The 2006 Pioneer Horseman Award Recipient is Bill Robbins

                                                  Bill Robbins
                                    July 4, 1932 – February 18, 2005 

The Minnesota Horse Council Bill Pioneer Horseman award honors those individuals from past years whose expertise and contributions madelong-lasting positive changes in the equine industry.  The sixth award recipient is Bill Robbins of Maple Plain, Minnesota.

 Bill’s passion was horses.  He played polo for more than 50 years raising and training most of his own horse.  He said it was the only game where an old man and a young girl or anyone in between could play on the same team.  Bill started riding at age 9 in Pierre, South Dakota.  Bill’s father was a doctor, and he lived in town, but his love of horses led him into the ranch community.  He helped break and train the horses used in polo after the war.  He was playing tournament polo at age 14 and at age 17 was rated a 3 goal player.  He was one of the youngest players to receive that distinction.  He participated in tournaments throughout the Midwest, and was part of the Pierre, South Dakota polo team that played the last game at Fort Snelling before they closed it down.

 Bill was president of the Minnesota Horse Council from 1993-1995, 1998-1999 and 2002-2003.  He was a board member of the Minnesota Horse Council and the Minnesota Horse Expo until his death.  He chaired the legislative committee and helped pass laws to limit liability and remove sales tax on all horses.  He then helped in returning equine to the description of livestock.  He was particularly excited about the Minnesota Horse Expo arm of the Minnesota Horse Council being able to generate the funds to advance the horse industry throughout the state, from 4-H projects to trails and scholarships.

 Bill was a member of the Twin City Polo Club since 1977 and a participant in the Children’s Home Society Polo Event since its inception.  Bill agreed with the saying that polo was a gentleman’s game played by maniacs, or a maniac’s game played by gentlemen but the main thing was to play in such a manner that you were always invited back.

 Bill’s widow, Jill will receive the Pioneer Horseman Award in his honor at the Minnesota State Fair.

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