** Below is the Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Southern Playboy. This stallion was inducted into the MFTHBA Hall of Fame on September 9, 2017**
On March 8, 1995, a palomino stud colt was born in West Plains, Missouri, on Clyde Connelly’s farm. This stud colt was sired by Southern Sunrise and out of the mare Missouri Laurel. Missouri Laurel was out of a mare named Playboy’s Annie Laurie. Annie Laurie was one of two mares that served as the foundation for Clyde Connelly’s breeding program. She was out of Zane’s Play Boy, a young promising stallion who only had one foal crop due to his untimely death. Having one of the best fox trots that Clyde has ever ridden, Clyde held Zane’s Play Boy in high regard, and he had been waiting for just the right horse to come along to pay tribute to the “original Play Boy” as Clyde referred to him. On March 8th, Clyde knew that had found the perfect horse to carry on the Playboy name, and he named the stud colt Southern Playboy.
As Clyde started training Playboy, he knew that he was going to be special. When his sister Colleen and her family would come to visit, he would always ask if they wanted to ride Playboy. While just a two year old, he was always gentle and easy to handle. Clyde always wanted them to see and feel how well he fox trotted. His two year old year he won the Mid America Open Futurity Championship and the National Association of Breeders Studs and Geldings class. After seeing Playboy in his preliminary class at the Celebration that year, a gentleman approached Clyde with the offer to buy the young stud. The gentleman’s ailing wife had fallen in love with beautiful stallion, and she just had to have him. The gentleman’s offer was a great one, and Clyde knew that offers like that didn’t come around very often, but Clyde kindly turned down the offer much to the gentleman’s surprise. Clyde just knew that this was a special horse.
Clyde was right. Southern Playboy went on to have an outstanding show career, including winning the National Association of Breeders 5 Year and Over Championship and five World Championships. In 2006, Clyde was approached by another trainer about bringing Playboy out and letting this other trainer show him for the world. Clyde put a lot of thought into this. Clyde had been the only person to ever train and show Playboy. It was a conversation with a good friend that helped Clyde make up his mind. He would take Playboy back to the Celebration, but it would be Clyde who would ride him.
That same year, Clyde decided that he would like to have Playboy shown in the Ladies class, but he didn’t know who to ask. A couple of weeks before the Celebration a friend visited the barn with Samantha Mullin. Clyde had seen Samantha show before, so he asked her if she would like to show Playboy for the World in the Ladies class. Samantha immediately told him no. Just a day or two before the start of the Celebration, Samantha called and asked Clyde if he was serious about her showing Playboy, and he assured her that he was. He told her that she needed to practice, so they arranged a time for Samantha to ride Playboy at the show grounds. Clyde said that it couldn’t have gone any better. After another practice session, Samantha went in and won a large Ladies Studs and Geldings World Championship with at least 30 horses. A couple of nights later, Clyde won the Five Year and Over Open World Championship on Playboy. The stage was set. In 2006, Samantha rode Southern Playboy to the Ladies World Grand Championship and Clyde and Southern Playboy won the 2006 Five Year and Over World Grand Championship, making Southern Playboy a two time World Grand Champion in the same week and the oldest horse to date to win the highest title in the breed at eleven years old.
Southern Playboy has also helped to promote the breed in several ways. Clyde Connelly has allowed a picture of Southern Playboy showing the signature fox trot gait to be featured on one of the promotional banners used across the country to promote the breed and the MFTHBA. Southern Playboy was a part of the 2013 MFTHBA Stallion Tour, and since he won the World Grand Championship in 2006, the MFTHBA has asked past winners to come back and be a part of a parade of past champions. Southern Playboy has been a part of both of those parades.
While Southern Playboy had a highly decorated show career and has helped to promote the breed, his progeny are following in his footsteps. He is the sire of numerous horses who have gone on to have outstanding show careers winning World Grand Championships in the model, performance, and versatility arenas. Southern Playboy’s offspring have been successfully shown by open, amateur, and youth riders. His offspring are finding success outside of Ava as well. Playboy’s Sampson was named the 2008 FOSH Horse of the Year, and he was the first Fox Trotter to ever take home this prestigious award. He was also a top 10 finalist in the 2011 America’s Favorite Trail Horse. His offspring are having success in NATRC and Western Dressage as well.
His progeny are going to be the biggest contribution to the breed. Not only is he a proven producer with numerous progeny winning World Grand Championships and having success in other areas, but his progeny are also producing outstanding offspring. The Thoroughbred Industry recognizes the importance of the broodmare to any offspring’s success. Secretariat is known to be an outstanding sire of broodmares. Not only is Southern Playboy’s offspring continuing to win in the different arenas at Ava (model, versatility, and performance) and beyond, but he is also siring the top broodmares. For example, Southern Playboy’s Golden Maid has already produced three World Grand Champions. The MFTHBA Membership Committee has only recently started tracking this data for the MFTHBA. Since they started tracking this information three years ago, Southern Playboy has been a top Broodmare Sire every year. He was also the only living broodmare sire on the list until this past year. His progeny will continue to carry on his legacy and have an impact for many years to come.
Since the MFTHBA Membership Committee began giving out the Membership Awards in 2012, Southern Playboy has been named a Top 5 Stallion every year that the award has been given, and he is the only stallion to be named on the list every year the award has been given. He was named Stallion of the Year in 2013. He has been named a Top 5 Breeding Sire four of the five years that the award has been given, and he was named Breeding Sire of the Year two of those years.
In recognition for his accomplishments in the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association, his promotion of the breed, and the impact on the breed through his offspring, upon recommendation of the MFTHBA Board of Directors, we welcome Southern Playboy to the MFTHBA Hall of Fame.