Brush Rodeo

69th Annual Event

Watrous Pioneer Award

It’s once again time that we all celebrate our independence!  The 4th of July festivities in Brush, CO are just around the corner, and with those celebrations come family and community traditions.

Each year, the Brush Rodeo Association awards a community member in Morgan County the Watrous Pioneer Award.  In 1975, this award was established to honor those who helped build the Morgan County community and have shown the true Pioneer Spirit.

Named for Doc Watrous and Helen (Petteys) Watrous, this award encompasses the true Pioneer Spirit they exhibited throughout their lives.   In 1924 Helen’s father, Alonzo Petteys and businessman JR Ryland, purchased and later deeded the land we all know today as Memorial Park and the Morgan County Fairgrounds and from there, the legacy of giving back has continued.  They all knew that Morgan County was a very special place and dedicated time, resources, and hard work to make our community the place it is today.

These recipients have made the area a welcome spot for thousands of rodeo fans each year!  Thank you to all of the Pioneer recipients throughout the last 48 years!  

Do you know someone who has proudly represented and tirelessly contributed to this community for 65 or more years?  This can be an individual, a couple, or a deserving family.

The recipient of this award is recognized during the Brush Rodeo on July 3rd, ‘Pioneer Night’, where all who are 62 or older are admitted free of charge, a long-standing tradition that must not go unnoticed.   

Nominations must be received no later than

June 10, 2024

For an application, please contact Chuck Miller at [email protected]


The 2024 Watrous Pioneer Award recipient will be announced during the July 3rd rodeo performance.


Take a look at the honored champions of our community… just might know some of them!

2023      Don & Carol Heer

2022     Donald ‘Chic’ & Donna Ruhl

2021     Dr. Jack Collins

2019     Steve Treadway

2018     Larry Chartier

2017     Gary Hodgson

2016     Phil Mortensen

2015     Art & Bernice Crosthwait

2014     Conrad Bostron Family

2013     Marvin & Beverly Kembel

2012     Homer Wickham

2011     Joy Kjeldgaard

2010     Louis J. Lorenzini

2009     John Woodward

2008     Lloyd Hansen

2007     Ron Edwards Family

2006     John Glenn Family

2005     Etheldean Bell

2004     Harry Mohrlang

2003     Ruth Scott

2002     Elton & Laura Ingmire

               Ray & Bev Ingmire

2001     Carl & Lucille Schlothauer

2000     Mary Mohrlang

1999     Phil & Betty Vondy

1998     Jim & Anna Marie Hutcheson

1997     Sylva Kula

1996     Scott Wolever

1995     Don & Margaret Queen

1994     Howard & Idessa Mann

1993     Calvin ‘Cal’ Leach

              Eileen Wahlert

1992     Frank & Kathy Mercer

1991     Elizabeth Church

1990     Reverend Reinhold Opp

1989     Warren M. ‘Doc’ & Helen Watrous

1988     Ruth Powell

1987     Joe Bowman

1986     Harvey Reinert

1985     Pat Kastler

1984     Ruth Henderson

1983     Guidotta Bates

1982     Ted Rediess

1981     Harold Gray

1980     Grace Eakins

1979     N.C. ‘Jack’ Wagers

1978     Charley Starr

1977     William ‘Bill’ Luers

1976     John Amen

1975     Chris Danielsen

Dr. Jack Collins is awarded a plaque alongside the honor of being the 2021 Watrous Outstanding Pioneer Award winner. (Katie Roth/The Fort Morgan Times)

Dr. Jack Collins, affectionately known as Doc, was presented with a plaque during the July 3 rodeo naming him the winner of the 2021 Watrous Outstanding Pioneer Award. As the plaque explains, the award is given on behalf of the Brush Rodeo Association to individuals or families who have demonstrated “spirit, perseverance and dedication to Morgan County and its citizens,” and in turn, have made Brush a welcoming location for rodeo visitors each year.

Collins was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but moved to Morgan County in 1978 after accepting a job offer, his first after graduation.

He completed his surgery training at the University of Colorado and worked to receive his master’s degree from Stanford University. Collins followed in his father’s footsteps as a second generation surgeon.

In 1979 — just one year after relocating — Collins became a member of the Brush Rodeo Association board and has only missed one year of rodeo festivities since that time. (He was unable to make it to the rodeo in 2005 because he was recovering from cancer surgery.)

Collins decided to buy a local farm in 1981 and has continued to serve the Brush and Morgan County communities as both a practicing surgeon and a rodeo volunteer. Collins’ father was a practicing surgeon until the age of 99, so it’s unlikely that Doc will retire any time soon.

Collins’ friend Keith Bath stood alongside him as he received the award on Saturday evening.

Source: Fort Morgan Times

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