By Anie Wayman-Trujillo
Stan and Bette Watson have been named Grand Marshals of the 2020 Gold Rush Days Parade.
The Watsons are no strangers to the Gold Rush Days celebrations. As 50-year residents of Wickenburg, volunteering for the many events in their community has been a way of life for this well-known couple.
Moving to Wickenburg when the population was only 2,400, Stan and Bette understood the importance of giving back to the small town where they wanted to live and raise their two daughters.
Stan set up shop in the insurance business and Bette started serving as a 4-H leader and helping out at the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber was very different back then.” Bette says. “I did a lot of different duties and helped out with all the events like the mixers and the newsletter. I was also on one of many Miss Gold Nugget committees,” she remembers.
Stan also became involved with the Chamber by becoming the chairman of the Gold Rush Days gold panning. “Gold panning and the rodeo were what Gold Rush Days was all about,” Stan remembers.
Stan also served as the president of the Chamber and in 1986-1987 was the original chairman of the renovation committee of the Santa Fe Depot, where the Chamber is housed today. Stan still holds a position on the Chamber’s Past Presidents Council.
Because of their dedication to the community and “through their civic leadership, both of these volunteers have been recognized by our organization as well as the Town of Wickenburg and Lions International,” stated Julie Brooks, executive director of the Chamber.
Volunteering did not stop with just the Chamber however, Stan enjoyed 25 years as part of the chain crew at the high school football games, was active as a Wickenburg Lion, was a volunteer fireman for 18 years and even did a stint on Town Council. Bette also would volunteer for the Wickenburg Lioness Ladies, and was instrumental in getting the Red Ribbon and Lioness’ Against Drugs program started and worked for the Wickenburg Sun selling specialty ads for 15 years. She’s also well known for her tireless efforts with the Wickenburg Welcome Wagon, which reached out in friendship to new town residents.
Although health issues have slowed down Stan’s volunteering duties, Bette still keeps busy working at the Chamber on Fridays holding the title of the longest-serving Visitors Center Information Specialist.
Stan and Bette have seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren most of which still live in and around Arizona. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in September 2019 in Wickenburg and as Stan states, “We would not trade being a part of Wickenburg for anything, it’s truly been a treasurer being here.”