Chino Valley man to be inducted into Arizona Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame
CHINO VALLEY - The old cowboy saying, "There's no secret so close as between a rider and his horse," couldn't be more true for Chino Valley resident Chris Watson.
As a former equine trainer and roper, Watson, 86, has spent countless hours in the saddle, working with horses.
"Anything that he touched seemed to turn to gold for him," Watson's wife, Elaine Watson, said. "He's had an exciting life with horses."
Growing up around horses and working on several ranches, Watson said he has trained a variety of breeds such as Arabians, Morgans, paints and Quarter Horses.
Watson's great-granddaughter still rides a horse that Watson trained, he said.
Watson also raised horses. Watson's Quarter Horse stallions, Klondike and Donald's Eclipse, became leading sires of race and working horses. Bonnie Eclipse, the offspring of Donald's Eclipse, won the World Show, Reserve Champion, and Amateur Champion in Western Riding. Klondike, an AAA racehorse, sired offspring that became Sun Circuit champions.
"Chris was successful in a lot of different disciplines, with a lot of different types of horses," fellow horseman and family friend Curt Fender said.
In addition to training and breeding horses, Watson judged events for the American Quarter Horse Association, various saddle clubs, Pony of the Americas, and mule shows around Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Idaho. Watson also mentored several 4-H groups.
Throughout his more than 30-year career, Watson served as vice president and director for the Arizona Quarter Horse Association; was president of the Arizona Professional Horseman's Association; and co-founded the Arizona Stallion Breeder Futurity organization.
In early December, Watson was named as an inductee into the Arizona Quarter Horse Association's Hall of Fame. The ceremony is set to take place Jan. 11 at the Pinnacle Peak Patio steakhouse in Scottsdale.
"We were just thrilled to death that he was nominated," Elaine Watson said. "We were crying when we found out he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame. We were just so excited for him."
Along with Watson, four other horsemen and two horses will be inducted into the association's Hall of Fame at the event. It is the second year the association has inducted members into its Hall of Fame. The association will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary during the ceremony.
"Chris stands out because he was very skilled and very respected," Fender said. "He was extremely well liked - and still is to this day."
For more information on the Arizona Quarter Horse Association, visit www.azqha.org.
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