Local rodeo producer Virginia Honeycutt dies
ALAMOSA, Colo. — If ever there was a sweetheart of the rodeo it was Virginia Honeycutt.
The long-time matriarch of the large rodeo-oriented Honeycutt family died of a heart attack Saturday in Alamosa, Colorado.
The Honeycutt family is well-known in the Tri-state as producers of the Laughlin River Stampede, Xtreme Bulls and the Avi River Stampede rodeos for more than 25 years.
In addition to bucking horses, roping steers and booking novelty acts, Honeycutt championed many causes from her perch at the head of the Honeycutt table, including the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Tough Enough to Wear Pink.
Honeycutt didn’t suffer laziness and all members of the family had a job to do, and they learned to do it well with Honeycutt’s encouragement. She accepted nothing less. Her philosophy was if the youngest member could walk, they could do chores and, of course, everybody had to learn to ride a horse — quickly.
Honeycutt wore many hats at the family’s rodeo events. She took care of everybody from riders to rodeo fans, gave behind-the-scenes tours to school groups and made sure everyone had everything they needed to ride, rope, or entertain.
Honeycutt was tough as nails when she had to be and accommodating when the situation called for it. Earning her respect was something special. She might give a grandkid a “good talking to,” one minute and be so proud of them the next.
“I admired Virginia Honeycutt so much,” said Jena Morga, former Laughlin Tourism Commission executive director, who worked with the Honeycutts on numerous events. “She was an icon of the American West. Her entire life she spent upholding the values that we equate with the western lifestyle: unfailingly faithful to her Lord, her family, her livestock and the rodeo.
“She was perfectly happy to say grace in a restaurant, get after her kids over the rodeo PA system, say she was sorry, say I love you and to laugh out loud. Lovely, lovely woman.”
Honeycutt’s legacy began in 1886, when her great-grandparents homesteaded to Alamosa from New York. It was 56 years later, in 1942, when Virginia Pearl was born to Walt and Alice Alsbaugh. She and her brother, Art, and her sister, Betty, grew up with a father who is considered a legendary stock contractor with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Virginia met her own rodeo cowboy, Roy Honeycutt, in 1963. They eloped, and the couple were best friends for 55 years. Not long into their relationship, Virginia and Roy dedicated their lives to serving Jesus Christ.
With their strong faith guiding their journey, the couple ran their own rodeo company for more than 40 years before handing the reins to the next generation of Honeycutts.
Virginia and Roy traveled across the country and the world producing rodeos — every single performance held on a Sunday included cowboy church.
After every event, they returned home to Alamosa.
Virginia Honeycutt is survived by Roy, her three children, Jerry, Scott and Janet; four grandchildren — Tel, Orrin, Dawson and Riley; and one great-grandchild, Waycee.
A service will be held to honor Honeycutt at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14 at College Heights Baptist Church in Alamosa.
Roy asked that those who would like to make a donation do so to College Heights Baptist Church, where the couple worshiped for almost 50 years.