Roynel Fitzgerald Wiggins, age 90, of Ruidoso and Roswell passed away peacefully in her home on September 19, 2022, in Roswell, New Mexico. Private graveside services was held for the family at South Park Cemetery by LaGrone Funeral Chapel.
Roynel was born to a pioneer ranching family near Plains, Texas on July 15, 1932. She attended Plains High School and later Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas. As a young woman, she excelled as a hard-riding rodeo cowgirl. She competed in rodeo events around the Southwest as well as riding in several early-day quarter horse match races at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack in the late 1940's. She never hesitated to compete with the boys. One of her favorite memories was winning a bull riding competition in West Texas and having the belt buckle to prove it. After college, she moved to Arizona where she owned and successfully operated the Pinta and Black Rock Ranches as well as the Coral Bar and Nightclub along Route 66 in Holbrook, Arizona. Her nightclub was well-known for having Western swing bands such as Bob Wills, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson and others stop by on the road to Las Vegas, Nevada. Roynel had strong ties to the Navajo community in Northern Arizona. She had a deep love and respect for their traditions and beliefs. During this time, she fostered a number of Navajo children on her ranch and later provided for their education. In the early 1960s Roynel met Walt Wiggins, Sr., at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack where Walt worked as manager for the track. They were soon married in Vinita, Oklahoma on April 30, 1963. In 1969 the couple moved to Roswell after purchasing a farm and ranch north of town. Stocked with Hereford cattle, the ranch showed great promise as a place to raise their three children. Always up for a challenge, the same year the couple recognized the need for a new quarter horse racing magazine and soon co-founded Quarter Racing World in Roswell, New Mexico. They eventually renamed the magazine Speedhorse and moved the company to Oklahoma in 1976. A few years later they sold Speedhorse magazine which remains a leading publication in the racehorse industry. By the early 1980's the Wiggins followed their hearts into the art business by launching Wiggins Fine Art Gallery in Roswell, New Mexico. In 1984 they moved the gallery to Ruidoso before eventually settling on historic Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During this time Roynel studied art restoration in San Francisco, California and Darmstadt, Germany. She eventually became one of the leading art restoration and appraisal experts in the Southwest. Roynel assisted her husband on numerous books focused on art as well as assisting in gallery business. After his passing in 1992, she sold the gallery and moved back to their family home in Ruidoso where she worked as an art appraiser and restoration expert. Roynel was a member of the Roswell Easel Club and founding member of the New Mexico CowBelles. She had many hobbies. In 1996 she joined the Cree Meadows Country Club in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Within a few years she captured the 9 Hole District Championship in Women's Golf which she repeated eight times. Other hobbies included pottery, China painting, oil painting, as well as collecting Native American artifacts, jewelry, and antiques on her trips. Roynel was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She taught all her children how to love, pray, rope, ride, drive, fight, hunt, laugh, forgive, and succeed in life. She was preceded in death by her parents Roy and Lucia Fitzgerald, her husband, Walt Wiggins Sr., and eight siblings. She is survived by her younger sister, Annie Jackson (J.T.); son, Walt Wiggins, Jr. (Vicki); son, Kim Wiggins (Maria); daughter, Lisa Wiggins Lester; ten grandchildren: Riley Wiggins Law (Jonathan), Jordan Wiggins, Rebekah Wiggins-Crowley (Kenny), Mona Wiggins, Gianna Wiggins, Elisha Wiggins, Eden Wiggins, James Lester Jr. (Deceased), Jennifer Lester Atkinson (James), Ashley Marin (Zeke); six great grandchildren: Annika Law, Brent Atkinson, Vance Atkinson, Mason Atkinson, Vivian Jackson, Savannah Gonzales.