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WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees

ROY OSCAR BOSS ( 95 )
1911-2005
2007 COWBOY HALL OF FAME POSTHUMOUS



Roy Boss was born January 14, 1911, in El Paso, Texas. Roy was about three weeks old when he left El Paso on the Southwestern train headed for Arizona. Roy, big sister Louella and his mom rode the train from El Paso to the Chiricahua Station where Roy's dad picked them up and took them to the Boss Ranch in a horse drawn wagon. The Boss Ranch was homesteaded by Roy's parents in 1910 and is located in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona.

The ranch house was a cozy little two-room house at the bottom of a narrow canyon. A windmill was built over a hand-dug well to provide water. A few goats and chickens supplied the family with fresh meat. A milk cow gave fresh milk, cream, and butter, and with eggs laid by the chickens, the family ate well. The homestead was primitive by today's standards, but the Boss family was better off than most. Roy lived on the ranch and in the same house all of his life except when he was in high school, and when he was in the Army during World War II.

When Roy was little he rode with his Dad. When the day was done his Dad would tell Roy, "Go ahead and turn your horse out." Roy would ask, “What are you going to do with your horse?” "I'm going to keep him up," said his Dad. Roy would say, "Then I want to keep my horse up also." If his Dad was going to ride some more then Roy was going with him.

Roy's mother thought it would be a good idea for him to attend school. So mother and the kids moved to Douglas in the winter so he could begin his formal education. Roy graduated from Douglas High School in 1931. During his school days he spent summers on the ranch. There wasn't always enough to do on Dad's ranch to keep all of the boys busy, so they worked for the neighbors when they needed help. Roy rode the ranches of Cochise County for over 80 years. In 1941,Wodd War II erupted. Roy left the ranch and enlisted in the U.S. Army. For three plus years his unit served on the European Front, in North Africa, France and Germany. After WW II Roy returned back home to the Boss ranch, put on his cowboy hat and boots and became a cowboy again. Roy was back in the saddle and it wasn't long before he took over the ranching operation from his parents.

It has been said that a rope is just a natural extension of a cowboy's arm. From the time he is big enough to form a loop, nothing is safe; furniture, dogs, cats, milk pen calves and even little brothers and sisters all had rope burns. I was told that Roy was an exceptional roper. It didn't matter if he was doctoring cattle for screwworms on the open range or roping in a rodeo, Roy could hold his own. The local rodeos were a part of his fondest memories. Those who saw Roy rope said, "He could have won lots of money roping. He just didn't go that much."

Roy loved being outdoors. Ranching in those days meant lots of time spent on the back of a horse. Roy loved a good horse and spent the last 60 years of his life raising American Quarter Horses. In 2000, Roy was honored by the American Quarter Horse Association for 50 cumulative years of breeding American Quarter Horses. In 1942, Roy registered his first horse with the newly formed AQHA and by the year 2005 he had registered 315 horses with the association. Roy's original plan was to raise a few good ranch horses that were sure­footed with a lot of cow sense. But before he knew it he had 20 to 30 brood mares and two stallions. Now after more than half a century of raising horses the children and grandchildren of his original buyers have returned to buy some of Roy's horses. It always pleased Roy to go to a youth event or a rodeo and see some of his horses in action.

Roy was a life member of the Douglas, Arizona, Elks Lodge. He was also a long time member of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the Cochise Graham Cattle Growers Association. In 1985, the Arizona National Livestock Show honored Roy as a Pioneer Stockman and a member of the Living Stockman Hall of Fame. He has been featured in an issue of the American Quarter Horse Journal and also received awards for the best ranch raised yearling consigned to the Arizona Ranch Remuda Sale in Prescott.

Roy and Peggy (Noland) were married nearly 50 years. Peggy said, "He dated all of my sisters, but I was the one that got him." They have one daughter (Sandra) and two sons (Richard and Robert). Peggy described Roy as quiet spoken, kind, gentle, and that he had a way with horses. Peggy said, "A horse and Roy made a good team. They were one." Peggy talked about how Roy loved to dance and how all the grandkids loved to come to the ranch because when they visited he was always saddling horses for them to ride.

The Roy Boss family was a ranching family trying to make a living with Mother Nature. He was friendly and a good neighbor. He was always ready to talk about horses, cattle, and the weather. Roy was well respected by everyone.

Roy was born into a pioneer ranching family. Roy liked to say, he was bred in New Mexico, born in Texas, and lived his entire life in Arizona on the Boss Ranch In other words you can say he was born a cowboy, lived the life of a cowboy, and died a cowboy.

After 94 years of living, Roy passed away on November 21, 2005.

Prepared and presented by Eddie Browning