James P. Seabeck is a remarkable man and one full of great enthusiasm and energy. A well-respected cattleman and owner of the Stockland Union Stockyards in Spokane, the 97-year-old Seabeck has noted accomplishments in almost every area of the Pacific Northwest Thoroughbred world.
Born in Rockville, Nebraska, Seabeck was one of four sons and two daughters of respected farmer, stockman, butcher and cattle feeder John Seabeck. He attended the University of Nebraska before moving to Southern Idaho where he worked on various livestock farms. Seabeck married Novia George in 1935 in Twin Falls. Shortly thereafter they moved, in a Model A Ford, to Tacoma, where he went to work for the Carstens Packing Company and they raised four daughters – Marlene, Kathleen, Connie and Kristi. The Seabecks returned to Twin Falls in 1959 and later moved to Spokane in 1964.
As a young man Seabeck saw the legendary Seabiscuit race and was present when George Woolf made his fateful last ride in January 1946.
Seabeck purchased his first Thoroughbred over 60 years ago from a man in Tacoma. That weanling, a 1946 son of *Olimpio named Olimpio Jr., won 24 races and earned $22,710. Seven years later Seabeck stood in the winner’s circle after Ocean Mist, who trainer Jack Mihalcik had found at the 1949 Keeneland sales for a price reported between $700 and $800, raced to victory for Seabeck and Spokane resident Phil Carsten’s C & S Stable in the Longacres Mile. Flash forward 53 years and Seabeck and partner Gene Barber won the Portland Meadows Mile with Charlie’s Pride. Seabeck has close to 700 photos resulting from his wins in 13 states and British Columbia.
The C & S Stable partnership ranked fifth in the 1954 Washington breeders’ standings after four of the five runners they bred won nine races and earned $21,020. Among those juveniles was champion Better Not Bet, who was unbeaten in five starts and won both the Washington and Spokane Futurities. His $18,060 in earnings was the largest amount ever won by a Washington-bred two-year-old. Other stakes winners bred by Seabeck include the Spokane Futurity winning half-brothers Charity Line (1968) and Hope Line (1971) and stakes winner and stakes producer Miss Manito, whose dam Pretty as Picture won 19 races for Seabeck.
Seabeck, who joined the WHBA in 1947 and is the association’s longest member, was first elected to its board of directors in 1950. He served through 1965, including three stints as secretary. He was vice president in 1953 and was elected president in 1954.
Always involved, Seabeck was president of the Livestock Marketing Association in 1993-94 and served on the Washington Horse Racing Commission from January 1993 to January 1999. A Jim Seabeck Award is given at the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane to recognize 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters that strive for high excellence while competing at the yearly show.
Novia died in 2007 and Seabeck recently remarried. A recent note from the near centenarian said he couldn’t attend the 2010 WTBOA annual meeting because he had some cattle business in Montana.