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The Industry Loses a Legend: Zippos Mr Good Bar Laid to Rest at 32

We are heartbroken to report the passing of legendary sire, Zippos Mr Good Bar at the age of 32. By Zippo Pine Bar and out of the great mare, Tamara Wess, the 1984 red roan stallion was widely considered to be one of the very best sons of Zippo. “Good Bar” made red roan cool and leaves behind a great legacy which includes industry-changing sons and daughters.

In 1984, Zippos Mr Goodbar was born at the Saul Family Farm in Des Arc, Arkansas. Dean Saul gave him the now famous name of Zippos Mr Goodbar, but his barn name was Roan Boy. “One of my favorite memories I love to tell happened when Good Bar was barely weaned,” Kathie Saul recalls. “He was in a run by himself and Jan Saul’s big lazy Rottweiler entered the run at one end near the roan baby. Well, what happened next was amazing. As that dog walked all the way to the other end, Good Bar followed at a lope never catching up with that dog. He had his hegoodbarad down and eyes on the dog, but never wanted to get too close. He was breathtaking, like no other horse I’d seen before.” (Good Bar pictured right in 1984 as a baby)

After a successful show career, Zippos Mr Good Bar became a leading sire under the Saul family, who later partnered with John and Sondra Narmont of Auburn, Illinois. For the last 18 years, he was owned outright by the Narmonts and stood at their Richland Ranch under the management of John and Karen Boxell. “It was such an honor to be a part of his life and career,” the Narmont family told us on Monday.

zippos mr goodbar johnie boxellAn emotional John Boxell told us, “They were partners and had a special bond,” referring to his wife, Karen’s relationship with Good Bar. “He was definitely my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” Karen fondly states. “He had the heart of gold and more try than ten horses put together. I never thought when we came to Richland Ranch that I would find a friend in such an amazing animal. I feel very fortunate to be able to have had him be a big part of my life for the past 20 years. Good Bar, you will be deeply missed. We love you!” (pictured left with John and Karen Boxell’s daughter, Johnie)

Good Bar has 1,641 registered foals, 936 of them performing. His get has amassed nearly 61,000 points, 20 AQHA World Championships, 17 AQHA Reserve World Championships, 24 national title winners, as well as multiple Congress wins. His offspring has earned nearly $950,000 in AQHA Incentive Fund earnings and over $1.6M in NSBA futurity earnings.

Some of his best-known offspring include Zippos Tiger Bar, Good Version, Good Asset, A Good Machine, Im Up To No Good, Good Terms, The Good Ranger, A Gift So Good, Trace Of Goodbar, Hot Lopin Goodbar, A Good Cookie, Zippos Mr Good Legs, Good For The Ladys, Onlygoodtilmidnight, Goodcowboymargarita, and Zippos Good Stuff.

vitalsignsaregood_jasonmartinHowever, the NSBA Hall of Famer will be most remembered as the sire of the incomparable multiple AQHA World and Congress champion Vital Signs Are Good (pictured right). She is widely considered to be the best mare, if not the greatest horse, in AQHA history.  She has also proven herself to be one of the best broodmares in AQHA history with offspring who have won multiple World and Congress titles themselves.

“This legendary stallion started it all for me, producing Vital Signs Are Good,” former owner, Kristen Galyean told us. “He has left a footprint on the industry that will be remembered forever.”

In 1986, as a show horse, Good Bar was the High Money Horse of the Year earning $45,309.80 as a two-year-old. Steve Heckaman (pictured below) showed him as a two, three, and four-year-old for the Saul family. In 1986, he was Reserve Champion in the two-year-old futurity at the Texas Classic and the next year was Reserve Congress Champion in the Three-Year-Old futurity.

steve heckaman zippos mr goodbarKathie Saul remembers that Joyce Saul passed out cases full of  Mr. Goodbar candy at shows. “She put little stickers on them that read ZIPPOS. Jan Saul, now Jan Lennon, showed him in the non-pro and was always successful. We fixed up a breeding barn and bred the first foal crop right here at home. We loved that horse. His great offspring still amaze us. We all rode one,” Kathie reflects. “Good Bar had a great career and a long life.”

“He was so trainable,” Heckaman recalls. “He would give you a good 30 minutes and then about when he hit 30 minutes, he was ready for a nap. After his nap, he was good to go for another 30 minutes. He was great minded and he was the first horse I ever rode that when I looked down at his shoulder, I could see his front leg come out to the end of his nose. He had a great stride, was a great jogger and had a lot of lift and self-carriage.”

However, Heckaman also recalled that many of his friends and other trainers would make fun of him for showing a red roan. “At the time, sorrels and bays were the hot colors and red roans were definitely not in vogue. Despite being harassed about his color, he definitely was a show horse. No matter how he schooled, whenever he hit the show pen, he was ready to show. I told my friends that if they could feel what he felt like when I rode him, they wouldn’t care what color he was.”

Heckaman knew he had the bloodlines to be a great stallion. His full brother, NSBA Hall of Famer, Mr Zippo Pine won $47,000 at The Texas Classic in the Two Year-Old Futurity and was also a Congress Champion with Jody Galyean.

zippostigerbar troy compton ann admoniousZippos Mr Good Bar was many top trainers’ go-to sire. One of those trainers was Troy Compton who trained and won the Junior Western Pleasure at the 1992 AQHA World Show on Zippos Tiger Bar (pictured right) and the Congress on both him and Good Version. Also, with Im Up To No Good, Compton won every major three-year-old futurity and was Top 5 at the Congress.

“I had three really good ones by him right in a row,” Compton recalls. “My career wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t had all those great Good Bars to show. I had a lot of confidence with them and they were easily trainable. Good Bar improved and gave structure to the Zippo line. He gave more hip to his offspring and he stamped them with his look, color, and a special way of going. He was ahead of his time and I think one of the most important sires ever to grace our industry. Godspeed Goodbar.”

The industry will miss this great stallion and we send our deepest condolences to everyone who has been involved with him over the past 32 years.

Photos © Don Shugart, Shane Rux, K.C. Montgomery, the Boxell and Saul families