Captain Courage, a colt bred and consigned by Julianna Hawn Holt of Blanco, Texas, and sired by Mr Jess Perry, sold for $415,000 during the first night of the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale on Friday, September 1.

Chad Hart of Royston, Georgia, signed the ticket for Captain Courage, who is out of Broodmare of the Year Corona Chick. Captain Courage’s half-siblings include All American Futurity winner Corona Cash, as well as leading sire Corona Cartel, the sire of 2005 All American Futurity winner Teller Cartel.

Holt is a longtime breeder of racehorses and a perennial sale topper at Ruidoso. She and her husband Peter own the San Antonio Spurs of NBA fame, as well as the largest Caterpillar distributorship in the U.S.

Holt sold five horses on Friday for a total of $737,000. Five more of her horses will sell on Sunday.

Last year, Holt topped the sale with Captain Courage’s half-brother, Valiant Hero, who sold for $500,000 to a partnership of Oklahoma horsemen. Valiant Hero is pictured with Holt and ranch manager Benny Greathouse. Holt was also the leading consignor in 2005 with sales of $944,000 for eight horses.

Julianna and Peter Holt were good friends with the late Fern Sawyer, a legendary cowgirl and a founder of the National Cutting Horse Association. For years, until her death in 1993 at the age of 76, Sawyer proudly led the post parade for the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

It was while she was visiting the Holts at their Cross Triangle Ranch near Blanco, Texas, that Sawyer suffered a fatal heart attack. “It was just the way she would have wanted to go,” said Sawyer’s good friend Pat Ward. “She had just finished riding a good horse and she was surrounded by friends.”

Sawyer (pictured) was notorious for her colorful personality, extravagant lifestyle and liberal use of four-letter words.

“The first time I was ever around Fern, I was intrigued with her, but a little in wonder,” said Buster Welch, 80, a legend himself among cutters and cowboys. At the time (late 1940s), Welch was visiting Sawyer’s husband, Scharbauer Eidson at Eidson’s home in Lovington, New Mexico.

“Everybody was visiting and directly Fern said, ‘By damn, it’s getting hot. I’m going to go put on my bathing suit and go for a swim,'” Welch explained. “And in a little bit she came parading through that room in a little, skimpy bathing suit. I thought that was pretty risqué. Ranch women just didn’t act that way. She was the first liberated woman that I had ever been around.”

Sawyer was raised a rancher’s daughter in Crossroads, New Mexico, in a two-room house without electricity or running water. Her mother, Dessie, made her own soap and washed the clothes, including those of the hired man, on a rub board. All that changed in 1948, when Fern’s father, Uyless Sawyer, struck oil.

“Uyless and Dess gave each one of the girls $50,000, when they hit oil,” remembered Pat Ward, referring to Fern and her sister, Myrl. “Fern went to Neiman’s in Dallas that day and bought a full-length mink, a diamond watch and a Cadillac convertible. She spent $27,000 that day.”

Following that first trip to Neiman’s, Fern Sawyer never looked back. But that’s another story . . .