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In Memory of the Founder of the Reel Cowboys, Jack 'J.C.' Iversen
In Memory
of the Founder

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Vol. 4 - No.01 January, 2022 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 
Trigger is Back
Statue of Roy Rogers' Beloved Horse
Finds New Home at Spirit River Center
Trigger is Back
APPLE VALLEY — After once standing tall at Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, the statue of Roy Rogers’ beloved horse Trigger has found a new home.

The Golden Palomino now greets guests at the entrance of the Spirit River Center located on Apple Valley Road, just north of Highway 18 and about 8 miles west of his previous home.

A work crew braved chilly morning temperatures Tuesday to erect the 24-foot-high statue that was situated at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum — first in Apple Valley, then in Victorville and finally in Branson, Missouri, before returning to Apple Valley in 2010 with the help of Trigger’s co-owners Chet Hitt and Bob Tinsley.

“We decided it was time for Trigger to leave Sunset Hills and tour the valley,” Tinsley told the Daily Press Wednesday. “He’s part of our history and I hope people enjoy looking at him.”

Wearing a brown jacket that included the likeness of the “King of the Cowboys” and his horse Trigger, Tinsley posed for photos with the stallion while it was being installed.

“We’re excited that Trigger is back up,” Apple Valley Mayor Art Bishop told the Daily Press. “Trigger is part of our town’s history and he reminds us of our local heritage.”

The town’s “rich history” includes Trigger, the late Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the hilltop house, the Lone Wolf Colony property and several other sites, Bishop said.

“The Apple Valley Legacy Museum at the old Apple Valley Inn is chock-full of memorabilia about our history, including Trigger, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans,” Bishop said. “Trigger’s new location allows everyone to experience our history.”

Tinsley, the owner of BR Tinsley Construction, is the developer and owner of the Spirit River Center, which is also home to the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Spirit River Cafe, High Desert Community Foundation, Massey Insurance Services and several other businesses.

“As both a resident and business owner in Apple Valley, I am honored to have Trigger at the Spirit River Center,” said Gini Watterson, owner of Massey Insurance. “It is wonderful to know that he is back in the town where he started.”
Trigger is Back
Watterson said many of her Facebook friends and relatives that saw the photo and video of Trigger’s arrival to the business center were thrilled to see the iconic horse back home, adding that "Trigger is a viable reminder of the rich history" that Apple Valley shares with his famous owner.

The almost 50-year-old Trigger statue was removed from its base last year for “repainting and repairs,” said Hitt, the owner of Sunset Hills, who revealed that Trigger sustained damage while being transported to Apple Valley from the shuttered Roy Rogers and Dale Evan Museum in Branson about eight years ago.

A local group, including Hitt and Tinsley, saved Trigger from being auctioned off after the Branson museum closed. The same group still maintains control of Trigger and the statue’s present and possible future location.

When Trigger first arrived back in Apple Valley, there were plans to mount the statue somewhere in the Apple Valley Village area along Highway 18 near Navajo Road. But the proposed location met several roadblocks, which included financing, permits and site plans.

After Trigger was removed from his stand at Sunset Hills, Hitt planned to relocate the statue to the north side of the mortuary property, behind the chapel and near the lake and new horse stables that were being built.

Soon after Trigger was removed from Sunset Hills, several residents expressed concern and outrage, with many believing the statue was removed by Sunset Hills staff because the horse’s genitalia was offensive to some park visitors.

Besides a complete makeover and paint job, however, the rest of Trigger was left unaltered, Tinsley said.
Trigger’s new home is located at:

16020 Apple Valley Road
Apple Valley, CA.92307 (google map)

For more information on the statue, click here.
by Rene Ray De La Cruz of the Daily Press
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Call 818-395-5020 for more information
click on the image for a larger version
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