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New Mexico event organizer Willard Chilcott dies at 89

Published January 19, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M (BRAIN) — Willard Chilcott, a cycling enthusiast who envisioned and developed at least two major events in New Mexico, died Monday at age 89.


Chilcott was a friend, riding buddy, supporter and mentor to members of the staff at Bicycle Retailer, which launched in Santa Fe in 1994. The magazine's staff sends our deep condolences to his family and friends in New Mexico and around the country.

Chilcott became a cycling enthusiast in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s he moved to Santa Fe from California. A few years later he took over organizing the Santa Fe Century and ran it for many years. The annual event still attracts thousands. Chilcott also spent years researching, mapping and promoting the idea of a bike tour along the Santa Fe Trail, from Santa Fe to Missouri. The 1,100 mile tour was first held in 1995 and held biannually over the next 21 years, limited to about 50 participants each year. After the 2016 event, Chilcott announced that year's event would be the final edition. 

According to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Chilcott was born in Pasadena, California. His early life in California included interests in business, politics, music and entertainment. In 1960, he co-founded The Ice House, a well-known comedy club in Pasadena that is still operating. He gave up his interest in the club in 1978 and moved to Santa Fe in 1980. 

Besides the bike event, he helped found the Santa Fe Community Orchestra in 1982 and often played with the group. 

Chilcott also organized European biking tours for friends. 

He is survived by his wife Marilyn Fisher, his daughter Cynthia, sons Richard, Willard Jr. and John, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Family members told the New Mexican that Chilcott did not want a memorial service, so none is planned.

More information: Santa Fe New Mexican | obituary


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