Bob Avila

Bob Avila

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2020

2020-2021 HOF Inductees

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“He owned a brand-new Corvette. He worked at a high-paying job, was popular with the ladies, sported a ponytail and made the most of bright-light weekends at Lake Tahoe. For a 20-year-old on the cusp of the rest of his life, this guy had it all,” wrote Katie Tims in 1971 in The Quarter Horse Journal.

He chucked it all to go back to horses.

Born in November 1951, Robert Charles “Bob” Avila grew up with American Quarter Horses in Redwood City, where his dad was a trainer and rodeo cowboy and his mother worked at a western store while giving riding lessons to fund her horse show habit. Bob left home after high school to make his own way, but soon found that way would be with horses.

“Horses have given me everything I have,” Bob says. “Quarter Horses have helped make me what I am. They have been my life’s work and I owe them everything.”

Learning each step along the way, Bob has become one of the industry’s best-known all-around horsemen. He has trained champions in AQHA, NRHA, NRCHA, NCHA, and other associations, including Major Bonanza, Major Investment, The Major Leaguer, Mist N Smoke, Smoke Em Okie, Wright On, Smart Lil Calboy, Smart Zanolena, and Chics Magic Potion. Bob also won the World’s Greatest Horseman on Paid By Chic in 2000 and Light N Fine in 2007.

Already inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Fame, where he became a million dollar rider while serving on the judges committee and executive board, Bob is a founding member of AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Committee. In 1995, he became the first AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year, has been an AQHA judge for 19 years, and has served on the judges committee since 2009.

An AQHA director from Oregon for more than 10 years, Bob and wife Dana spent 18 years on their ranch at Temecula, California, where they raised horses, Bob trained, and Dana showed as an amateur. They recently relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona, where they also continue developing and marketing saddles, tack, and bits.

Bob’s son, B.J., has become a well-known trainer in his own right, one of many who Bob mentored through the years. Numerous up-and-coming horsemen including, Todd Bergen, Duane Latimer and John Slack – to pick a few – each worked for Bob before hanging out their own shingles and going on to win the NRHA Futurity.

Bob Avila was into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame 2020.

Biography updated as of August 2021.