Gerry Lukacik

Gerry Lukacik


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The Parson & Dan Patch

Written By: Gerry Lukacik

Born in Oxford Indiana, a crooked legged colt
Everyone in town that saw him, you know how they'd love to joke
Hey Messber, why'd you ever breed that broken down old mare
Now look what she's gone and produced for you there

One even went so far as to tell Messner with a frown
Hey, do that colt a favor and put the poor guy down
But Dan Messner wouldn't listen, and he made his feelings plain
When he gave that little fella his first name

Four years had seems a long time when he came into his own
An impressive sixteen hands, and how his coat had shown
Once known as Messner's folly, no one could have foretold
Just how this horses future would unfold

Oh how I still rmember those good old glory days
And how the wind would rush about my face
I can't believe how fast my time has flown
But I'm thankful for all these things I've known

Tip your hat to old John Wattles for this pacer's education
For with steady gentle hands he laid a firm foundation
He broke him to the harness and he broke him to the cart
Then Messner gave him his first racing start

So in Boswell, Indiana, August 30, double ott
He ran against a mostly local lot
And by all accounts they say that he out classed his competition
Earning a more favorable recognition

The July the 17th, in the year of nineteen-one
He made his circuit debut, and he never lost a one
So when the tour was over, and he was coming homeward bound
He found a different attitude there in town


The town folk they had planned for him a great big celebration
Now Oxford, Indiana will be known throughout the nation
As the birthplace of the wonder horse, the marvelous Dan Patch
The bay pacer in the race no one can catch

But a few short months in March in the year of nineteen-two
Oxford twon was stunned with what Dan Messner would do
For he sold the great Dan Patch to Mr Sturgis from back east
For the sum of 20,000 there at least

Then before that year was ended, Dan Patch was sold again
To a man from Minnesota who would become his lifelong friend
His nickname was The Parson, Marion Savage was his name
And with him, Dan achieved his greatest fame


Their partnership had blossomed in the year of nineteen-three
With Dan breaking every record for everyone to see
Now The Parson, he was say when he said I know the truth
That Dan owes his success to my stock food

The Parson, he made millions on the Dan Patch name alone
With Dan's likeness found on everything for around the farm or home
Toy and sleds, stock remidies, if it's in the product line
You could even ride the Dan Patch Railroad line

Then The Parson built the largest training stable in the land
With sleeping, reading, bathing rooms for every stable hand
A heated indoor racing track that some called the Taj Mahal
The Parson and big Dan sure had it all


The partnership had gone on for some 13 glorious years
Though it wasn't always easy and sometimes there were some fears
Like the time out in Nebraska when Danny got quite sick
But The Parson's colic remedy did the trick

Well, The Parson, he got rich and Dan Patch got all the glory
But my song isn't quite over, there's a lot more to the story
Like at Christmas when Danny would pull a loaded sleigh
With gifts for the city's needy along the way

At a county fair in L.A. in the year of nineteen-nine
Dan was still quite fit, you know just really in his prime
But at the final showing, the great one pulled up lame
Retired to stud, he'd never race again


The year was 1916 when Dan collapsed an then
His legs began to motor like he was racing once again
But his pacing began slowing as he lay there on the floor
Then it stopped ... and Dan Patch was no more

The Parson was recovering in the hospital that day
When word of Danny's passing was brought about his way
Was it shock or just a broken heart, I'll leave that up to you
But the next day, The Parson passed on too

His wife sold off his breeding stock in just a few short years
And The Parson's business empire began it's slow decline
Then in 1922 that famous barn burnt to the ground
Now there's just an empty field there to be found


So, before "coffee" Joe DiMaggio, and that good old Micheal Jordan
The charismic Tiger Woods, or that fast one Jeffery Gordon
You've listened to this story and now you know, of course
That the very first sports icon ... was a horse