WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees


Paul William Riggs was born on February 14, 1911. He was the oldest of four children born to John and Nettie Riggs. He was raised on the family ranch near the Chiricahua Mountains. As a youth and young man, Paul worked on the ranch and lived a ranch life that most people can only dream of today. He participated in the normal activities of fixing fences, working on windmills, riding and branding. He lived during a time when there were still large cattle drives from the Riggs home ranch in the Chiricahuas to shipping pens and the railroad in Willcox. The cowboys would drive herds of a thousand or more head of cattle. After weeks of gathering the cattle, the trip would take three days, and they took with them a remuda of horses and a chuck wagon.

Paul went to grammar school and two years of high school at the El Dorado School, a one-room schoolhouse located a few miles from the family home. Paul completed high school in Willcox and graduated in 1929. After working for a year on the ranch, Paul attended the University of Arizona in Tucson for two years. During those years, Paul developed a lifelong love for Chevrolet roadsters. He also took the opportunity to take flying lessons, paying for the lessons with money earned by running the gates at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. As a child, Paul learned to play the fiddle from his father. Paul loved music and played the fiddle throughout his life. He often joined with neighboring musicians to play at dances held in local communities.

After Paul returned to the ranch, he courted and married Julia Warren. After their marriage in 1935, Paul and Julia moved to what was known as the "West Well." There, Paul continued ranching, and later planted a 100 acre irrigated alfalfa field. This was one of the first fields in the valley irrigated by a deep irrigation well. Paul was truly an innovator in this area and, throughout his life, was always willing to try something new. Paul and Julia became parents in 1946 with the birth of their son Roger.

The 'West Well" had been the western headquarters for the Chiricahua Cattle Company. The Riggs Cattle Company had purchased this portion of the old "CCC", and it later became the West Well Ranch owned by Paul Riggs. This ranch included the old Sulphur Springs and much of what is now Kansas Settlement farming district. Paul's cattle carried the cross spear brand on the left hip.

In the 1950's, Paul owned the Finley Ranch located near Dragoon, and in the 1960's he acquired the Bar Boot Ranch in the Leslie Canyon area. Throughout his life, Paul was very successful in the ranching business. He died in September of 1990, and will be remembered as an honest and hardworking husband, father, and friend.

Prepared by Roger Riggs and Chris Roll.