1/3/2014 8:16:00 AM Chino Valley man to be inducted into Arizona Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame
Tamara Sone/The Daily Courier
Chino Valley resident Chris Watson is being inducted into the Arizona Quarter Horse Associationís Hall of Fame on Jan. 11 in Scottsdale.
Photo courtesy of Curt Fender
Chris Watson, pictured here in 1979, has won numerous awards for his work training horses.
Tamara Sone Special to the Review
Early in December Chino Valley resident Chris Watson, 86, learned he would be inducted into the Arizona Quarter Horse Association's (AZQHA) Hall of Fame with a ceremony Jan. 11 at the Pinnacle Peak Patio steakhouse in Scottsdale.
"We were just thrilled to death that he was nominated," Watson's wife, 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."
The old cowboy saying, "There's no secret so close as between a rider and his horse," definitely applies to the former equine trainer and roper, who has spent countless hours in the saddle, working with horses.
"Anything that he touched seemed to turn to gold for him," Elaine 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.
Watson judged events for the American Quarter Horse Association, saddle clubs, Pony of the Americas, and mule shows around Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Idaho. He also mentored several 4-H groups.
Throughout his more than 30-year career, Watson served as vice president and director for the AZQHA; was president of the Arizona Professional Horseman's Association; and co-founded the Arizona Stallion Breeder Futurity organization.
As the AZQHA inducts Wilson, four other horsemen and two horses into only its second class of Hall of Famers, it also will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
"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.