2007 Lifetime Achievement Award
To Mr. Wayne Newton . . . A Tribute
Written by Jo West Lauter
Every theater of life needs its heroes. Without people of outstanding courage and dedication, no community––of locale or focal interest––can enjoy hope for its own highest good or ultimate greatness.
Tonight we pay tribute to Mr. Wayne Newton, a man of uncommon courage and dedication, one of the truest and best-loved heroes in this theater of life that surrounds the Arabian horse.
Tonight, regardless of our personal agendas, preferences or objectives, we stand together in a resounding ovation.
Tonight, even as we acknowledge this giant, we give thanks for all that he is, all that he has been, all that he’ll ever be to the Arabian horse and its own community.
As we begin a necessarily brief summation of Mr. Newton’s legacy, we focus on his entirely unique gift. Unlike any other, Wayne’s contributions to the breed are paramount in two vital areas. Not only has he earned his place at the forefront of a small list of TRUE and long tenured breeders––he is also without equal as THE Ambassador for the Arabian horse the world over.
At this first annual Arabian World Cup, conceived and produced for the purpose of expanding interest in and awareness of the Arabian horse, it is most fitting and poignant to honor the man who–– for nearly half a century––has gone before us in this effort.
Beginning in the 1960’s when he first became interested in Arabian horses, Wayne has rather literally “sung” the praises of this extraordinary animal. We all do this, you might say. Once we’ve fallen in love with these horses and the way of life they represent, every one of us tries to share our passion.
Right . . . but not every one of us is a certifiable superstar with an enduring audience of astonishing proportion. Not every person of fame holds that distinction for any length of time. And it is most unusual for an entertainment icon to carry on an endless love affair with the Arabian horse.
Wayne Newton is one of a kind. He is a man whose depth of passion for his horses and for his music cannot be measured. In two worlds of undeniable transience, he is the rarest of the rare––a man who can and does withstand the fame and the fortune, the pain and the heartbreak of all that life sends his way. And in that withstanding, he goes on.
Take a moment . . . see if you can fill up the fingers of one hand counting the modern-day high-profile celebrities who have weathered even a decade in the limelight. Next, run your own tally of Arabian horse breeders of similar staying power. Now . . . consider the uniqueness of this amazing man whom we honor here tonight.
Having offered this little challenge, it’s only fair that we do as earlier promised and give you at least a glimpse of Wayne Newton’s contribution to the breed. It is virtually impossible to assess the limitless value of his ambassadorship to the general public. Suffice it to say that there has never been and probably never will be any other whose voice on behalf of the breed is so loudly and clearly heard by such a vast and varied contingent of listeners.
Mr. Wayne Newton . . . An abbreviated account of his life as a breeder of fine Arabian horses . . .
Our thanks to the Arabian Horse Times and writer Mary Kirkman for the October, 2006 feature on Wayne Newton that provided us with many of the details that follow. All quotes are from this article. Our thanks also to the AHA for its Data Base, from which additional information was obtained.
Before we go on, let’s establish the definition of a TRUE breeder. The true breeder is one who remains faithful to his or her ideals––being flexible relative to individual and breed improvement while impervious to capricious trends. The true breeder is also one who continues to pursue his or her passion for LOVE––not money––regardless the external variables.
For Wayne Newton, the love affair began in the 1960’s, fast on the heels of his expanding acceptance and success in the field of entertainment. A country boy from Roanoke, Virginia, Wayne began his musical career as a youngster and received his big break from Arabian horse lover and television station owner, Tom Chauncey. For those of us who remember the redoubtable Mr. Chauncey, it should come as no surprise that the young entertainer––who just happened to love horses––soon succumbed to the charms of the Arabian horse.
In the fall of 1969, Wayne made the historic purchase of the wonderful Polish stallion, *Naborr, in partnership with Tom Chauncey. Subsequently he was negotiating with the respected breeders Lloyd and Evelyn Burton and Bill and Janet Lowe to become their partner in the *Naborr son, *Aramus.
More than once, Wayne has said that the extraordinarily beautiful *Aramus polarized his opinion of what an Arabian horse should be and should look like, establishing the basic ideals upon which Wayne has based his breeding program ever since.
In 1970, *Aramus was named U. S. and Canadian National Champion Stallion––AND U. S. National Top Ten Champion in Formal Driving. In 1972, the year that Wayne bought out his partners and became the sole owner of *Aramus, the gorgeous white stallion earned the title of U. S. National Formal Driving Champion. The following year, he won the Canadian National Championship and a U. S. National Top Ten Championship in Park. And, in 1974, capping off his astonishing career, *Aramus was named U. S. National Reserve Champion in Formal Combination.
When Wayne reminisces about *Aramus, he of course recalls the stallion’s show ring triumphs, but he speaks with even more passion about the two indelible characteristics that the great horse passed on––his exquisite head and his exceptional disposition. “They’re all lovers,” Wayne says.
When Wayne was asked: “What has been your greatest triumph? What are you proudest of?” by Mary Kirkman for the Arabian Horse Times he answered: “I would say constantly breeding for temperament and athletic ability. It’s a triumph just to know that our horses will always have great temperaments, and I can trust that.”
“As for what I’m proudest of,” he went on, “that would be seeing the breeding program come to fruition and knowing that all through these years, I’ve stuck to my ideology and standard, and seen it ratified.”
In addition to being beautiful, kind and tractable, Wayne has always wanted his horses to be both pretty and athletic. As a result, horses of his program, and those of his lines bred by others, have been consistently successful in both halter and performance competitions.
Over the years, Wayne has loved, and sometimes lost, a great number of fine horses. His beloved *Aramus was only with us for fourteen years, not nearly long enough. Beginning with his first foal crop in 1968 and culminating with his last in 1976, *Aramus gave us just 304 sons and daughters. Through his descendants, the breed is still blessed with the beauty and wonderful disposition that were this stallion’s hallmarks. Perhaps even more importantly, in the heart of the man who loved him, *Aramus and all that he engendered lives on.
Among the other great stallions that have lent their powerful genetic material to the Wayne Newton breeding program are (in the order of their appearance in Wayne’s herd):
*Derwisz ~ Purchased by Wayne in 1970, *Derwisz was one of the great Polish imports and a Canadian National Park Champion. By Comet, this big trotter was out of the highly regarded *Naborr daughter, Daszawa. Among his notable grandget is the remarkable, multi-national champion gelding, WN Astra whose stellar career has spanned nearly two decades.
*Tinian ~ another Polish import, Tinian was a son of *Negatiw thereby a paternal half-brother to *Naborr. Imported by Wayne in 1971, the handsome and athletic stallion became Canadian National English Pleasure Champion in 1972.
*Pekin ~ In 1976, the *Bandos son, *Pekin joined Wayne’s herd on the recommendation of Jay Stream, adding another line to Skowronek through Negatiw.
*GG Samir ~ In 1977 Wayne, who had long maintained an interest in the Spanish-bred Arabian, acquired a chubby 2 year-old colt not highly fancied by his estimable breeder, Jay Stream. In the years ahead that colt, *GG Samir, would help Wayne establish a new bloodline direction within his breeding program. As time passed, *GG Samir would sire national winners on three continents.
With the focus having shifted to *GG Samir, Wayne sought homes for the Polish stallions where each would be cared for and used to their best advantage.
Arn-Ett Perlane ~ At the 1981 U. S. Nationals, Wayne was smitten by the exotic Arn-Ett Perlane, the horse to whom he has often referred as “a black (or nearly) version of *Aramus. Unfortunately, Perlane wasn’t for sale. It took Wayne nearly seven years to buy out the entire syndicate that owned him and bring him home to Nevada.
Bluesprucetanzeer ~ Meanwhile, Wayne achieved one of his greatest successes as a breeder with his 1982 acquisition of the beautiful Bluesprucetanzeer. Of Egyptian and Domestic heritage, Tanzeer was a complete out-cross to Wayne’s Polish and Spanish horses. None-the-less, the beautiful black bay had the look of Wayne’s horses. AND he represented the perfect way to maintain the phenotype while adding new blood to the gene pool.
Tanzeer became the 1984 Canadian National Reserve Champion Stallion and was Top Ten in the U.S. the following year when Perlane won it all. As happened, Tanzeer turned out to be the superior sire of these two. Among his notable offspring was the triple crown halter winner, WN Ultimate Star. Out of a *GG Samir daughter that was out of a daughter of *Aramus, WN Ultimate Star represents the cross that proved for Wayne nothing short of magic.
Following the tragic loss of Tanzeer in 1991 (when he was only 12), it might have been natural for a breeder of less fortitude to give up all together. Having barely scratched the surface of a truly golden nick, then lost the stallion that made this combining of genetic material possible, his walking away would have been understandable. But Mr. Newton is made of sterner stuff.
AND, then, of course, there were all of his beautiful mares and exceptional young stock of both sexes. The superstar of these was the exotically beautiful, WN Antigua. A total product of Wayne’s breeding, Antigua was a perfect example of all that this breeder had been trying to achieve since the inception of his program. By *GG Samir, she was out of a daughter of *Naborr who was out of one of Wayne’s earliest acquisitions, Sura Joy (by Sureyn), a U. S. National Reserve Champion Formal Driving Champion.
Foaled in 1983, WN Antigua was typical of the *GG Samir offspring, a late bloomer, and an extreme beauty. In 1989, she became Canadian National Champion Mare. In 1989 and 1991, she swept the Scottsdale Open Mare Championships. In 1991 Antigua was also U. S. National Reserve Champion Mare. Led through her open career first by Alfredo Ortega and then by David Boggs who both loved her dearly, WN Antigua entered the ring at Scottsdale with Erin Newton in 1995 and won the amateur title there.
We could go on and on with endless stories of the great horses that have come thus far from Wayne’s efforts–– and about the triumphs and tragedies of the past. But space constraints preclude this luxury. For those of you whose interest has been piqued by this abbreviated account, there the previously mentioned October 2006 Arabian Horse Times feature written by Mary Kirkman is a marvelous recent source of detailed information.
So as not to leave you wondering where Wayne’s heart is today, we will tell you that the beat goes on in his life with the Arabian horse, just as it does on the stage where he remains among the most popular of all performers. Wayne Newton’s Aramus Arabians shows no more sign of flagging than does his five-decade career as an entertainer. Today, his daughter, Erin Newton Mehl, is overseeing breeding operations . . . and together they’re moving purposefully into the future.
And, Wayne’s youngest daughter, the five-year-old Lauren, is following in the footsteps of big sis and dad. Lauren made her show ring debut last year at Scottsdale showing in the lead line class aboard WN I CARA with her father at the lead.
In closing a few last words about this special here’s love for the horses and his life with them.
Having followed his own advice, Wayne has stayed true to his original vision long enough to learn it. In the Arabian Horse Times feature, he told Mary that in many ways, the horses are his motivation to wake up every day, and the reason he looks forward to next month and next year and on and on.
Wayne still personally sees to the foaling whenever he’s at home. This annual rebirth of his dreams helps the horseman and entertainer concentrate on the fact that some of the happiest times in his life have occurred during foaling season––and keeps him from focusing on the sorrows that have crossed his path over the years.
“. . . It brings everything back to God . . .” he says, going on to explain that he has had to rely on his love and his heart, realizing that the best he can do is to keep climbing the mountain . . . and finding enjoyment and reason in the trips to the valley.
We thank you, Wayne, for your ongoing gifts to this world of ours and for your example. From the bottom of our hearts, we offer you a kind and degree of gratitude earned by few, and offered to fewer.
May all of your tomorrows be as grand as the best of your yesterdays. And may the good Lord fill with wind the sails you have hoisted for Him.
Trophy proudly designed & sponsored by Judy Nordquist.