No Percheron breeder realized greater influence than T.B. Bowman, Boone, Nebraska, in designing the pattern of the Percheron breed that we know today. This should come as no surprise, for 75 stallions bred by the Bowman family headed 75 herds of pedigreed Percherons in Canada and the United States by 1942. The majority of them were sons of Koncarcalyps.
In 1875, T.B. Bowman, a boy of 17, rode a saddle horse into the new state of Nebraska with little more than clothes in his saddle bag. Given his tender age, his older sister had to file for the 160-acre homestead that he soon owned. By 1900 this property had grown into a ranch of over 1,000 acres in size. Cognizant of the need for improved draft horses to open the new state, following his visit to Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition, Bowman gathered all information he could on the Percheron breed that had captured his eye.
Although he had owned three pedigreed Percherons earlier, Bowman purchased Ocean (Imp), a 9-year-old French-bred stallion in 1908; together with Coral, a 3-year-old daughter of Corolian (Imp). In 1909 Bowman registered his first home-bred Percheron. This was Coralena, a chestnut Ocean (Imp) filly foaled by Coral. From this modest start, T.B. Bowman assembled a herd of pedigreed Percherons that numbered over 200 head when the United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941.
Few Percheron breeders gave greater thought to the selection of their purchased seed stock than did T.B. Bowman. No known breeder of purebred Percherons gave greater attention to what home-bred Percheron stallion was bred to what home-bred Percheron mare in the years that followed, for T.B. Bowman never bought another registered Percheron after purchasing Kontact (Imp) at Chicago's 1916 International Livestock Exposition.
Prior to the birth of Coralena, T.B. Bowman started collecting a herd of 20 well-bred broodmare prospects. Lenora, a Corolian (Imp) daughter, that carried a Calypso (Imp) colt; Maizelle, a Calypso (Imp) daughter; and Babine, an Olbert (Imp) daughter, were bought from H.G. McMillan and Son, Rock Rapids, Iowa. Two Ermite daughters bred in France–-Heloise (Imp) and Hysope (Imp)–were purchased from Max Wolf, Albion, Nebraska. Helen Helix and Hilda, daughters of Helix (Imp), were purchased from Brown and Walker, Clarinda, Iowa; while Marcella, a Superior daughter, was purchased from James Loonan and Son, Waterloo, Iowa. Carchepet, the last Percheron female Bowman bought, was a Carnot (Imp) daughter that W.S. Corsa, White Hall, Illinois, had bred.
While the 20 foundation mares Bowman purchased also included Imprecation (Imp) and Intitule (Imp) daughters, the 11 females listed were the cornerstones of his successful closed breeding program.
Today, the serious Percheron breeder would question why T.B. Bowman was so interested in buying broodmare prospects sired by Calypso (Imp), Olbert (Imp), Helix (Imp) and Carnot (Imp), in particular.
Calypso (Imp), the Reserve Grand Champion Stallion at Chicago's 1900 International, was not the largest 3-year-old Percheron stallion. However, it is written, "He was one of the best, certainly as good a one as has ever been exhibited in the United States. Being less than 60 days in the country, he is not in high fix but he does not need it." While Calypso (Imp) wasn't a horse of the widest pattern, he was beautifully formed and balanced throughout. His style, quality and action were unsurpassed.
Olbert (Imp), was Reserve Grand Champion Stallion at Chicago's 1905 International. An upstanding Percheron for his time, this impressive grey horse stood over 17 hh. H.G. McMillan and Son had purchased Olbert (Imp) to increase the size of the colts their Calypso (Imp) daughters were foaling. While the offspring Olbert (Imp) sired had the desired size, they were rough colts, that took three to four years to round out. Babine, Bowman's daughter of Olbert (Imp), was one of his leading broodmares.
Helix (Imp) had been the Grand Champion Stallion at Chicago's 1910 International. Owned by Taylor and Jones, Williamsville, Illinois, he lacked the quality, style and action of Calypso (Imp). However, this correct sire had a long, steady stride, so needed in improved workhorses. Every inch a draft horse, his size and massive appearance drew praise.
Carnot (Imp) was Grand Champion Stallion at Chicago's 1909 International. From the moment he came down the gangplank and stepped onto American soil, this honor-laden, French-bred stallion was the center of attraction. Minutes before trotting center ring at Chicago, he sold to W.S. Corsa, White Hall, Illinois. A Percheron stallion of medium size Carnot (Imp) was a proud horse; one of great character. Clean about his underpinning, few Percherons flashed their steel-shod bottoms as he did. He became one of America's most colorful Percheron sires. When Bowman bought Carchapet, a Carnot (Imp) daughter, his offspring were commanding a handsome price.
While Bowman slowly but methodically collected his foundation mares, he was also searching for a breeding horse to replace Ocean (Imp), whose two daughters–Coralena, out of Coral and Iona, out of Heloise (Imp)–he retained. Iona became a family favorite.
In 1911, T.B. Bowman bought Houleux (Imp), a massive Percheron stallion that W.S., J.B. and B. Dunham, Wayne, Illinois, had brought to the United States. Shown that fall at Chicago, a livestock reporter ringside described Houleux (Imp) as "a good black from Nebraska, nearly the equal of the four stallions that stood above him in his correct way of covering the ground."
Calyps, the Calypso (Imp) colt Lenora foaled in 1913, grew into a Percheron stallion of the size, stamp and quality of his sire. Black in color, he had a stripe, right front foot, right half of his left front foot and left hind foot that were white. Colorful that he was, Calyps was retained as a junior herd sire.
In 1914, Heloise (Imp) gave birth to Bowman's first Houleux (Imp) colt. An exciting foal, he captured Bowman's sharp eye once he got to his feet. Registered as Houleux B, he successfully bred a number of mares as a 2-year-old. A big, upstanding stallion, Houleux B pasture-bred a court of Bowman mares for 11 successive years, leaving a wealth of big, upstanding offspring.
Anxious to ensure the horses he was breeding commanded a solid market, Bowman exhibited two of his Percherons at Chicago's 1916 International, then considered the North American livestock industry's final court of appeal. Both entries were daughters of Carnot (Imp), then recognized as the leading Percheron sire in America. Carchepet was a Corsa-bred filly, while Hildecar was the foal Hilda was carrying when she was purchased. Both fillies placed in the short leet of their class.
While at Chicago, Bowman bought Kontact (Imp), who placed fourth in the Aged Stallion class, from George Frericks and Sons, Gilman, Illinois. Well known in breed circles, Kontact (Imp) was a proven sire, that had been Grand Champion Stallion at the 1915 and 1916 Kankakee Inter-State Fair. Sadly, this exciting sire, who cost Bowman $7,000, left but two foal crops. Fortunately, the foals Kontact (Imp) sired included an exciting Carchepet filly, that Bowman registered with the name Koncarness.
In 1900, Alex Clark, a Scottish immigrant, was given charge of Bowman's Percherons. He was a mentor to Bowman's seven enthusiastic children who took more than a passing interest in their father's horses. While all of the Bowman family's Percherons were registered in T.B. Bowman's name, each Bowman youngster owned 50% of a given number of them. However, they could only buy or trade their 50% ownership with their six siblings, which sharpened each youngster's eye for a good horse and a good business deal. Purportedly, "one brother gave another brother $450 for Dorothy B before the filly was three months old."
Under Alex Clark's watchful eye, these youngsters looked forward to showing the family's Percherons on an irregular basis, albeit at Denver's National Western Stock Show, Wichita's Kansas National Livestock Show, Lincoln's Nebraska State Fair and Chicago's International Livestock Exposition.
The Grand Champion Mare at the 1916 Nebraska State Fair was Helen Helix, who was the Reserve Grand Champion Mare in 1917. Dorothy B was Reserve Grand Champion Mare at Nebraska's State Fair in 1916; Reserve Junior Champion Mare as a 2-year-old at Chicago. She returned to Chicago in 1919, where she topped the broodmare class. In 1920 Dorothy B was Grand Champion Mare at the Kansas National Livestock Show.
In 1920, Houleux II was Grand Champion Stallion at Denver's National Western Stock Show; Calyps was Grand Champion Stallion at the Kansas National Livestock Show; while Kommander was the Reserve Grand Champion Stallion.
Given the success his home-bred Percherons achieved in the show ring, Bowman was soon regarded as one of America's leading Percheron breeders. While fewer horses were shown as Bowman advanced in age, he advertised his breeding stock in a number of publications with great success, The Percheron Review in particular.
In 1926, Koncarness, Bowman's Kontact (Imp) mare out of Carchapet, gave birth to a black horse colt, sired by Calyps. "A hard luck foal from the beginning," Koncarcalyps "developed navel and joint ill." Fortunately, Bowman had a cure for this disease. A product of Bowman's own making that he marketed with the trade name "Jointine." The exciting horse colt, whose mother had placed 2nd at Chicago as a broodmare, responded to the treatment Guy Bowman administered.
A Percheron stallion of exceptional quality, Koncarcalyps was never trotted before the public in a show ring. Year after year, starting in 1929, this 16.3 hh Percheron sire, who weighed short of 2,000 lbs., pasture-bred a select court of Bowman's mares. Although a number of Bowman's tightly home-bred stallions held court, i.e. Houleux B, Houleux II, -Kommander, Konducteur, Konolian, Mazeur and Defender; Koncarcalyps remained the Bowman family's leading Percheron sire until 1937.
Although far from upstanding, Koncarcalyps was a stallion patterned like the Percherons that capture the top dollars today. However, the Bowman mares, other than those by his sire and paternal grandsire, Calyps and his sire Calypso (Imp); were the daughters of some of the larger Percheron stallions of their time, i.e. Olbert (Imp), Helix (Imp), Kontact (Imp) and Houleux (Imp). With few exceptions, the Koncarcalyps foals from the daughters and granddaughters of these French-bred stallions, grew into Percherons of greater height than their sire with less width than their mothers.
Intelligent foals with lots of snap, they grew into Percherons whose heads were up, exhibiting a wealth of breed character. They were Percherons with body, bone and bottoms; coupled with style, quality and action. They were Percherons built to wear harness. In the years following T.B. Bowman's death, April 27, 1933; the tightly-bred offspring of Koncarcalyps sparked a fast trade that lasted until the United States entered World War II.
While Guy Bowman retained Defender and Karnot to replace their sire, the other Bowman-bred sons of Koncarcalyps were sold to a growing number of North America's leading Percheron breeders: Landmark to Ira E. Rusk, Wellington, Kansas; Carcellus to Dr. Hilmar Rasmusson, Balaton, Minnesota; Kommander to E.B. Shaver, Wichita, Kansas; Kambria to Woods A. Caperton Jr., Carmel, Indiana; Koncarcalyps II to J.K. Robinson, Westchester, Pennsylvania, to mention but six. Sadly, the offspring of these six stallions, like the offspring of so many sons of Koncarcalyps, seldom surface in the extended pedigree of Percherons registered today.
Fortunate for today's Percheron breed, Koncarcalyps had four sons whose offspring survived the 1950s and 1960s, when North America's draft horse market collapsed. Three were Bowman-bred sons of Koncarcalyps–Kaptiff, Enchanter and Rookwood Grandeur. The fourth was Koncarhope, a Koncarcalyps son bred by Victoria Dreyfus, Madrey Farm, Brewster, New York.
Kaptiff was a tightly-bred son of Koncarcalyps that Guy Bowman sold into Canada. Purchased by the University of Alberta, Edmonton, he headed their Percheron breeding program. Shown at Calgary's 1938 Spring Horse Show, Kaptiff was the Grand Champion Stallion. He topped a stellar entry of 76 Percheron stallions.
Kedella U.A., a Kaptiff son, sold into Eastern Ontario, where he bred a large court of Percheron mares for several years. Today, Kedella U.A. can be found in the extended pedigree of a number of Percherons breeding in Ontario's Ottawa Valley.
Enchanter was the Koncarcalyps son that was purchased by William R. Skidmore, Pine Tree Farms, McHenry, Illinois. Skidmore, purportedly, was Al Capone's bookkeeper, who fielded Enchanter at Chicago's 1938 International, where he was the Grand Champion Stallion. No Percheron stallion received more press coverage than Enchanter, for the headlines in Chicago's newspapers the following morning stated in heavy black type, that the Mob had lifted the top Percheron honors at Chicago's International.
"A powerful transmitter of his own sterling qualities," Enchanter bred a large court of Percheron mares while at Pine Tree Farm. Mares of different bloodlines, they were by a host of different Percheron sires. However, Enchanter's stay was short. The Pine Tree Percherons were dispersed at Chicago's International, November 25, 1940. The public auction drew a large crowd of horsemen.
The Pine Tree sale catalog didn't list Enchanter. I can find no evidence in Volume 25 of the Percheron Stud Book of America, that Enchanter sired a registered Percheron foal from 1942 to 1944, inclusive. Pine Tree Farms must have retained Enchanter as a lawn ornament, one often seen by members of Chicago's mob, who often visited Pine Tree Farm. Purportedly, they would amuse themselves by tossing dollar bills over the fence to excited school children in an adjacent school yard.
In 1945, Enchanter was purchased by Fred Gwinn, Gwinn Stock Farms, Noblesville, Indiana. In his hands, he bred with success, for Gwinn owned a number of the breed's better mares. While three of his Enchanter daughters sold to the Argentine for $1,700; Gwinn dispersed the 25 Percherons he still owned on March 1, 1948. Sadly, the ten top Percherons sold at this sale averaged just $218. The draft horse market in America was collapsing.
Gilbert E. Arnold, Arnoldwold Farms, Grenville, Quebec, "who expressed a liking for the Koncarcalyps son," bought Enchanter. On arriving in Eastern Canada, Enchanter bred a number of Percheron mares each following spring until his death.
Today, sons and daughters of Enchanter often surface in the extended pedigree of Percherons bred in America's Midwest and in the Canadian province of Quebec. Arnoldwold Enchanter III, a Quebec-bred son of Enchanter, sired Daleview Empress, the sixth dam of today's record-breaking sire, Center View Eclipse.
Numerous Nebraska-bred sons of Koncarcalyps sold into Canada, where Percherons of their type and breeding were viewed with favor. No Nebraska-bred Percheron stallion has had a greater influence on the design of today's Percheron breed than Rookwood Grandeur.
While Rookwood Grandeur was bred by Guy Bowman, he was foaled the property of Professor C.F. Curtis, Ames, Iowa, who had purchased his mother while in foal to Koncarcalyps. Purchased by James Drewry, Mathers, Manitoba, Rookwood Grandeur caught the sharp eye of Carl Roberts, St. Alphonse, Manitoba, following his arrival in Western Canada. Roberts didn't rest until the young Nebraska-bred sire was in his possession. Widely respected in Percheron circles both sides of the 49th parallel, Carl Roberts owned two of the best Percheron mares then found in Canada–Monarch's Ruby and Monet.
Monarch's Ruby had been Grand Champion Mare at the 1932 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF), where her impressive sire, Monarch, had been Grand Champion Stallion in 1926, 1927 and 1929.
Monet, her daughter, had been Grand Champion Mare at the 1933, 1934, 1937 and 1938 RAWF. This honor-laden mare's American-bred sire was Rolaet, a full-brother to Jerome, the Grand Champion Stallion in 1924 at Chicago's International Livestock Exposition and to Sir Laet, the Grand Champion Stallion in 1928 and 1929. In 1942, both Monet and Monarch's Ruby foaled a horse colt sired by Rookwood Grandeur. Monet's foal was registered as Riverbend Monkoncarlaet.
A magnificent specimen of the Percheron breed, Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was an upstanding stallion, which was cause for little surprise, for Monet was one of the big Percheron mares of her time. Purchased by George Fraser, Tate, Saskatchewan, Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was fitted and shown at the 1947 Regina Exhibition, where he was Grand Champion Stallion. That November, Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was Reserve Grand Champion Stallion at the RAWF. Before leaving Toronto, Jonathan Fox Jr., Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, negotiated his purchase. A check for $2,000 was written in favor of George Fraser, who also took possession of Dragano, his Iowa-bred stallion.
Shown by Jonathan Fox Jr., Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was Grand Champion Stallion at Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina in 1948. In the following years, this big black stallion sired a wealth of Percheron seed stock registered with the "Justamere" prefix.
In 1952, Agriculture Canada was in search of a Percheron stallion to replace Koncarhope, the Koncarcalyps son bred by Victoria Dreyfus in New York. When approached by Agriculture Canada, Jonathan Fox Jr. offered to sell Riverbend Monkoncarlaet, whose services were increasingly limited at Justamere. Undaunted by the price, Agriculture Canada purchased Riverbend Monkoncarlaet and stationed him at the Federal Experimental Farm, Lacombe, Alberta, where he was offered for public service. For seven years Riverbend Monkoncarlaet bred a number of the top Percheron mares then in Alberta, siring a wealth of young seed stock. In 1959, Agriculture Canada traded their veteran sire for Karletta Emblem, a son of Koncarhope owned by the Keleman Brothers of Punnichy, Saskatchewan.
While breeding his first Saskatchewan mare in 1959, Riverbend Monkoncarlaet suffered a heart attack. He fell while covering Justamere Elnora, dead when he hit the ground. To the surprise of Jonathan Fox Jr., who had trucked Justamere Elnora to the Keleman Farm to be bred, she conceived. On April 1, 1960, Justamere Elnora foaled Justamere Par Excellent, who was the Grand Champion Stallion in 1964, 1966 and 1969 at the RAWF.
While the sons of Koncarhope also influenced the design of today's Percheron breed, their influence was surpassed by the influence of Riverbend Monkoncarlaet's sons: One son in particular–Justamere Showtime.
Justamere Showtime was foaled in 1956. This son of Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was foaled by Justamere Perfection, who was tightly-bred. She was a daughter of Dragano, as was Justamere Mona, her mother. This big, upstanding colt, whose high head was attached to a neck of good length, stood on lots of leg. His tight hocks were high above the ground. Sold as a raw yearling to a rancher at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Allen Bexson, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, had occasion to see him a couple years later. Before leaving Meadow Lake, he purchased the lofty young sire prospect who was thin as a rail. Fitted and shown in 1961, Justamere Showtime was the Grand Champion Stallion at Calgary. However, at Edmonton the following week, he was the Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. Justamere Showtime had lost over 100 lbs. during the two weeks away from home. Fielded the following year, Justamere Showtime was the Grand Champion Stallion at both Calgary and Edmonton. Shipped by rail to Toronto's RAWF that November, Justamere Showtime failed to impress the judge, who sought Percheron stallions more traditional in type and height. While at Toronto, Allen Bexson made it known Justamere Showtime was for sale. While the Hughes Brothers, Stroud, Ontario, expressed an interest, they owned Delreo Major, another Riverbend Monkoncarlaet son that had been bred in Alberta. Years later, Bill Hughes stated, "Our failure to purchase Justamere Showtime when we had the opportunity was the greatest mistake we made breeding Percherons!"
In 1954, Earl James and Bruce Roy, two Percheron breeders in Alberta, offered to stand Justamere Showtime at Balzac, Alberta, for the breeding season. They informed Allen Bexson, his 18 hh black sire would attract a rewarding court of mares. The venture proved successful, for Percheron breeders both north and south of Calgary bred the better mares they owned to Justamere Showtime.
The mares Justamere Showtime bred in Alberta gave birth to a crop of exciting Percheron foals the following spring. Late summer, Gordon Young, South Valley Percherons, Cayley, Alberta, paid Allen Bexson a visit. He purchased Justamere Showtime for $750. In Gordon Young's possession, Justamere Showtime bred few outside mares, other than those at South Valley farm. However, the few outside mares he did breed foaled such popular sires as Lucasia Sir William for Bill Lucas and Son, Lucasia Ranches, Claresholm, Alberta, and Highview Dragano for Donald Swanston, Highview Percherons, High River, Alberta. Young's South Valley offspring brought buyers from across North America to his farm. In Young's care, Justamere Showtime lived to the age of 26.
Just as Koncarcalyps had changed the pattern of the Percherons bred in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, his great-grandson Justamere Showtime changed the pattern of those being bred today. Percheron stallions of the Koncarcalyps sire line dominate today's Percheron. This was manifest at the 2020 Mid-America Draft Horse Sale held at Gifford, Illinois, where seven offspring of Center View Eclipse sold for a record average of $31,750.
This Pleasant View King son tracks through the top-cross of his extended pedigree to Koncarcalyps, also tracks to Konona K, a Bowman-bred daughter of Koncarcalyps in his extended pedigree's distaff. Konona K is the 10th dam of Center View Eclipse.
A wag once said, "What once went around, will once again come back around!" Konona, the mother of Konona K, was by Kontact (Imp); while Konona's mother, Iona, was a daughter of Ocean (Imp), foaled by Heloise (Imp). These females numbered among T.B. Bowman's favorite Percheron mares.
While foaled close to a century ago, Koncarcalyps remains one of the most influential cornerstones of the Percheron breed we know today, if not the most influential.
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