** Below is the Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Clyde Connelly. Mr. Connelly was inducted into the MFTHBA Hall of Fame on September 9, 2017**
Clyde purchased his first Missouri Fox Trotting Horse in 1968. This filly, named Nancy Hanks, would start what has, to date, been 49 years of commitment to the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse.
A few years after purchasing his first Fox Trotter, Clyde was employed by Glenn Price in Bonner Springs, KS. Mr. Price was actively involved locally in promoting the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse and was looking for a summer farm hand. With his typical hard working attitude, Clyde asked if it would be ok to stay after work and starting riding a few of the horses on the farm. Watching Clyde’s progress with a few of the geldings he had started working with, Mr. Price offered to take Clyde to a show and that simple offer would start Clyde’s show career.
It would be Clyde’s reputation for working hard that would lead him to being employed by Parlie and Helen Edge of Stockton, Missouri. They were looking for someone to help with the horses, and after some convincing, Clyde accepted. For most of his time with Mr. and Mrs. Edge, Clyde would work from January through August, spending the fall working toward his college degree. During his time working for the Edge’s, Clyde would have the opportunity to work with many fine Missouri Fox Trotting Horses, many of which would help define his future involvement in the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse breed. One horse in particular would have a long term influence on Clyde’s breeding program. Zane’s Play Boy, often referred to by Clyde as the “original Play Boy,” was a sorrel stallion out of Zane Grey and the mare Floating Red. Clyde still talks about the stallion’s fox trot as one of the best he has ever ridden. This stallion would give Clyde his first of many Celebration wins. The duo won the 1975 2 year old Stallions Class. Sadly, just prior to the 1977 Celebration, Zane’s Play Boy was killed. The following year, his first and only foal crop would hit the ground. While small in numbers, it would have a great influence on the breed and Clyde’s breeding program.
In the late 70s, Clyde struck out on his own. Having finished in degree at Kansas State University, he started full time employment but the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse remained an active part of his life. Now in the West Plains area, he began his own breeding program. Two of the mares produced in the Zane’s Play Boy’s only foal crop, Playboy’s Annie Laurie and Playboy’s Nancy Ann, would serve as the foundation for Clyde, with the blood line still heavily influencing Clyde’s stock today. Fellow 2017 Hall of Fame Inductee, Southern Playboy, is a grandson to Playboy’s Annie Laurie.
Through his breeding program, Clyde has supported the growth of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse around the United States. Individuals from around the country have sought out Connelly bred horses to start their own programs or just find a solid riding horse. Horses bred by Clyde have also been extremely successfully in MFTHBA shows winning countless World Champion and World Grand Champion titles. The list would simply be too long to mention.
Through the years, Clyde has been active in various local show circuits; showing and winning numerous awards. Through his 49 year involvement with the breed, Clyde has been involved in standing stallions such as Zane’s Grey Warrior, Zane’s Grey Sam, Zane’s Baron, Bo’s Black Magic, Charming Lad’s Steppenwolf, Go Boy’s Mountaineer and, currently, Southern Playboy and Playboy Remedy.
Throughout his show career, Clyde has bred, raised, trained, exhibited, and shod his show horses, including 2006 Open 5 years and older World Grand Champion Southern Playboy.
Clyde has also focused on giving back to the Association. He has served as a Board Member, Secretary/Treasurer, Vice-President, and President of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.
In recent years, Clyde, along with his wife Samantha, have been active in writing about the history of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse. The pair have spent countless hours researching, interviewing, and writing many stories about the individuals and horses involved in the development of the breed. Most notably, Clyde and Samantha, documented the impact that Ted had on the breed. They presented this research to the MFTHBA Board of Directors and in 2016, Ted was named the Foundation Sire for the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse. Without the efforts of both Clyde and Samantha much of this important history in our breed would be lost.
In recognition for his dedication to the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, the impact of his breeding program, his service to the MFTHBA and upon recommendation of the MFTHBA Board of Directors, we welcome Clyde Connelly to the MFTHBA Hall of Fame.