of the year The Plume.
That colt topped the 1966 WHBA yearling sale after Glen Williams went to $7,300
to obtain the half-brother to champion Jims Purchase for Herman
Bus Andrus also fell in love with the
Thoroughbred game. He loved racing, horses and gambling, remembered
Guy. Bill McMeans trained Andrus Emerald Stables runners.
Guy and Barbaras oldest daughter Diana married
Mike Hopper, now deceased. They had two children: Michelle, the mother of their
first grandchildren, Cassidy and Colton; and Seth, a calf roper on the
Professional Rodeo Circuit.
Their second daughter,
Pam, who died in 1995, was married to Dick Schoenberg, who has served as the
farms resident veterinarian for many years. They had three children:
Christy, who is the mother of sons Ethan and Emmett; Deken and Blake.
Cindy, along with her husband Charlie Hoctor, were
active in Thoroughbreds for many years under the banner of their Snipes
Mountain Ranch. Today, Cindy continues to help her dad out. They have a
daughter, Jodi, who while professionally is a gemologist and goldsmith, still
competes in barrel racing.
Scott is unmarried, but
younger brother Chad and his wife Amanda have two boys, Alexander and Zack.
Guy and Barbara are the grandparents of eight
grandchildren, who range from nine to 30 years of age, and are the
great-grand-parents of three boys and two girls.
The Guy Bar operation has always been a family affair,
as Barbara keeps the farms books. Having the whole family involved
has made it fun over the years, says Guy.
addition to racing, Guy has always been a sports enthusiast. As a young man he
played on softball and baseball teams. Ive always liked
sports, he commented. He and Barbara were among the original Seattle
Seahawk ticket holders and also held season tickets for the WSU football
season. They are strong supporters in all their grandkids sports
The List Goes On
farm originally consisted of only 12 acres, but from it came the Sunny- side
couples first winner when on September 21, 1968, at Playfair, the
two-year-old *Classowa filly Fleet Yetta broke her maiden. Their initial stakes
winner followed in 1971 when Vitation (VitalityKy. Bounce) won the second
divi-sion of the July 5 Mary Broderick Stakes at Longacres by 4 1/2 lengths
after having taken her initial outing by seven lengths. Today, 95 acres are
devoted to the horses.
Bus Andrus later developed
a Thoroughbred training center, about a mile down the highway from
the family packing plant. It was WHRC-certified for workouts, had a half-mile
track and 40 stalls. Trainer Bill McMeans was its first occupant and it proved
popular with those having runners at Yakima Meadows.
During the many years Guy has had horses in training,
he has made a point to support conditioners from his side of the mountains.
So far, Ive only used eastern Washington trainers, said Guy.
Among them have been Tim McCanna and Larry Wolf.
Roberts has a reputation for being a good owner to
Hes easy to work for,
said McCanna. He turns it all over to you. Because of his background you
dont hurt his feelings when you tell him one of the horses hes
raised isnt worth fooling with. He sees the whole picture, brings new
people in and is generous. McCanna added.
Guy Bar Farm-bred Horses
Guy Bar Farm sales logo has been seen aside the stalls of many prominent
runners and winners throughout the years, as the Roberts have been major
consignors to the WTBA sales program, both for the horse they have bred, as
well as agenting for clients. Just this past September, six yearlings made up
the Guy Bar summer sale consignment, while a bakers dozen were consigned
to the 2006 winter sale. While Guy Bar has never topped the summer sale, two
offspring of Guy Bar stallion Table Run led all comers in 1979 and 1988, and
two colts out of Table Runs champion daughter Got You Runnin topped
the 1990 and 1991 editions of Washingtons premiere auction.
Through the end of 2005, five runners bred by the
Roberts had earned over $235,000: Funboy ($478,180), Peters Pond
($256,638), Cocktails Anyone ($242,545), Court Shenanigans ($241,924) and
Courts in Session ($239,965). Through October 31, 2006, Courts in
Session, who was Washingtons only graded stakes winner in 2004, has added
a victory and placings in four additional stakes and added another $60,200 to
his totals to bring them to $300,165.
Unfortunately, the Roberts never earned any
breeders awards for 1994 Washington sophomore champion Funboy, as his 13
wins, which featured 11 stakes victories including the $100,000 Canadian
Derby-G2 (Can) and the $100,000 Alberta Derby-G2 (Can) came in Canada
from 1993 through 1997. The son of Gumboy did manage to place in four stakes in
Washington, including the 1995 Budweiser (Longacres) Mile-G3 run at Yakima
Meadows, where he finished a nose behind winner L.J. Express.
Three-time Washington champion Cocktails Anyone, a
daughter of Petersburg, raced in the Roberts red, yellow and green silks.
Her first foal, Free Cocktails, won the $15,000 added No Giveaway Starter
Handicap on Emerald Downs 2006 closing day card.
The Roberts record as breeders first went over
the $100,000 mark in yearly earnings in 1981. After reaching the number five
spot in 1985, the couple ranked in the top five among Washington breeders for
20 years. Through the end of 2005, the 1,256 starters the Roberts have bred,
not including partners, have won 1,352 races and earned $9,210,404. While they
may not attain the $10 million figure by the end of 2006, it is sure to come
within the next couple of years.
In addition to
the many Guy Bar-bred stakes horses they have raised, are those of late
longtime clients Wilbur and Marianne Stadelman (champions Table Hands, Any Time
Girl, A Little Bit Tipsy, Crystal Run) and Dr. John Furukawa (stakes winners
Table Morn, Satin Morn, Rosy Way, etc.)
the Roberts initial Thoroughbred stallion was *Iraan, a 1958 son of
*Tudor Minstrel. He was followed by Wilbur Stadelmans *Aurelius II, a
stakes winner in both is native Argentina and in the U.S., including a win in
the 1966 Longacres Mile, in 1969, and was followed by Dr. John and Lila
Furukawas impressive Longacres Derby winner and future three-time (1981,
1982, 1989) leading Washington sire Table Run and the graded stakes-placed
Gummo son, Gumboy. They also stood Aaron Jones-bred Paskanell and Valsetz.
Stakes-placed Warfield (a son of Roberto now in Texas) and stakes winner Wakiki
Star, a son of Fappiano who stood one season before being sent to New Zealand,
also called Guy Bar home at one point. In the mid-90s they gave a chance to
their homebred Gotta Choice, a horse with top Washington connections (Knights
ChoiceGot You), but who had never had a chance to race due to broken a
With Gumboy now retired, Guy Bar stood two
stallions in 2006. The highly successful Danzig son Petersburg and the
well-bred Mr. Prospector son Ihtimam. Unfortunately, Petersburg was lost just
before Christmas. While Ihtimam will continue to stand stud at Guy Bar,
daughter Cindy is now in charge of booking the stallion.
Today the Roberts broodmare band consists of only
four mares, led by their homebred state champion Cocktails Anyone. In their
heyday, in the early 1990s, the farm owned 35-plus broodmares, stood five
stallions and also owned shares in a few Kentucky stallions. They also have
bred to stallions standing in California.
transitory years between the closing of Longacres and the opening of Emerald
Downs, the Roberts sponsored the Guy Bar Handicap during the Emerald Racing
Association meetings at Yakima Meadows.
Governor Gary Locke appointed Roberts to the Washington Horse Racing
Commission. It proved to be a very busy time for the commission as they tried
to save racing at Playfair in Spokane. Guy served on the commission until he
resigned in 2000. It was interesting being a commissioner. It was
something to do to help, remembered Roberts.
His work ethic, integrity, ability to see the bigger
picture, willingness to be involved and to follow his principles have served
him, his family, his community and the Washington racing industry well.
|Guy Roberts is truly the most
preeminent Thoroughbred horse breeder in Washington State. More importantly, he
is one of the most outstanding men I have been privileged to know in my
lifetime. Guy is sincere, thoughtful the consummate gentleman and family
man. His years of dedicated service to the Thoroughbred community in our state
are unsurpassed. He is truly a wonderful guy.
David Thorner, WTBA president,
fellow Thoroughbred breeder and longtime
Guy Roberts is a smart businessman and incredible horseman .
. . a man of integrity whose word is his bond. Ive owned and
bred several horses in partnership with Guy over the years and whatever Guy
Roberts said he would do, you could take to the bank. I respect and admire
Guy Roberts because he has always been honest and fair in his business
dealings with me and everyone else that I know of . . . traits you dont
find that often anymore.
former WTBA president,
fellow Thoroughbred breeder
and longtime friend
Throughout the many years I have known him, Guy
Roberts has become a very close personal friend. His integrity and many
contributions to the racehorse industry are as varied as they are unparalleled.
Not only is he a sportsman in the truest sense, he is one of the true gentlemen
of our sport. In the vernacular of our industry Guy Roberts is a grade
one classic winner.
WTBA general manager and longtime friend
for a complete list of all the Washington Hall of Fame inductees.