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Legendary Breeder Betty Weldon Passes

Betty Goshorn Weldon, 85, of Jefferson City, Missouri, died Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007.  The former ASHA director was owner of one of the most successful breeding operations in American Saddlebred history, Callaway Hills Stable.  Her contributions to the breed are countless.  An accomplished businesswoman, Weldon also had a remarkable career as a publisher. 

Callaway Hills was born when Weldon paid a visit to Kentucky to purchase her first Saddlebred, Fourth Estate (BHF), from George Gwinn.  The mare was bred to CHWing Commander.  Callaway’s Johnny Gillen was the result.  Her second horse, CHKate Shriver (BHF), won the 1949 and ’50 Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship.  Breeding success followed as CHKate Shriver’s (BHF) full brothers quickly became sires, including Ridgefields Denmark, Clarma and Oman’s Desdemona Denmark.  However, the breeding match of Callaway’s Johnny Gillen and Kate Shriver proved to be the historic combination that made Callaway Hills what it is today.  CHWill Shriver was the foal of that combination in 1966.  After claiming the 1976 Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship, the stallion went on to become one of the most prolific sires ever.  CHWill Shriver sired 21 World’s Champions and 17 broodmares of World’s Champions.  To date, Callaway Hills has bred winners of a total of ten World’s Grand Championships, which is tied with Dodge Stables/Castleton Farm as the most in the 104-year history of the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show.

During her lifetime, Weldon gave generously of herself to the advancement of the American Saddlebred, including donating young horses to 4-H clubs, and she was instrumental in the U.S. Postal Service issuing the American Horses series of stamps, which included the American Saddlebred. 

Weldon’s altruism was not limited to Saddlebreds or the horse industry as she served on boards and committees at colleges and universities, hospitals, many charitable organizations, as well as city and state government agencies.  In the 1980s, she was appointed to the five-member Missouri Horse Racing Commission by then Governor John Ashcroft.

Weldon was the first woman in the United States to found a television station when she started KRCG in 1954, which became a CBS affiliate in 1955 and remains as such today.  She sold the station in 1966 and focused more on newspaper publishing.  In addition to the Jefferson City News Tribune, she was owner of the Fulton Sun and California Democrat

Weldon is survived by one son, Frank Gifford Handy; two daughters, Sally Weldon Proctor and Lenore “Tony” Weldon; and one granddaughter, Isabelle Lenore Brooks.  She was preceded in death by her husband, William H. Weldon. 

Funeral services for Mrs. Weldon will be at 1 p.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City. Freeman Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Courtesy of ASHA.  

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