Hall of Fame
Bill and Elaine Speight grew up in the Rocky Mountain House area. They raised a family of four boys and were very involved in the family oilfield construction business until fate stepped in and they were introduced to the world of cutting horses by the late George Oxtoby.
The adventrue began in 1977 with the creation of Will-O-Lane Stables and the purchase of two Doc’s Hotrodder offspring – the filly, Hotrodder Coke and the yearling stallion, Conquest Bars.
Bill trained the two horses. His first experience at judged cutting competitions was at the Pacific Coast 3 Year Olds Cutting Futurity in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. He finished 17th in the Open and 6th in the Non-Pro on Hotrodder Coke. The following year he returned to win the Non-Pro on Conquest Bars.
In 1980, two important events happened for the Speights. Bill became a professional trainer and they purchased the yearling colt, Hotrodder Disco. Disco’s list of accomplishments include his ranking as the all time leading money earning sire at the Canadian Supreme, with offspring earning over $150,000 (based on 1998 records). His loss in 1995 was a great blow to Bill and Elaine not only as a sire but also as a once-in-a-lifetime horse.
Elaine has been a true partner in the success of Will-O-Lane Stables. She handles the office duties, runs the household and has introduced the Western Horse Sale, which continues to grow and offer good working horses, especially young cutting prospects to the public. Elaine also is a tremendous ‘showman’ and has gained notoriety and respect in the cutting horse world. She has futurity wins, Alberta and Canadian championships, and International awards. However, the one ride that defines her talent and the talent of the horses she has ridden was the bridleless class at the 1993 Canadian Cutting Horse Breeders Stakes. She and her favourite gelding Hot Bar Con had won both go-rounds and the finals of the Aged Event with a consistent score of 147. They entered the Bridleless and won the class with an amazing 151!
Bill and Elaine introduced their sons to cutting as well. Their eldest son, Daryl spent one season competing and won a CCHA year-end event. Wil, their second son, has become a top trainer and showman and lives with his family in Boulder, Colorado. Their third son, Troy never had the opportunity to compete. He lives down the road from Will-O-Lane with his wife and two small children. Their youngest son, A.J., had tremendous success in the youth and in the Non-Pro class at the weekend shows and in the futurities. One of his greatest accomplishments was winning the National High School Rodeo Championship in Shawnee, Oklahoma on the great gelding Lena Bar Mico. In the world of horses there is always a risk that something might happen and that it might happen to the best. A tremendous blow to A.J. and the Speight family was the loss of this promising young horse. Today A.J. is busy with his career at Rainbow Ford and lives down the road from Bill and Elaine with his wife and young son who just might carry on the tradition!
Throughout the development of their own careers and business Bill and Elaine were very involved in the organization of the Alberta Cutting Hose Association (ACHA) and the Canadian Cutting Horse Association. Their philosophy being, that it is the responsibility of each member to help the associations grow, to attract new interest to the sport and to conduct the business of the association with intergrity and fairness; always trying to determine what is best for the sport as a whole and to act accordingly.
Bill became president of the ACHA and Elaine became secretary in 1990-1992 and 1994. They continued as ACHA directors until 2000. Throughout this time they have also been involved as directors of the Canadian Cutting Horse Association, the Cutting Horse Breeders’ Association of Canada Cutting Stakes and the Canadian Supreme. Both Bill and Elaine have spent countless volunteer hours in the administration of these associations and with the planning and implementation of various events and functions. Bill was very involved in the establishment and the eventual paying off of the commitment to the Western Heritage Centre.
In 1981 the Speights were instrumental in establishing an open 3 year old futurity event. The first futurity was held at Will-O-Lane Stables and has developed into the Canadian Futurity Classic, held in October in Calgary. Elaine is currently president of the Hans Hansma Canadian Youth Scholarship Fund, established to aid Canadian youth cutters in their post-secondary eductional efforts.
In 1998, Bill and Elaine were recipients of the Andy Rose Memorial Award. This award represents the acknowledgement of contributions made by Alberta horsemen, as nominated and chosen by Alberta horsemen. To be recognized by your peers is a significant and humbling honour.
Bill and Elaine have shared their passion, knowledge and commitment to the amazing sport of cutting in so many ways and to so may people.