William ?Ray? Beech is the youngest son of Stephen Wood ?S.?W.? and Margaret Moore Beech. He was born on August 22, 1949. The family pleasure pony, John Henry, taught Bobby, Steve, and Ray a lot about how to train and show horses.
Ray?s next mount was Little Bit o? Trouble. He and ?Trouble? were in the show ring dozens of times claiming many blues ribbons and titles including the 1963 TWHNC World Champion pony, 14 & under, the l964 TWHNC Reserve World Champion pony, 14 & under.? In 1965 and 1966 Ray and Trouble claimed back to back Walking Pony World Championships at the celebration, and in 1965 and 1965 they also won the Kentucky State Fair show in Louisville, KY. One of the highlights of Ray?s years training and showing Little Bit O? Trouble was being asked at the age of 14 to exhibit him at the University of Tennessee?s Homecoming game during the half-time festivities. He had to wear a band uniform, and he remains the youngest person ever to exhibit a performance Tennessee Walking Horse in Neyland stadium.
Ray married his wife, Jean, in September of 1972 and in December of the same year he graduated from MTSU with a degree in Animal Science and Agriculture Business. He bought Murray Farm and Sale of Champions and continued the sale traditions of his Dad and Pete Yokley. Ray learned so much from his Dad about genetics. Overtime he began to study his mares and know their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and he began to strategically breed them to the stallions that he felt would produce the best combination.
In 1992, Peaches Big Time was bred to Gen?s Future Attraction (who was also bred and raised by Ray) and produced Hoffa.? Ray?s son, Bill, led Hoffa to: the 1993 International Weanling Colt World and World Grand Championships, the Futurity Weanling Colt Championship, and the TWHNC Weanling Colt World and World Grand Championships.? That same year, Hoffa was also voted Weanling of the Year by the Trainer?s Association
In 1989 Count?s Silver Lining (raised by Ray) was bred to Prides Generator and produced JFK, who had great success in the show ring.? His titles include:
1992 TWHNC? 2-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
1993 TWHNC 3-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
1994 TWHNC 4-year-old stallion World Champion and World Grand Champion
JFK was retired from the show ring in 1994 and went on to become one of the industry?s premier breeding stallions and sire many world champions. JFK produced over 50 individual World Champions that claimed numerous of World and World Grand Championship titles including show ring stars Mr. Heisman, John FK?s Pusher, John FK?s Delight, JFK?s Monopoly, Oh My Darlin, Mistress, Lil Wayne, JFK?s Irish Dream and a host of others.
Three years later Count?s Silver Lining was bred again to Prides Generator and produced My Jackie O- the 1996 Futurity 3-year-old Mare and Gelding Champion with Tim Gray and that same year Ray?s daughter, Margaret Anne and Jackie O won the 3-year-old Owner-Amateur Mare and Gelding World Championship. Margaret Anne rode Jackie O to seven more World and World Grand Championship titles, including the 1998 and 1999 Owner-Amateur Mare and Gelding World Grand Championship. Jackie O was also voted Ladies Horse of the Year in those years.
In 1996 Count?s Silver Lining and Pride?s Generator produced RFK.
Bill led RFK to the 1996 Reserve Futurity Weanling Colt Championship, the 1996 TWHNC weanling colt World Championship and Reserve World Grand Championship RFK also retired the S.W. Beech Memorial Challenge trophy at the 1996 Celebration.
A few years later Ray bred Count?s Silver Lining to Generator?s Silver Dollar and produced Jackie O?s My Sister who was the 2000 TWHBEA Futurity Weanling Filly Champion with Tommy Wilson at the halter and the 2002 TWHBEA Futurity 2-year-old Mare Champion with Buck Williams.
When My Jackie O was at the height of her show career, Ray still wanted her to be able to produce foals. At this time, the Embryo Transfer program was new to our breed and being finetuned at Waterfall Farm under the expert direction Dr. Mike Harry.
My Jackie O produced l0 foals by various stallions using the Embryo Transfer program. Hey Hev Jose, by Jose? Jose?, and Simply Priceless, by RPM were both 2002 foals. History was made at the 2002 TWHBEA Futurity when Hey Hey Jose and Simply Priceless both won their divisions under the direction of Bill Beech. Hey Hey Jose and Bill were also the 2002 TWHNC Weanling Colt World Champion and the Reserve Weanling World Grand Champion.
Sadly, My Jackie O died in 2005, but her last embryo foal, our Amazing Grace by Jose? Jose? was born in 2006. ?Gracie?, as she is lovingly called, was the reserve 4-year-old Amateur Mare and Gelding Champion at the 2010 Celebration, and she is the dam of the 2018 Wartrace 2-year-old Amateur Mare, I?m on Good Behavior. Margaret Anne has been fortunate enough to show three generations of mares all bred and raised by Ray: My Jackie O, She?s Our Amazing Grace, and I?m on Good Behavior.
There are many other notable horses bred and raised by Ray- Jackie O All Over, Aristotle Onassis, Santana?s Rockette, Soul Patrol, Hell?s A Poppin Again, Hello Jose, Steve Nash, I?m Dialed In, Delightful Attraction, Ebony?s Handiwork, I?m Filthy Rich, I?m A Blockbuster, King of Pop and Our Commander In Chief, just to name a few of approximately 300 foals raised and registered over the years. For Ray and Jean, the greatest pleasure has been sharing this wonderful breed with their children and grandchildren. Seeing their children showing halter, and under saddle is confirmation of a life?s work and they feel very fortunate and blessed.