click here to return to Homepage

Chris Bengoa

Christopher "Chris" Bengoa (1918-1992)

Christopher "Chris" Bengoa was born Sept. 14, 1918, in Winnemucca, NV, the fourth child of Francisco and Margarita Achabal Bengoa. He spent his early years of growing up in the McDermitt area, going to grammar school in McDermitt. His first two years in high school, he attended in Reno, NV. He graduated from Humboldt County High School in 1936 and had the distinction of having been the first drum major of the school. After high school Chris attended the Portland School of Welding in Portland, Oregon. From there Chris returned to work in the family sheep operation living at the Jackson Creek Ranch, 20 miles northeast of McDermitt, NV in Malheur County, Oregon.

In 1941, Chris along with brothers Cleto and Frank, bought the Kings River Ranch in the Kings River Valley, where he spent his life working as one of the longest family ranching operations in Humboldt County. Chris was known as a good rancher, stockman, horseman, and a hard worker. Chris had the reputation of being a good teacher in his craft having taught many how to do proper ranch work and ranch business. He was further known as a good neighbor and participated in the community affairs of the Kings River Valley Community. Fluent in three languages, he was known by people of varying cultures and businesses throughout the county, state and neighboring states.

Chris was married to Mary Gabica in 1946. He was an active father to his daughter Ceci, twin sons Chris and Cleto and the proud grandfather of seven grandchildren, Lisa Scott, Will Ratliff, Sonny, Cody, Sandy, Rusty, and Kelsey Bengoa. Chris was a firm supporter of his children and grandchildren's education, sports, rodeo and all their extra curriculum activities. Chris loved all kids and was highly respected by many nieces, nephews, and children of the Valley.

Chris's first love was family, his horses, cattle, cowboying, and the ranch on which he could do all phases of ranching. With the support of relatives and neighbors, the immediate family was able to grant his wish of passing on, December 24, 1992, at his beloved ranch, Kings River Ranch.

Chris Bengoa was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 2004.


If you're a man that respects what God’s given you,
Your family, your friends and your land,
and if you love back those that love you,
and you give your neighbors a hand;

If you look folks in the eye, and you smile,
and you treat people fair,
And you always stay a man of your word,
one of trust, one of care;

If you think before you speak, speak from the heart,
And then what you say is true,
And you stay strong through your struggles and do your best,
At everything you do;

If you do all these things, with no questions asked,
And you work, of course, just as hard as you can,
Then you're a good man Mister, like Chris Bengoa,
My uncle and my friend.

Dedicated to the memory of Chris Bengoa

By Joe Gabica 12/28/92