Local real estate agent/broker and rancher honored at Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala
By Meagan Friberg
Hugh Pitts was the guest of honor as the community and members of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce officially announced him as the 2016 Roblan of the Year at the Annual Gala on Feb. 11 at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom.
“We are delighted to honor Hugh Pitts as the 2016 Roblan of the Year,” said Gina M Fitzpatrick, President/CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce. “Hugh’s extensive volunteerism, coupled with his dedication to keeping agriculture alive in Paso Robles and reminding us of our roots, makes him a pillar in our community and very worthy of this prestigious award.”
Hugh, a Broker/Associate Realtor with RE/MAX Parkside Real Estate, was nominated for the honor by his friend and fellow real estate professional, Elissa Williams.
“Hugh quietly does so much in our community,” said Elissa. “He barbecues for so many events and organizations, and donates his time and money to help various organizations, youth, and friends. He is just a low-key, nice guy – one of the nicest guys you’ll ever know – and he’s always willing to help.”
Growing up years
He was born to Hugh Sr. and Aniela Pitts in Houston, Texas. The second oldest of four children, he grew up with his sister Linda and brothers, Frank and Jeff. In the early 1960’s, Hugh Sr. used his signing bonus from the Houston Oilers football team to purchase his first piece of property in East Texas. The siblings worked alongside their dad on the properties that he would purchase, improve, and sell. It wasn’t all work, though – they mixed in a lot of hunting and fishing during these weekends!
Hugh played baseball and football as a youngster and during his years at Cypress Fairbanks High School. He worked for a framing contractor, a plumbing contractor, at a welding shop in the maintenance department, and was involved in vocational ag.
Hugh attended Blinn Junior College and studied Agriculture Business before earning a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University (TCU). He was a walk-on at TCU during his junior year; he played football for the Horned Frogs for two years as a deep snap center on offense and was a member of the kick-off and kick-off return teams. Hugh earned his welder certification, worked at Tapco International and graduated from the TCU Ranch Management Program. Nowadays, he tries to attend at least two or three TCU football games annually.
Family, ranch & real estate
Hugh and his wife Leslie, whose family has lived in Paso Robles since the 1950’s, dated long distance for three years before he moved to the area and they married at St. James Episcopal Church 31 years ago. They are the parents of Adelaida, 29, and Devon, 26. Their daughters attended Templeton High School and graduated from their mother’s alma mater, Cal Poly SLO.
In 1986, Hugh and Leslie had the opportunity to lease the ranch that her family had owned since 1957. They purchased part of the late Ray Samp’s commercial Charolais cow herd, 60 two-year-old English crossed heifers from Kootch Hillman, and started raising commercial beef cattle. They live on the Chimney Rock Ranch, just west of Paso Robles, where Leslie is the ranch manager and they maintain a hunt club that has been active for 40+ years.
Associations, awards, & accolades
Among his many community involvements, Hugh is the Past President and Director of the Adelaida Land Owners Protective Association, member and Past Chairman of the Adelaida Farm Center, member of the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation Board, and the Past President and Director of the Paso Robles Trail Ride. He is a member of the California Cattlemen’s Association, Past President and member of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau board, and received the 2008 Freddy of the Year Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture and the Farm Bureaus.
He hosts the Annual Farm Bureau/Foundation for Ag Awareness Crab Feed, an event that raises scholarship funds for CMSF participants. His awards and affiliations are numerous, including: 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year (Awarded by CA State Board of Equalization and the CMSF). Hugh is a SLO County Sheriff’s Advisory Council member, a SLO County Williamson Act Review Committee board member, and a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
Since joining the RE/MAX Parkside team in 2000, Hugh has remained a top agent, specializing in the farms, ranches, vineyards, acreage and luxury estates of the Adelaida area and the Westside. His licensed assistant of 14 years, Kaye Dee Rickerd, said Hugh has received numerous awards for achieving yearly sales volumes and has been named several times on the Top Producers list for the top 100 producers in the RE/MAX CA/Hawaii Region. He has been named to the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, the Executive Club, the 100% Club, and was named Top Producer, earned a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Above the Crowd Award. In addition, he has earned a spot in the RE/MAX Platinum Club and proudly oversee the barbecue for the annual RE/MAX client appreciation party.
Hugh enjoys meeting his buddies and colleagues for lunch at many of the restaurants in downtown Paso. Annually, 20 of his friends from Texas, SLO, and Paso gather for an Alaskan fishing trip. In his office, a photo of Hugh with his 230-pound halibut catch is displayed alongside numerous photos of his family, friends, his hunting and trail ride buddies, and numerous awards.
Finding out about his Roblan of the Year award came as a “complete shock” to Hugh. “I had no clue,” he said. “When I received the call I was really surprised and I am humbled by all of this attention. I’ve watched Paso Robles evolve over the last 30 years; it keeps growing and the Chamber has done a great job with keeping up with that growth. Paso Robles has a welcoming atmosphere, it’s a nice, friendly town, and I am happy to be part of this community.”
Article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of PASO Magazine.