Colonels Smokingun Dies at Age 20
Legendary Paint reining performer and sire Colonels Smokingun died July 8 due to complications of laminitis.
More commonly known as “Gunner,” the 1993 sorrel overo stallion was bred by Eric Storey of Henagar, Alabama. Gunner was sired by Colonelfourfreckle (QH) and out of Katie Gun (QH).
Colonels Smoking Gun (Photo by Jessica Hein/Paint Horse Journal)
Pam and Paul Rohus took Gunner to Clint Haverty, who brought him along and competed him as a 3-year-old to win the 1996 the Open Reining Futurity at the APHA World Show as well as the reserve championship at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity. Under the ownership of Debra and Kim Sloan, they gathered another APHA world championship in 1997 in Junior Reining and tied in 1998 for reserve in the National Reining Breeders Classic. In 2001, he won the United States Equestrian Team Open Reining Championship with Bryant Pace in the saddle.
His accolades earned him immortalization as a Breyer model horse in 2001, and NRHA inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2003. Earning nearly $175,000 during his competitive career, Gunner also earned a Register of Merit and Superior in reining from APHA.
Gunner’s legacy as a top Paint Horse continued in his second career as a breeding stallion. In 2005, Tim and Colleen McQuay bought Gunner and stood him at their McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas, where he lived out his life.
“Gunner was a sweet, happy horse, and when I look at all he has given us, I can only be grateful for the time we shared with him. Losing him leaves another hole in our hearts,” Colleen said.
As a sire, Gunner quickly proved his ability to pass along both his great temperament and athleticism. To date, his get have earned more than $5 million in NRHA earnings, making Gunner one of only five stallions—and the only Paint Horse—to reach the milestone.
The sire of 674 registered Paint foals, Gunner’s top performers include 2010 World Equestrian Games individual gold medalist, Colonels Nite Special [Gunners Special Nite] and Gunnatrashya, winner of the 2009 NRHA Futurity and the 2010 NRHA Derby Open champion.
Most recently at the 2013 NRHA Derby, his offspring Always Gotyer Guns Up won the Non Pro championship and HF Mobster won the Open championship. Gunner is also the sire of 11 APHA world champions and 10 APHA reserve world champions.
“We appreciate everyone who supported Gunner through his career—he had a great team,” Tim said. The McQuays plan to bury the stallion on their property next to Hollywood Dun It, the famous Quarter Horse stallion they stood until his death 2005.
Click here to read a press release about Gunner's death issued by Pro Management, Inc.