Sonny and Sissie Walker had a goal; raise fast, beautiful Quarter Horses that could perform in the show arena. Purchasing the Bar U Bar Ranch in Skull Valley, Arizona in 1945 was just the beginning of their legacy. Sonny traveled the country finding the fastest, prettiest mares of that time, once going to the Zuni Indian Reservation in New Mexico to purchase a fast little bay mare known for her success in match racing. Old Mae West was hauled to Oklahoma and Walter Merrick’s ranch to be bred to Leo. Red Cent, a 1947 mare by Jess Hank was the mare that really put Bar U Bar on the map. After a successful racing career she produced, Three Percent, AAA AQHA Champion, (Three Bars TB); That’s For Sure (Be Sure Now TB) AQHA Champion sire and World Champion Grandsire; Top Money (Top Deck TB) NCHA Certificate of Ability and Crash Bang, AAA AQHA Champion (Lightning Bar). Crash Bang was the first mare registered with AQHA to earn such an award.
“Walker’s Runners” became known as breeders of numerous AAA AQHA Champions, as well as winners of halter and performance classes. Sonny and Sissie won the Hi Point Exhibitor at the prestigious Prescott Horse Show for many years running; showing as many as twenty-nine horses.
Sonny Walker served as Arizona Quarter Horse Association President in the 1950’s. Both Sonny and Sissie dedicated the ranch, and donated stallion breedings and countless hours to the promotion of the breed. Sissie Walker died in 1996, Sonny in 1998. In 2009, the Bar U Bar Ranch received the coveted AQHA 50 Year Breeders Award. In 2013, Sonny and Sissie were inducted as one into the inaugural Arizona Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.