May 20, 2008 -- The American Quarter Horse Foundation announced today that it received the largest gift from an individual in its history. Clarence Scharbauer Jr. of Midland, Texas, is making a $2 million donation to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. This latest gift is in addition to a previous gift of $500,000 given by Scharbauer and his late wife Dorothy Turner Scharbauer.
Clarence gave a visionary gift to the museum in 1995 for the Scharbauer Gallery of the AQHA Heritage Center & Museum," AQHA Executive Vice President Bill Brewer said. "With this additional extraordinary contribution of $2 million, Clarence once again sets the bar in generosity which underscores his love of the American Quarter Horse and his dedication to the foundation's mission. Clarence has such a keen interest in our heritage that in recognition of his gift we are naming one of the key features of the Grand Hall in his honor as the Dorothy and Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Foundation Bloodlines Chart. We truly appreciate Clarence and his gift."
Scharbauer's family has ranched in Texas since the mid-1880s. Scharbauer has been raising American Quarter Horses for ranch work and racing for more than 50 years. Elected as an AQHA director in 1957, Scharbauer served as the association's 25th president in 1975. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1992.
"There are no words to describe what the American Quarter Horse means to me and my family," Scharbauer said. "I was 15 years old when the association was formed and I've always had an interest. I was raised on a horse. My father was a very good horseman and had very good horses. The American Quarter Horse has meant everything to me."
Scharbauer's first registered horses were stallions he bought from the King Ranch: Royal Peppy by Peppy, and Silver Wimpy by Wimpy P-1. In 1948, he registered 100 of his best mares.
"Wimpy was given the first number for being the grand champion at Fort Worth in 1941," Scharbauer said. "I had the grand champion at Fort Worth in 1955. I also raised the world champion cutting mare of 1954 and '56. American Quarter Horses have been close to me all along, and having good horses and raising good horses is what I enjoy. Our band of mares is one of the best in the country. My youngest son, Chris, still manages them like my father and I did."
While Scharbauer was 17 and attending Texas A&M University, his father died. He went home after one semester at Texas A&M to help the executor of his father's estate and his mother, and then spent about two and a half years in the Navy during World War II. At 21, he took control of his family's business.
In the mid-1950s Scharbauer became interested in racehorses and purchased Double Bid in July 1957. He campaigned the stallion to a racing champion title two years later in 1959. In 1964, Scharbauer won the first Rainbow Futurity with Double Queen, a daughter of Double Bid. He won the 1975 All American Derby with Double Queen's daughter Vim And Vigor, who was Go Man Go's highest earner with $310,204. Runners bred by Scharbauer have earned more than $5.5 million and include three racing champions.
Scharbauer has also been involved in Thoroughbred racing. He purchased Alysheba for his wife and their daughter, Pam. Alysheba won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and was named Horse of the Year in 1988. Dorothy came by her love of horses naturally as her father won the Kentucky Derby in 1959 with Tomy Lee.
"I'm not looking for publicity," Scharbauer said of his historic gift. "I'm just proud that I'm able to do it, and I'm very pleased to do it. My family comes first, and my horses come next."
To learn more about the American Quarter Horse Foundation and its programs, visit www.aqha.com/foundation.