Deedie Chauncey remembers the days prior to the auction
and the day itself: "Tom had been a *Naborr fan since 1963
and asked me what I thought about buying him. I, of course,
thought it would be wonderful, and we speculated about the
price. Tom guessed about $40,000, and I thought that's an
awful lot of money. He decided to bid up to that amount. So
we were sitting in the bleachers in the sale tent and the
bidding went past $40,000 very quickly. When it went to
$140,000, Tom turned to me and said, 'What do you think?
Should I keep bidding?' and I almost fell out of the
bleachers. I had no idea he was still bidding. Several
syndicates were bidding, and the members were having little
meetings, but they dropped out, one by one, and Tom got him.
My first thoughts when that gavel dropped were 'Oh, my God,
where are we going to put him?' At that time we didn't even
have a decent barn! Our whole operation was at Mayer,
Arizona. A beautiful ranch, but nothing to house a valuable
stallion. So Tom went to Gene LaCroix and asked if he would
keep him until we got organized. So *Naborr went straight to
Lasma where he got steamed bran as he did in Poland and was
cared for by a Lasma employee who had known him in Poland.
And the LaCroixes were thrilled to have him."
Before the McCormick auction, Tom Chauncey had visited
with his friend Wayne Newton about buying *Naborr. The
Chaunceys had known Newton since he was about 11 years
old--the days when he and his brother Jerry were singing and
playing banjos at supermarket openings. Later, the two
appeared on Chauncey's television stations, and the
friendship developed. Pre-auction, Wayne had agreed to go
partners on *Naborr at the $40,000 price; however, at
$150,000 Tom Chauncey figured he'd lost a potential partner.
But post-auction, *Naborr and the partnership still looked
good to Newton, and he became half-owner. The Chaunceys had
sold a portion of the Mayer ranch to Wayne where he built a
beautiful barn, and *Naborr was moved there from Lasma.
At this time, the Chaunceys had three mares and several
Half-Arabians, a part of the working cattle ranch at Mayer.
Deedie had her daydreams about becoming an Arabian breeder
and wasted no time using *Naborr as a sire. She chose Bint
Kholameh (Adibiyez x Kholameh), bred by her father Philip K.
Wrigley at the family's El Rancho Escondido on Catalina
Island, to go to *Naborr for his first Chauncey-bred foal.
(A grey colt was foaled in October 1970; more about him
Now the Chaunceys followed the traditional pattern: buy
that special Arabian, acquire more Arabians, and become
Arabian breeders. The "more" was easy. Deedie and her
daughter Misdee went horse shopping on Catalina Island where
they selected six mares. Others were added, and Tom Chauncey
Arabians was founded.
By 1971, the Chaunceys had built horse facilities on raw
land on North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, and *Naborr was
moved there. The following year, Wayne Newton decided to
relocate his Arabian breeding operation close to Las Vegas
where he spent most of his time as an entertainer, and the
Chaunceys were able to buy back Wayne's interest in *Naborr.
Wayne's zooming career in show business boosted the *Naborr
image during the time he was part owner. Wayne was called
"the ambassador of the Arabian breed" and he talked about
Arabian horses at every opportunity--in his shows, on
television, and in special appearances. Wayne took *Naborr
to the 1970 Nationals at Oklahoma City, where he was
presented as one of the ten Living Legend Stallions, and
where he was seen and admired by thousands.
*NABORR BECAME the celebrity-in-residence at Tom
Chauncey Arabians, and his fans arrived in droves. He had
been relatively unaccessible at the McCormick Ranch and off
the path at Mayer, and persons who had never seen him in
person wanted that long satisfying look. Before, during, and
after the Scottsdale show was the time of heaviest traffic,
and Deedie finally restricted the times. "I had it announced
at the show that *Naborr would be shown only twice a day,
because that poor horse was being pulled out of his stall
from eight in the morning until 11 at night. There were
people who didn't want to breed, couldn't afford to breed,
maybe didn't even have a horse, but it was very important to
them to see *Naborr in the flesh." *Naborr put up with the
hordes, probably even liked them. He stood quietly letting
people touch him and pat him, and was very responsive to a
camera. Deedie recalls one lady who very plaintively asked
if she might have a hair from *Naborr's tail for her
daughter who could not be there. "I said, 'Of course, you
may, and pulled the hair for her and put it in an envelope
so she could mail it."
*Naborr settled into a comfortable routine with the
Chaunceys. After breakfast, he was turned out into his
paddock from about 7:30 to 11:00 and then he'd go back into
his stall. In the afternoon, he took a nap. He didn't lie
down, but stood with his head in the corner of the stall and
slept for two hours each day. "And nobody better disturb
him," Deedie says."I mean, he was grumpy. That was his time.
At first, when visitors came, we'd wake him up and bring him
out, but I finally realized it was not good for *Naborr or
anyone else. It's like waking your husband up from a nap
when there's company. A definite no-no. So I just started
telling people *Naborr would be up from his nap later and
they were welcome to come back in late afternoon. That's the
way he was. He ran me. He ran the whole ranch."
Smokey Brazelton, who worked at Lasma before he came to
the Chauncey ranch, took *Naborr for a walk around the ranch
each day. And when Tom Chauncey came home in the evening,
the two had their time alone. Tom had considered *Naborr
perfect the first time he saw him, just shortly after his
arrival at the McCormick Ranch, and he never revised his
opinion. To Tom, *Naborr only became "more perfect." *Naborr
knew the sound of Tom's car and his footstep and always
greeted him with a special low chortle reserved for their
conversations. Tom brought him carrots each evening, and
they had their private talks--high quality moments for both
Deedie's office at the ranch adjoined *Naborr's stall,
and as she finished up ranch paperwork late at night, she
could hear his every move. He was the last horse to whom she
said her good nights at the end of the day. Deedie says, "I
like to think he liked me a lot. He was very charismatic, of
course, but also a little aloof. He wasn't the kind of horse
who nuzzled you, but he would turn his head and he loved to
be scratched. *Naborr was authoritative. There was no bluff
about him. He was always totally honest, and you never had
to guess what he was thinking. I was always in awe of him, a
kind of mixed feeling of reverence, fear, and wonder. I also
know he had a sense of humor; he would turn and roll his
eyes at me to see if I really got the joke."
Deedie Chauncey has shared several stories of *Naborr's
days at Tom Chauncey Arabians: "One day, I was out tending
my little vegetable and flower garden at the ranch when all
of a sudden I heard this frantic "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" from
Smokey and a clatter of hooves, and *Naborr flew around the
corner of the barn and headed out toward the pastures,
Smokey hot on his heels. I had visions of *Naborr making a
right turn onto Scottsdale Road, and that would be all she
wrote. Fortunately, every mare in the pasture threw up her
tail and galloped over to the fence, and a couple of them
were in heat. Well, you know *Naborr screeched to a stop,
and we caught him.
"Another time Smokey took *Naborr out for his daily
walk, came back, and was holding him while he grazed around
the stables. I was in my office and when Smokey called,
'Quick! Help! Come quick,' I went running out and there was
*Naborr with the biggest gila monster I have ever ever seen
attached to his halter. They are poisonous, and when a gila
monster is attached, it's attached; there's no letting go.
Smokey was as pale as a ghost, and we were both just
terrified. *Naborr was absolutely cool as a cucumber. I ran
into the barn, got another halter, and put it around
*Naborr's neck, farther back, and told Smokey to unbuckle
*Naborr's halter and just let it fall to the ground. Which
he did and we got the other halter on him. *Naborr never
turned a hair.
"WHEN WE FIRST got to the ranch, we used to breed out in
the dirt in front of God and everybody, and I thought
*Naborr, of all sires, deserved a breeding barn. I finally
got it built, and I'll never forget the first day we used
it. First, some background: We had an old brown--not bay but
just uninteresting brown--mare who had had some good foals
by *Naborr. She was dull, totally nondescript, but she
turned *Naborr on more than any other mare he ever had, and
she was the only mare he was ever truly in love with. When
we went on A.I. and needed a collection mare, I combed the
country and finally found a mare that looked like her. She
had absolutely no libido, but I always hobbled her, just in
case. So the day we were to use the new barn for the first
time, 'Brownie' was in place. I was squatted down, putting
the hobbles on her, and Doug McVicker was leading *Naborr
in. All of a sudden Doug yelled at me, 'Mrs. C., look out!
Look out!' With Brownie in his own breeding barn, *Naborr
just went wild. I looked up and all I could see was this
giant white apparition *Naborr on his hind legs, lunging
toward Brownie. And me. I rolled out of the way, and
everything was okay, but I was so scared I shook for an
hour. When I asked Dr. Hancock what in God's name had gotten
into *Naborr, always the gentle breeder, the only thing he
could think of was that it was his first time in the
breeding barn and he became the stereotypical old man
getting into a hotel room."
Deedie remembers *Naborr never had to prove himself to
the other Chauncey stallions or mares. The other stallions
challenged each other, but never *Naborr, and passed his
stall with a sense of deference. When they walked past the
mare pastures, they puffed themselves up, whinnied, and
bellowed, an exercise which usually attracted only the mares
in season. *Naborr, in contrast, was calm, regal, and
powerful without any great macho display, and every mare
raised her head from grazing.
*Naborr seldom left the Chauncey ranch, a condition he
liked and saw no reason to change. In 1975, Tom Chauncey
promised Hal and Arlyne Clay that he would bring *Naborr to
their ranch to be exhibited at the Clays' sale. Everything
was ready. A police escort was standing by, the van was set
up for *Naborr. But *Naborr wasn't going. No hysteria, no
display of temper or bad behavior, just not putting even one
hoof into the van. The Chaunceys acknowledged they'd been
foiled, and *Naborr was returned to his stall.