Bill Collins Dies

American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Bill Collins died December 31, 2013.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Bill Collins and Smart Scotian Gold

An AQHA 20-year cumulative breeder, Bill witnessed his first cutting in 1946, but it was 1955 before he became involved with the event.  Asked to help with a cutting demonstration, it did not take long for Bill to switch from tie-down roping to cutting. A year later, in 1956, Bill and friend Leo Lemieux began showing cutting horses together and subsequently formed Leecoll Stables in Edmonton, Alberta.

By 1965, the stable was doing so well that Bill retired from tie-down roping to attend to the business of up to 75 horses. The horses stabled at Leecoll performed in both English and western events, and Bill soon found himself working with both groups. The cutter even found himself competing in a show jumping competition in Edmonton.

In 1972, the well-known cutting trainer was given Peponita, a black stallion by Peppy San and out of Bonita Tivio by Poco Tivio, to train. In 1973, Bill showed the stallion in the Canadian Cutting Horse Association 4-year-old Futurity. The duo won the futurity, and it was the first of many. The following year, Bill became the first rider in history to win the CCHA open and novice horse championships on the same horse.

A 12-time winner of the Canadian cutting championships, Bill was also an AQHA judge, a National Cutting Horse Association and CCHA judge. Bill was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Pearl Collins, his children: Russell and Billie-Lynn of Vancouver, Philip (Shannon) of Calgary and their children, Liam, Declan and Baillie; his sister, Martha Christie of Invermere, Calgary, and her children, Paula- Marie, Nat, Phillip and Carla-Jo; his stepson, Gary Coleman of Sherwood Park and his children, Benjamin and Jessica; his step-granddaughter, Jenna Syme of Brandon, Manitoba, and her son, Zakary; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceeded in death by his parents, Russell and Marie Collins; his brother and his wife, Bob and Louella of Stettler, Alberta; his brother-in-law, Nat Christie of Invermere; and his stepson, Paul Coleman of Ottawa.

A private family service will be held with cremation to follow and a celebration of life will be announced at a later date. Donations in memory of Bill may be made to a charity of one's choice or to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Bill Collins Youth Scholarship Fund. To send condolences or to share a memory, tribute or photo, please visit