LAWRENCE MCINTYRE RYE
1883 - 1981
Lawrence McIntyre Rye, Dean of North American Clydesdale Breeders, was born on December 27, 1883 at Parry Sound, Ontario. At the age of ten, he moved with his parents to homestead on a farm north of Namao in Sturgeon County, Alberta.
As a young man, Lawrence worked hauling freight for the Hudson Bay Company on the Athabasca Landing Trail. Later, he began farming on his own and, on December 6, 1911, he married his wife, Sarah Ferguson. They raised five children – three girls and two boys.
Lawrence raised purebred Shorthorn cattle and Tamworth hogs, showing them at fairs in the area. However, his main interest was Clydesdale horses. In 1967 Lawrence was honored as one of five Livestock Breeders of Edmonton District when the Edmonton Chamber Exhibition Association was celebrating Canada’s Centennial. He was also a director of the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada, and was president for two years. He was in charge of the Alberta Exhibition and the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario for many years.
He was a well-respected judge in Western Canada, and in 1956 judged the Royal Winter Fair. Over the years, he made the trip to the Toronto over 50 times, and for 33 years consecutively he did that on the train (a trip of over 2000 miles or 80-100 hours). In 1964, Lawrence won all the four and six-horse hitch classes at the Royal Winter Fair. Lawrence’s son, Elmer and Bill McCrimmon handled all the hitches. In 1972, he sold his last six horse hitch to the Gordeyko brothers of Ohaton, Alberta.
In spite of all those successes, Lawrence said the best honor he ever won was when his home bred mare, Prairie Rose, was awarded Best Canadian Bred Clydesdale Mare in Western Canada and again at the Royal.
In his ninetieth year, he still showed all of his own line horses. Some people knew him as the “Little Man with the Big Horses”, or the “Dean of Clydesdales”.
Lawrence passed away June 12, 1981, at the age of 97 years. He was buried at Namao, Alberta and was survived by five children, 15 grandchildren, and several great grandchildren. A truly amazing man in the Clydesdale world, he surely left his mark.