Remembering Bob Purks

March 11, 2019

Bob Purks was a very colorful character. He was as country as country could be. He chewed tobacco, enjoyed an occasional shot of Jim Beam and was a no-nonsense type of man. He was from the old school where a hand shake was as good as a contract.

During his King George County high school years, he excelled in FFA and became a VA 4-H All Star.  Producing high yield crops and raising and showing Hereford cattle and swine was his forte. He was accepted at VPI (VA TECH); however, he saw no need in attending because, to him, experience was the best teacher. The National Guard kept him entertained for a number of years. Meanwhile he became an experienced welder while working for the federal government. Also, for a number of years he was a popular farrier. At one time he, Robert Curtis, and Eddie Shelton were the primary farriers in the Fredericksburg area.

Meanwhile he envisioned turning La Grange, the family farm into a horse operation. He along with his parents, traveled to Fort Smith, Arkansas to attend a January 1965 horse auction. For the sum of $240 dollars he purchased 3 fillies. One of the three, Bueno Hopie, became known as the mother of La Grange. Bueno Hopie also sired Bob’s award-winning stud, Hopies Flower. For the next 50 plus years Bob lived and breathed breeding, breaking, training, and showing horses. He often said his goal each year was to sell 100 horses. He missed his goal by 2.

He taught his hundreds of students that it wasn’t the fancy attire or the expensive trailer you had, it was the product that came off the trailer that counted. The time spent in grooming and working with the horse won in the show pen. During those 50 plus years of actively showing quarter horses he showed and won championships in western pleasure, English, halter and pleasure driving. During his years of pleasure driving he was known to haul 6 horses and 5 carts to make certain of a good placing. He was a multi-achiever in everything he did.

Approximately 6 years ago he finally got another avenue of his life straight. He married his long-time high school sweetheart and cherished friend, Judy.  Due to health issues he no longer was able to show; however, he let Judy have and show her “pets”, May Day Sirprise and One Helluva Fella.

Bob was a founding member of the VQHA and member of AQHA. He was very passionate about the operation of VQHA, its mission, and changes that had evolved since this state’s formation. It was his request that this Harris halter be used as a fund raiser for VQHA. 

Bob left this earth as he intended.  He became ill at the World Palomino Show in Tunica, Mississippi in July 2018. That was his last show. He passed on August 5th.  Bob left his funeral in “Bob style”, riding in a horse drawn hearse. 

Happy Trails, Bob Purks!

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