In the year 1900, my
grand father, Frank Finch, purchased the present home
property located at what is now 40719 Old Three Rivers
Drive, in Three Rivers, California.
~ Frank & Rhoda
Finch ~ 1888
This is where the headquarters of the "Bar-O-" Horse
Ranch is located today, situated beneath the majestic
Blossom Peak, and surrounded by the High Sierra mountains
overlooking the beautiful valley of Three Rivers, California.
~ Blossom Peak ~
Through the last 100 years or so the ranch has evolved
from a single walled home where I was born in 1931,
to a full fledge horse ranch with a modern horse barn
complex. It contains twelve large stalls (each with
all pipe and screen runs attached), a solid metal round
pen with a viewing stand, an office with a kitchen and
restroom plus a large wash rack area near the tack room.
Other training facilities, include an all new arena
and eight separated fields, all charged with water in
the top rail.
~ Modern Horse Barn Complex ~
My father, Earl A. McKee Sr., was born in 1891about
10 miles from here, near Lemon Cove, CA. After accumulating
horses and mules In 1910, he started working as a mountain
guide and packer taking commercial pack trips into the
nearby High Sierra Nevada Mountains. He acquired the
riding and packing concession in Sequoia National Park
in 1929. This, he continued to do every summer until
his untimely death in 1946.
~ Earl A. McKee Sr.
The packing business remained in our family until 1963.
This is where I grew up each summer packing and handling
mules and horses all through the Sierras.
My Mother, who's maiden name was Edna B. Finch, traveled
across the states in a Horse and Buggy from Cherokee
Iowa at the age of 7 years. (To the original 80 acres
my Grandfather bought in 1900).
~ Edna Finch
My Father and Mother were married here in Three Rivers
in 1912. They homesteaded 320 acres near Three Rivers,
and began acquiring property in the 1920's and 30'.s.
By that time the Bar-O-Ranch had became a well established
beef cattle and horse ranch. The entire operation eventually
was spread over 5000 deeded acres in the general areas
of Three Rivers and Lemon Cove, as well as leasing 4000
acres of B.L.M. that joined the ranch.
In the early 20's after W. W.I., my father acquired
the right to manage and breed the Reg. Thoroubred stallion
named "Mars Mouse." This horse was known as a remount
stallion belonging to the U .S. Cavalry and was managed
on the shares. (The get colts from this stallion were
remembered around these parts to be excellent cow horses
and were used extensively on surrounding ranches). My
father, who was an exceptional horseman, broke, used
and sold many of the colts of "Mars Mouse". They were
known for their great disposition, excellent feet, bone
and withers. Some of these "Mars" mares were kept to
breed and produce the early foundation horses on this
My father bred a daughter of Mars Mouse to an early
quarter horse stallion owned by Lep Craig in Lemoore,
CA. The horses name was "Cimmeron". A "Plaudit" bred
stud. She produced a palomino stud colt in the spring
of 1940. This stallion became a well known bridle horse
shown in this area of California. The Fred Gill and
Sons Ranch in Yokall Valley, Exeter, California, leased
and pasture bred this stallion a number of seasons to
some of their mares. He was affectionately known as
"Palmer". After my father's unexpected death in 1946,
I fell heir to this stallion and rode many of his colts.
Palmer died at the age of 20 years old in 1960.
~ Palmer ~ 1950's
I purchased the next stallion in 1972 from Frank and
Mary Costa of Visalia, California, by the name of "Acres
Cup Cake". He was a grandson of "Doc Bar" on his dam's
side and sired by "Poco Acres". a "Poco Bueno" & "Jimmy
Reed" bred horse, on the top side. I cowboyed on this
horse for many years and eventually sold him to Dale
Tingle in Corning, CA. Who kept him until ACC died at
age 26. Dale showed many colts sired by ACC in many
AQHA shows. He sired many horses that could really watch
My next stallion was a palomino stud named "Dude Skip".
He was a "Blondy Dude" breed horse that sired a number
of horses with color and great dispositions making them
excellent cow horses. I still have several mares that
were sired by him in my band of mares.
In 1996 I purchased a stud named "DocsSanPeppyGomango"
from Herb York of Lake Success, Ca. Herb bred American
Quarter Horses for some 40 years before he passed away.
This stallion is a large horse that's bred to watch
a cow and can run. I have raised many good rope and
ranch horses from this beautiful stud that is presently
standing in my barn.
~ DocsSanPeppyGomango ~
I'm partial to the "King 234" line of horses. Most all
of the great raining and cutting horses go back to the
"King 234" blood. In 1995, I purchased a bay Stallion
from my good friend Ray Lindseth, in Dupuyer Montana,
who still raises some of the best King bred horses in
This stallion called "Cue Berry King," is a deep blood
bay horse, with all the King features. He has a great
head and neck, deep in the cinch, good withers, short
cannon bones and the best feet. We're riding some of
his get at the present time and they show a world of
promise. "King 234" and "Poco Dell" are on the face
of his papers. He is also standing presently in my barn.
~ Cue Berry King ~
I purchased a red roan stud colt in 1997 named "Plenty
Valentine," from my good friend John Balkinbush of Conrad
Montana who breeds some of the finest Joe Hancock bred
horses in the North West. "Plenty Valentine" is sired
by "Classy Bar Hancock" who is a "Sugar Bar" - "Joe
Hancock" bred horse. His dam is a double-bred "Blue
Valentine" mare named "Mandy Maid". He has matured into
a great cow horse and breeding animal, all the while
maintaining his kid horse disposition. His colts have
the same traits, are very easy to break and have lots
of color. Ever dependable, just lead him out of his
stall, throw on a saddle, cinch up and step on. He's
ready to go, no funny business and a real pleasure to
ride. This horse is presently standing as well, at stud
in my barn.
~ Plenty Valentine ~
I also purchased another King bred stallion from Darold
Tomsheck in Oilmont, Montana in 2001. This stud named
"King O Clubs" is a half brother to "Cue Berry King".
He was also bred and raised by Ray Lindseth in Dupuyer,
Montana. This sorrel stallion is one of the most beautifully
proportioned of the King bred horses I've seen. "King
234" and "Poco Bueno" both show on the face of his papers.
He also stands in my barn.
~ King O Clubs ~
Breeding foundation and performance stock horses are
where I have set my lifelong goals, and the breeding
mares are the backbone of this industry. Most of them
I have raised, but I do buy an occasional outside mare.
Back in 1992, I purchased 6 mares from Don Stearns from
Buffalo, South Dakota. These mares were mainly "Two
Eyed Jack" - "King 234" bred mares. I have a couple
of mares by "Poco Bueno Image" I bought from the Haythorn
Ranch in Arthur,Nebraska. I've bought "Hancock" bred
horses from Bud Rankin in Lodgepole, Nebraska.
I try to keep about 30 breeding mares here at the ranch,
every year. After foaling and breeding time in the spring,
I run most of the mares in the mountainous hills of
the Bar-O-Ranch. This is where the foals learn from
their mothers about rocky trails, how to go through
brush, how to cross creeks, how to jump a draw and the
ever present reality and respect of barbed wire. This
important exposure to the wilderness, with it's dangers
and challenges, educates the young mind of these horses.
In my belief, these life molding experiences are what
separate the mountain horses from those that haven't
been out of a paddock.
Throughout the year, we sell started horses and colts
of all ages. This season, our stud fees begin at $400.
For more information, please feel free to call or email us at anytime or come on up and visit us at the Bar-O-Ranch in Three Rivers.
~ Earl A. McKee ~