Day Trips: Poco Bueno's Grave, Vernon

Champion horse remembered in Vernon park


Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Poco Bueno's grave fills a small park south of Vernon. The championship horse was buried in 1969 standing up near the gate to the famous W.T. Waggoner "Three D" Ranch.

The sleek, brown quarter horse was foaled in 1944 and by 1947 was winning best-of-breed championships at stock expos around the country. Then he began winning on the cutting horse circuit for his owner, E. Paul Waggoner (1889-1967). In 1953, he was named an American Quarter Horse Association champion and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1990.


Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The American quarter horse is a breed apart. Originally bred for ranch work, the animals are known for their intelligence and ability to outrun other breeds in the quarter-mile, which gave them their name. Texas ranches like the Waggoner, the King, and the 6666 were instrumental in developing the quarter horse. The horse has a lineage that stretches back to hardy Spanish stock, Mustangs, American Indian ponies, and a touch of thoroughbreds. 

In 1940, horsemen formed the AQHA as a pedigree registry and depository of the breed's history. The AQHA Museum and Hall of Fame in Amarillo presents a mix of historic information about breeders, horses, and the West.


Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Grand champion stallion Poco Bueno passed his good looks and gentle demeanor to 405 registered foals, including 36 champions and three that entered the hall of fame beside him. 

Poco Bueno's grave is northwest of Wichita Falls about eight miles south of Vernon at the intersection of Highway 183/283 and FM 1763. A four-ton monument with a picture of the horse etched into the granite marks the spot. The 520,527-acre Waggoner Ranch sold in 2016 to Stan Kroenke for $725 million.


1,469th in a series. Follow "Day Trips & Beyond," a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Poco Bueno's grave, W.T. Waggoner 3-D Ranch, E. Paul Waggoner, AQHA Hall of Fame, Stan Kroenke

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