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Harold Chapin

January 2, 1935 – July 24, 2019

Harold Chapin, 84 peacefully passed away July 24, 2019 at home with his wife Rita by his side. Harold was born on January 2, 1935 to Alice Mcknight Chapin and Edwin Chapin.

He was the fourth of five boys: George (Delma), Charlie (Lois), Vernon (Judy), and Jerry (Karla). As a ranch kid, Harold’s love of horses started early. At age 12, Harold started colts for his dad and also at the stockyards in Elko.

The going rate at that time was $2.00/ride. Harold started rodeoing when he was 16. He graduated from Elko High School and still worked for his dad on the ranch. He eventually branched out and went to work for the 25 Ranch and kept rodeoing. Harold met Rita Zabala and they married in 1955.

He provided her with her first “home”, a tent at the 25 Ranch and she cooked for the cowboys. She was up for the adventure as Harold became the buckaroo boss for McLeary’s Circle A Ranch in Paradise Valley. Harold quit this job to continue rodeoing.

At the height of Harold’s career, he earned All Around and Saddle Bronc Championship titles in 1962 and 1963 on the NCA rodeo circuit. Harold stopped rodeoing and started his lifelong love of raising horses. He and Rita made a home on East 2nd Street in Winnemucca. When the highway moved them out, they bought property out in Paradise Hill. What was originally acres, filled with dust and sagebrush, is now a beautiful and productive alfalfa farm.

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Harold and Rita continued raising quarter horses. Harold shared his knowledge of horse training with many friends. The same quiet, calming manner combined with high expectation and gentle encouragement worked as well on horses as it did on the people that Harold met throughout his life.

Harold was a quiet man, not because he didn’t have anything to say, but because he measured carefully what he said, meaning every word. Harold had a quick wit and good sense of humor. He was hardworking and tough but kind and patient.

Harold was devoted to Rita and his family which included everyone that walked through their door. Harold was also a talented artist. He created many beautiful rawhide bracelets, necklaces and cowboy gear.

Harold shared his knowledge of braiding with many young people. He sold some of his creations but often due to his generous nature, gave them as priceless gifts. Harold was honored at the 2008 Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo as the Ranch Hand Cowboy of the year. Harold was known as a cowboy’s cowboy. He liked to stay home, but loved people to stop and visit and everyone was welcome.

Harold is preceded in death by his parents and three of his brothers; George, Vernon and Charlie. Harold is survived by his wife, Rita Chapin; brother, Jerry (Karla) and brother-in-law, Ray Zabala (Bonnie), as well as many devoted nephews, nieces, great nephews, great nieces, and friends who love him.

Harold’s wishes were that no memorial services be held. Those who wish to, can donate to LaRena’s Race (PO Box 435/McDermitt, NV 89421) or Rope for Hope (PO Box 328/Wmca, NV 89446) in Harold’s name.

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