Profile: Ricky Quinn, Jr.

By Mike Thomas


I first heard about Ricky Quinn, Jr., from a good friend of mine, Jim Sproles, who in my opinion is the greatest farrier that ever lived. He had returned from Montana in 2004 and had observed Ricky work with people and horses. He said: "You need to watch that young man because he is going to be a great clinician and horseman." I got to meet Ricky myself at a horsemanship clinic in Chandler, Arizona in March 2006, when he was traveling with Buck Brannaman.


Ricky really impressed me, as well, and I am not easily impressed by a young horseman unless there is some real substance to him. He definitely had (and has) the talent, reminding me of Buck at the same age. In September 2007, I watched him give a clinic in the Fort McDowell, Arizona area with sponsor Robyn Chileen-Mei, and was quite impressed with his level of maturity and the thoroughness of his teaching beyond his years. His clinic at the same place in October 2008 with Sara at his side was a very good clinic and his teaching skills had improved tremendously during the previous year. Sara Sandusky is just a wonderful young lady whose teaching assistance makes them a tremendous team.


The Early Years

Ricky was born in 1980 in Worland, Wyoming. He gives his mother tremendous credit for encouraging him to develop character, honesty and integrity with horses and people. His mother was involved with the Girl Scouts National Center West, which is where she met Ricky’s father, Ricky Quinn, Sr. The GSA ranch owned a lot of horses, which helped Ricky develop skills with horses and cattle during his early years. His mother and family were later transferred to California to continue working with the GSA.

Ricky has spent over 24 years with horses and cattle and developed an extraordinary work ethic at a very early age. One might say that Ricky was nearly born in the saddle. His High School years were very important to his development. He loved wrestling and football and had a coach who played an important role in helping Ricky maintain the great start his mother had instilled in him.

Ricky Quinn, Sr. was a working cowboy and farrier, and cowboys just often move on. Like Jay Varney said in Tapadero:

"... sometimes a cowboy decides to quit a ranch because one day, he didn’t like how the barn door looked."

It's a culture of nomads in the saddle with a lust to wander in search of the perfect ranch. Ricky and his Dad wound up in Wyoming working on a ranch.

In Ricky’s senior year in Tensleep, Wyoming, his Dad moved on and Ricky stayed. His coach helped him survive while he finished school and worked on ranches to support himself. He even lived in a camper behind a bar in Tensleep, and survived. His coach was his real mentor during these years, a real partner. Ricky knew then that he didn’t want to be just a wandering cowboy.


Life-Changing Decision!

Ricky went to a Buck Brannaman clinic in Sheridan, Wyoming in his senior year, and from the first day, he knew where his life was going. He has never turned back or weakened. He survived many trials that a lesser young man might not have. He contacted Mary Brannaman about a job after graduation. The Brannamans didn’t have anything at the time but offered to put him on the waiting list. Buck had taken a liking to Ricky and in a short time, Ricky was contacted about a job at McGinnis Meadows Ranch in Libby, Montana. Ricky followed up and Shayne Jackson said he would hire Ricky but Ricky said "OK but I will there as soon as possible after graduation". Ricky, in his 1972 Ford pickup, arrived at the ranch non-stop within 48 hours of graduation, eating out of Rubbermaid containers and the scraps he had left, in May, 1999.


McGinnis Meadows Ranch

Shane Jackson is the owner of McGinnis Meadows Ranch (www.mmgranch.net) and he, along with Buck Brannaman, have established an amazing horse program with a real working ranch. Guests who come to the ranch don’t just ride dude horses. It is more of a "baptism by fire", with total immersion in the life of horses and ranching. The hours and teaching are very intensive. This is no place for the faint-hearted Dude!

Buck Brannaman and Shane Jackson have built an incredible horse program with the ranch horses. Selected guests who start in the horsemanship programs really get more than they paid for with a very high-level program of horsemanship and ranchmanship for all students/guests. Ricky developed his horsemanship to higher and higher degrees in near total immersion with Buck Brannaman guiding the way. Buck became his second real mentor. Ricky is very loyal to Buck and Ray Hunt. Tom and Bill Dorrance were very elderly during these years so Ricky relied on Buck and Ray Hunt from the Inner Circle of the Trinity of Great Horsemen to guide him during those years of incredible exposure.

During the next nine years, Ricky worked extremely hard on his horsemanship and vaquero-style roping and handling of livestock and people.


Time to move on…

Ricky had been spent years acquiring his teaching and people skills at McGinnis Meadows and on working ranches in Wyoming, and when he decided to move on to the future (Cowboy Term: "Crack Out"), he had the blessings and support, as he does today, of Buck Brannaman and Shane Jackson. That, my friends, speaks loudly of Ricky’s past, present and future! Ricky does not burn bridges behind him; he maintains bridges to the past and works hard on building bridges to the future.

For me it is a wonderful thing to observe the best from the Trinity of Horsemen of the Inner Circle being passed to current and future generations of great horsemen and horsewomen.


Sara

I don’t know what rock or tree Sara was hiding under or behind when Ricky met her, but he found a real winner! Sara complements Ricky in his clinics in a very wonderful way that words cannot do justice to. Her horsemanship and people talents blend perfectly with Ricky's, and people really love her. They have a perfect untainted harmony that the rest of us can only hope to find.



Friends:

Watch this young couple and don’t miss a Ricky Quinn clinic! Like Jim Sproles said in 2004: “You need to watch this young man, he is going to be a great clinician and horseman!”

Jim: I couldn’t agree more!


Your Friend,

Mike (Himself)