AQHA Professional Horseman, judge and life member Bruce Walquist, a beloved member of the horse industry and a coach to many young athletes, passed away May 6, 2023, at the age of 68. Bruce was born on October 15, 1954, in Topeka, Kansas, to Harvey and Roberta Walquist. He grew up in a loving family with his brother Wayne Walquist.
Bruce was a graduate of Lyndon High School and received a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in psychology from Emporia State University. He had a passion for horses from a young age and got involved in 4-H and saddle clubs around Lyndon, Kansas. In 1979, he started training horses for the public and went on to achieve incredible success in the horse industry.
Bruce was an accomplished horse trainer and had a long list of accomplishments to his name, including multiple AQHA World and Congress Champion titles, numerous Palomino Horse Breeders of America World titles, and numerous National Snaffle Bit Association futurity wins. He coached and trained multiple AQHYA, AQHA & American Paint Horse Association amateur World, Congress and Honor Roll Champions in a large range of events, including longe line, halter, western pleasure and all-around events. He earned a spot on the NSBA Top 20 Lifetime earnings list in Open Yearling Longe Line and held a judge's card with AQHA, NSBA and World Conformation Horse Association.
An AQHA 30-year breeder, Bruce won four AQHA world championships: Two with Mr MBJ West in halter in 1981 and 1982; senior western riding with Dress Western in 2004; and junior western riding with All But Sudden in 2012. As an AQHA judge, Bruce judged the inaugural AQHA Level 1 Championships and four AQHA world championship shows (2019 AQHYA World, 2012 and 2018 AQHA Select World, and the open division of the 2022 AQHA World).
In addition to his success in the horse industry, Bruce was an avid sports fan, especially of the University of Kansas basketball. He coached boys high school basketball and baseball at Joshua Christian Academy for seven years and played college baseball. He also enjoyed playing golf and serving the Lord at Joshua Baptist Church.
Bruce married Cindy on April 26, 1980, and they had a daughter named Whitney in 1988. Bruce had a heart bigger than Texas and was a wonderful husband, father and friend. He had a gift for bringing out the best in his students and was loved by many for his kind and generous spirit.
Bruce is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Wayne. He is survived by his wife Cindy, also an AQHA Professional Horseman; daughter Whitney; son-in-law Craig Vicars; nieces Amy Eichem, Carrie Walquist-Shaffer and Megan Walquist-Kilgore and their families, as well as countless close friends and other relatives.
A funeral service will be held to celebrate Bruce's life. Bruce’s love for the Lord showed through in his kind spirit and care for others everywhere he went. We know that he is riding on streets of gold with those who have gone on before him. His legacy will continue to live on through the many lives he touched and the horses he trained. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
The Walquist-Vicars family would like to thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love and respect you have all shown this amazing husband and father.
The funeral is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Joshua Baptist Church, 3231 Southwest Wilshire Blvd., Joshua, TX 76058. The service will also be live streamed for those that cannot attend via Joshua Baptist Church Facebook page, their website and YouTube .
There will be a visitation the evening before:
Tuesday May 16
Mountain Valley Funeral Home
3407 SW Wilshire Blvd.
Joshua, TX 76058
For flowers, please consider Blooms by Brookie. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in the name of Bruce Walquist to either the AQHA Professional Horsemen's Endowment Fund or the National Snaffle Bit Association Crisis Fund.
Attendees from out of town: The closest airport is DFW International, which is approximately 45 minutes from church. If you will be staying in the Pilot Point area, it is about 1.5-hour drive. Be mindful of Fort Worth traffic on Wednesday morning.