John Sosby, who has worked at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm for more than 50 years --47 of them full-time -- is retiring in early October. A well-known figure in Central Kentucky, Sosby was honored as Farm Manager of the Year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club in 1984, and he received the Ambassador of Racing award from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Media in 1991.
"It's been a tremendous ride," Sosby said. "The quality of the horses -- the grade I winners, the year-end champions--and the quality of people I've met are second to none. I consider myself a very, very lucky guy to have had the opportunity that I've had."
Sosby, 65, started working at Claiborne near Paris when he was nine years old, cutting weeds. He became the yearling manager in 1964 and the general manager in 1975. Most recently he has served as the assistant general manager and yearling supervisor.
But even though he's retiring, Sosby plans to stay busy.
"I'll help Claiborne when they need me," he said, "and I'll do lot of community work. I'm chairman of the Bourbon County Fair Board, and I'm president of the Bourbon County Extension Council. I'm very involved with the Bourbon County school system, the athletic end of it. And I'm involved in local government with the various things they need."
Said Claiborne's Dell Hancock: "He's done a hell of a job. He's a great guy; and we're going to miss him. But he's still going to be on the farm; he lives right on the edge of the farm, and he's going to stay in his house. I told him he should run for mayor of Paris because he's knows everybody and everything."
Charlie Rimer will replace Sosby as yearling supervisor. Rimer has worked with Claiborne stallions five years. He formerly was the assistant manager of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Ricker's Sunny Oak Farm near Paris, where he was employed for 17 years. He also worked on the racetrack, serving as an assistant to his brother, Mark Rimer, who was a trainer.
"It's kind of been a big circle back to Claiborne," Rimer said. "When I was in high school, I worked during the summers at Claiborne, mowing, weed-eating, and baling hay and straw.
"I'm looking forward to this," he said of his new job. "It's a pleasure to work with the great horses in the stallion barn, but this is more my cup of tea. I worked with 25 to 40 yearlings every year at Sunny Oak."