1923, 1924, 1926, 1927 & 1929 Madison Square Garden Rodeos. I have most of the Programs
and Day Sheets from this era but they don’t mention who the announcer was for those years.
Can anyone help me with this problem?
I am researching and am having much difficulty finding out who the announcers were for the
1923, 1924, 1926, 1927 & 1929 Madison Square Garden Rodeos. I have most of the Programs
and Day Sheets from this era but they don’t mention who the announcer was for those years.
Can anyone help me with this problem?
Wrestling The World,
The Life & Times Of World Rodeo Champion Jack Roddy
By Katie Cooney
Jack Roddy’s life has primarily been rodeo, and he has succeeded to get to the top. He became the World Champion Steer Wrestler in 1966 & 1968. He has been inducted to the Rodeo Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and received the Ben Johnson Memorial Award there as well. He was inducted to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979, their first year, at Colorado Springs. He has won many other rodeo awards, and been the first to do certain things in rodeo, or done them the most times. Jack is a true All Around Cowboy and has personally done so much to protect and improve rodeo.
This tell-all will surprise many long time fans. Jack is of Irish heritage, and his father was not easy to deal with, but Jack wrestled with him until they found a common ground. Jack has represented rodeo in many ways; by being the Steer Wrestling Director, being part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Board of Directors turning rodeo into a multi-million dollar sport. He has represented rodeo against PETA and other groups working under the guise of protecting animals, in such a manner that proved rodeo protects their animals better than most and should never be accused of abusing them. After all, the stock used in rodeo is their ‘bread and butter’.
Jack has had many other endeavors through his life, such as running bars in San Francisco and San Jose, CA. He has managed ranches, has wrestled against reforms that almost broke the United States beef industry. He also worked to protect ranchers and ranching in so many ways, and most people were never aware these problems even existed.
The cowboy, Jack, attended Cal Poly, and won top rodeo awards in the NIRA. When the school had their rodeo grounds taken away from them Jack was approached to help raise funds to build new facilities. Not only did he succeed in doing so, he brought much more financing than was expected and needed.
He has had his share of injuries in the arena. He also had the loss of friends in the arena, as well. He and Dale Smith bought a ranch near Brentwood, California, on which Jack lived and managed the ranch. It was well-situated for people in the San Francisco Bay area, and he built a top rated golf course on the ranch. The beautiful setting could manage cattle, and an occasional roping and steer wrestling in the arena. He could also hold a major gathering such as a barbeque in a covered area, area/arena, which he did for the Rodeo Historical Society one year.
Jack has had a diverse life, and even took good friend, Chris Cox, well-known horse trainer, and an entourage, including a film crew to Ireland to visit relatives still living there. He made a documentary of the trip which he shared with friends. He eventually found his life partner, Donna, and they are an excellent team.
Unfortunately, he has also had to wrestle with the double-cross of a trusted partner. He discovered a young man which he had befriended and considered family, had stolen a large sum of money from Jack. But the financial losses have only strengthened Jack’s ability to wrestle with right and wrong. These are the things that shaped his integrity and belief in doing the right thing. This is the honest story of a Champion.
Katie Cooney is the author of this account of her friend Jack’s life experiences. She also attended Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, and comes from Irish farming roots. She has traveled the world and photographed and written about a multitude of things she has seen. She earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling and MBA in Global Business. She consults in marketing and sales in the San Francisco Bay area and lives in San Jose with her husband, and two dogs. You can order the book by going to Amazon.com.
Cowboy Protection Association
Skipper Voss “Let’s Get Western” 2020 Tour
June 13 At Jacksboro, Texas • Sheriff’s Posse Arena
This gathering did “Get Western!!”; with bullfighters and bull riders challenged by bulls with a whole lot of attitude!
Michael Griffin, the ramrod and creator of this affair, explained the program. Two bullfighters to a team faced 10 bulls coming out of the chutes individually with bull riders challenged to stay on for 8 seconds. There were three teams. As long as the bull rider rode, the team stood back preparing where to be when needed and watching the bull’s every move. When the bull rider ‘left’ the bull the team jumped in and protected the rider. Only one bull rider, in 30 bull rides, rode until the whistle. Needless to say, the teams had their work cut out for them.
There were three teams of two bullfighters. Team 1: Brandon Gipson from New Mexico & Nigel Harvey from New Mexico. Team 2: Tyler Theissen from Texas & Mason Sheldon from Kansas. Team 3: Tristan Seargeant, Texas and Jacob Welker from Kansas. Watching from the grandstand was fun since the bulls left the chute with an attitude, and once the bull rider left his back, he attempted to stomp and horn the rider, then he focused on the bullfighters, and was NOT ready to leave the arena. For several bulls it was necessary for the cowboy on horseback to rope the bull and attempt to drag him reluctantly out the arena gate. I will say, the bullfighters were quite good and no one was injured severely. Several went over the fence head first, to escape the bull’s wrath. The horse and rider in the arena were challenged by the bulls several times, but they stayed just a hair away from those treacherous sharp horns.
After each of the three teams worked their ten bulls each team was given a Cross Bred fighting bull to work. This was also exciting to watch as these bulls were definitely there to destroy their opponents. These bulls and the bucking bulls were supplied by Norris Dalton Bucking Bulls.
The Cowboy Protection Association held their first Ring of Fire and honored Skipper Voss, Jerry Don Galloway, Kirby Burney, David Burnham, Wick Peth (deceased) and Tom Feller. These recognized bullfighters were all outstanding bullfighters in their day.
After that part of the program, four United Bullfighters Association bullfighters were each given a Mexican fighting bull to ‘play’ with for 40 seconds, then an additional 20 seconds should they choose to continue. The bullfighters were: Jeffrey Wheelock of North Platte, Nebraska; Tyler Washburn of White Cloud, Michigan; Lane McWilliams of Missouri; and Colt Carlisle of San Saba, Texas. Penthouse Fighting Bulls provided the &UBF Mexican fighting bulls.
Lane McWilliams was first and came out ready for anything; in short order the bull got the upper-hand and roughed him up a bit. He made it to the fence and got out of the bull’s way, but it was evident he got ‘the short end of the stick’. Although the medics on hand came in to the arena, he walked out with them. Jeffrey Wheelock had a good run and stayed with the bull, just out of his way, and scored well. Colt Carlisle also challenged his bull, and stayed just out of reach. The winner was Tyler Washburn who overtook his bull, working circles around him and became the winner.
Separate judges were scoring the teams, the four UBA bullfighters, and the bull riders. The Cowboy Protection winning team was Tristan Seargeant and Jacob Welker who got $5,000 . The only bullrider, who rode to the whistle was Brandon Christian, winning $3,000. The Freestyle Bullfighting winner was Tyler Washburn who won $1,100.
Sponsors for this event include: Humps & Horns Magazine, Number JUAN Tequila, Stride Out Ranch & Rodeowear, Punchy as Hell Brand & Buckles, Cowboy World, and Real Rodeo TV.
After the bullfighters versus the bulls events ended Kris Gordon provided great musical entertainment. AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL.
The First Ever “Riggin’ Rally” At Steiner’s Rockin’ X S Ranch
Cowboys left to right: Tilden Hooper, Rocker Steiner, Richmond Champion, Bobby Steiner, Sid Steiner, Kaycee Feild. Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Donoso
People in rodeo know at least a couple of the five-generation Steiner family. They have helped make rodeo what it is today. And if anyone can ‘buck’ the coronavirus pandemic (pardon the pun), it is this family. May 23rd Steiner’s Rockin’ X S Ranch, near Weatherford, TX, held the first ever ‘ Riggin’ Rally’ with seventeen of the top bareback riders in PRCA. Announcers Bob Tallman and Anthony Lucia handled the microphones, and promoted a constant report on scores. In typical Tallman fashion the backgrounds of these young, dynamic and dedicated bareback riders were shared with the audience throughout the evening.
Several of the riders competed at the Cave Creek, AZ Rodeo the night before, which was on the Cowboy Channel, but they weren’t going to miss this event, no matter what! Rodeo competitors are tired of waiting out this dreaded pandemic, and aching to compete! It’s not that the cowboys or Steiners have ignored the demands to distance themselves, stay at home, and avoid crowds. Governor Abbott of Texas had announced he was approving rodeos before this event. It’s time to begin to get back to normal.
After the arena dirt was worked to the max, by no other than Sid Steiner, 2002 World Champion Steer Wrestler, and the sun was sinking in the west, Steely Steiner (Sid and Jamie’s daughter) carried the American flag on her beautiful dapple grey horse around the arena.
They stood at attention in the middle of the arena while we bowed our heads in prayer and all sang the National Anthem. Everyone has missed the atmosphere and that song these past months.
Once all seventeen riders were introduced, the four chutes were filled with great looking bucking horses. They were so sleek and handsome it was like looking at pristine show horses, but, boy, could they buck! The judges were Butch Kirby and Buddy Reynolds, both PRCA judges. Chute bosses were handled by Darrell Barron and Mark Baker. And where was Bobby Steiner, 1973 World Champion Bull Rider? At the chutes, taking care of business, of course.
The Long Round:
½. Richmond Champion, Stevensville, MT – John Wayne, Rockin’ XS - 90 points
½. Clint Laye, Cadogan, Alberta – Hot Valley, Rockin’ XS – 90 points
3 Jess Pope, Marshall, MO – Walker, Smith Pro Rodeo – 89.5 pts.
4. Tilden Hooper, Carthage, TX – Borrowed Money, Rockin’ XS – 86 pts.
5. Leighton Berry, Weatherford, TX – Sun Catcher, Rockin’ XS – 85.5 pts.
6. Clayton Biglow, Clements, CA - Paper Clip, Rockin’ XS – 85 pts.
7/8. Will Lowe, Canyon, TX – Josey, Scotty Lovelace – 84 pts.
7/8. Bill Tutor, Huntsville, TX – Blue Moon, Rockin’ XS – 84 pts.
9. Kaycee Feild, Genola, UT – Robins Best, Rockin’ XS – 83 pts.
10/11. Jamie Howlett, Rapid City, SD (formerly Australia) – PWR Pro’s Joe Exotic – 82.5 pts.
10/11. Caleb Bennett, Corvallis, MT – Salsa, Rockin’ XS – 82.5 pts
12. Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, IA – Yellowstone, Rockin’ XS – 82 pts.
13. Zach Hibler, Wheeler, TX – Metallica, Rockin’ XS – 80.5 pts.
14/15. Cole Reiner, Kaycee, WY – The Gauge, Rockin’ XS – 80 pts.
14/15. Taylor Broussard, Estherwood, LA – Echo Ridge, Rockin’ XS – 80 pts.
16. Mason Clements, Draper, UT – Thin Lizzie, SR Rodeo – 77 pts.
17. Jake Brown, Cleveland, TX – Smoke Jumper, United Pro Rodeo – 0 pts.
The top scoring eight came back for the short-go, and added their two scores to determine the winner.
The Short Round:
1. Richmond Champion - Pow Wow Rocks, united Pro Rodeo – 90.5 pts.
2. Clayton Biglow – Confused Vegas, Big Rafter Rodeo – 90 pts.
3. Will Lowe – Colorado Kool Aid, Rockin’ XS – 88 pts.
4. Clint Laye – Chrome Cowboy, Rockin’ XS – 87 pts
5. Jess Pope – Mrs Julian, Big Rafter Rodeo – 86.5 pts.
6. Tilden Hooper – Adams Pet, Steve Wagaan – 84.5 pts.
7. Leighton Berry – Dear Rodeo, Scotty Lovelace – 83.5
8. Bill Tutor – Happy Trails, United Pro Rodeo – 0 pts.
1. Richmond Champion – 180.5 pts - $10,000, plus a $15,000 belt buckle donated by Steiners
Made by B-J Buckles, Preston Johnson (grandson of long time competitor or stock
contractor, Bernis Johnson
2. Clint Laye – 177 pts - $7,500
3. Jess Pope – 176 pts - $5,000
4. Clayton Biglow – 175 pts - $4,000
5. Will Lowe – 172 pts - $3,000
6. Tilden Hooper – 170.5 pts - $2,000
7. Leighton Berry – 169 pts - $1,500
8. Bill Tutor – 84 pts - $1,000
Each rider, not winning money, received $500 for competing in this event. No entry fee was required.
Rocker Steiner, age sixteen, (son of Sid and Jamie) gave an exhibition bareback ride on a wild paint horse. Did he make the 8 second whistle? You bet he did! He became a Wake Board Champion when he was only 9 years old and held the title for 2013. But these days Rocker is itching to be old enough to join PRCA, which is eighteen. He wants to compete in bareback riding with the best.
This event was a tribute to the following deceased important people of rodeo: Tommy & Beverly Steiner, deceased parents of Bobby, who produced rodeos across the country, and were innovators of having movie cowboys and western musicians to entertain their outstanding rodeos; Benny Binion, entrepreneur and major supporter of rodeo and the person that got the National Finals moved to Las Vegas in 1985; and Lewis Feild, three time All-Around Cowboy of the World (1985-1987) and 1985 and 1986 World Champion Bareback Rider, father of Kaycee Feild, riding at this event.
The Steiners are gathering some mighty good bucking horses and have chosen to use a Grated Coconut bred stallion for their foundation stock. Grated Coconut is being inducted to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame this year. Other rodeo stock contractors had some of their National Finals quality bucking horses there, as well.
Sponsors for the first ever “Riggin’ Rally” were: Resistol, Polaris, Hooey, Steiner Ranch Steak House, Ronnie Campbell, Ariat, PWR PRO, Capri Campers, Crown Royal, Jerry Durant GMC, Cinch, Barstow Rodeo Equipment, Vaqueros Café & Cantina & Yellowstone ( television program on Paramount).
The Chuckwagon Feed was donated by the Steiner family. The entertainment during, and after the bareback riding, was Bobby Kerr and his Amazing Mustangs, 2017 Specialty Act of the Year and Tommy Shane Steiner and Drew Womack, providing the music.
The following morning, at Rockin’ XS Ranch, all the bareback riders were having coffee and discussing the event the night before. One cowboy said, “This is the first time I have ever felt like I did at a competition, except when I’m at the National Finals.” The other riders all had to agree, -- it was something special.
A good time was had by all, and everyone that attended can hardly wait until 2021 for the 2nd “Riggin’ Rally”.
This event was filmed by Cowboy Channel, with Janie Johnson interviewing the competitors. Check your local listings for the date it will be shown.
A Look Back in Rodeo – Over 100 Years
In the Hoofs & Horns magazine Foghorn Clancy had a column called ‘Memory Trail’ and in the February 1943 issue this is what he wrote:
Now that the rodeo season is over and I have a little spare time on my hands, something that I never have during the season, and having no picture of anyone to send in for Memory Trail, that is of anyone of whom I have not already written, I have just let my memory run wild back over the years of rodeo activities and have marveled at the progress that has been made in this great sport.
There is one spot that keeps recurring to my memory, and I guess it would be of as much interest, especially to some of the old timers, as anything I could write at this time, and that is the first rodeo staged in the Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, this last March twenty-five years ago.
Of course, the Fat Stock Show had been going on for many years then. In fact I can remember the Fat Stock Show back in the days when I came in from Palo Pinto County to try and get a little city education at the Fort Worth University. And I can still remember how I envied those students whose fathers were wealthy cattlemen and came into the city during the stock show and took their sons out for a good time among the show cattle and visiting ranchers from the home range. Even at that time there a kind of rodeo (called a riding and roping contest) and while it was staged during the week of the stock show it had no connection with the show and was usually held on what was known as the Texas and Pacific reservation fully two miles from where the show was held.
“Booger Red” Privett, that grand old bronc rider of half a century ago nearly always had a hand in those riding and roping contests. Later on he had his own wild west show, which was practically all bronc riding, and he used to bring his show into Fort Worth, stock show week, get a location on the North side near the Fat Stock Show grounds and do a land office business. Booger would perhaps not have over a couple of paid bronc riders with his show, but he always had plenty of outside talent as there were any number of cowboys in with cattle what would get that they could ride one of his broncs or ride at one just for the sport of riding. Booger used to parade by the stock show grounds leading one of his noted buckers and announcing that such and such a well known cowboy was going to attempt to ride this famous man-hating outlaw bronc for a big side bet, and usually most of the stock show spectators followed the procession, and Boogers purse would grow fat from the stock show crowds, because he was furnishing them the kind of amusement they desired.
All this time the Fat Stock Show was struggling along with the aid of the merchants of the city, and each year it was not until after the merchants had been called upon for financial aid and underwriting the expense of the show, that it could be given out what the premiums in various livestock classes would be at the show.
In 1916 the Stock Show Committee having awakened to the fact that cowboy contests or exhibitions was what the public wanted along with the stock show, made a contract with Miller Bros. of 101 Ranch fame to put on a kind of wildwest show as the feature attraction of the stock show. It was a big success, so the following year the committee made a contract with Homer Wilson and Lucille Mulhall to produce the rodeo.
If any of the old timers still have one of those prize lists it will disclose that the total prizes in all events for the week’s show were but $1050.00and the biggest purse in any event was for the cowgirls roping contest which Lucille Mulhall was suppose to win, and which she did win.
I can remember many of the old time hands who were there for that show, Fred Wilson, brother of Homer, Hugh Strickland, “Powder Face” Tom Eckerd, Tex Crockett, Guy, Everett and Floyd Shultz, Booger Red, Jr., (Laird was his last name and he was no kin to Booger Red Privett) Slim Caskey, Ike Lewis, Calgary Red, Tex McLeod, Tommy & Mildred Douglas, Bud Clayton, Johnny Judd, Rufe Rollins, Leonard Stroud, Ed Lindsay, Slim and Prairie Lillie Allen, Clyde Lindsay and many others who were the top hands of that era.
It was that first real rodeo there that the famous bucking horse “Blue Jay” was ridden. Homer Wilson had made a deal with E. A. Scott of Anson, Texas, to bring the famous bucker in for the show. Homer was to pick three riders, and if the horse threw all three of them Scott was to get $500 for the use of the horse, but if the horse did not throw all three riders then Scott was to receive nothing. The three that Wilson picked were Rufe Rollins, Leonard Stroud and Booger Red, Jr. Rufe drew first sitting at the famous bucker whom it was claimed up to that time had more than a hundred victims to his bucking prowess. The horse was snubbed in the arena, and there came near being an arena fight over the saddling. Ed Lindsay was seeing to the saddling for Rufe and he insisted in setting the saddle where he wanted it which was farther forward than Scott wanted it. But Ed won the argument and Rufe mounted the steed. Those who knew Rufe Rollins know that he was a great bronc rider, furthermore he had plenty of confidence in his own riding ability. Just the minute the horse was free of the snubbing horse Rufe began to put the steel to the big bucker. This was something new to the horse. Other riders had waited, trying to figure out what the animal was going to do. It’s the same difference as being on the offensive and defensive, a phrase that we hear much of right now. Rufe went on the offensive at once, placing the animal on the defensive, and somehow it was just the right thing at the right time. He rode Blue Jay and in a measure broke the great steed’s spirit. After that, both Stroud and Bogger, Jr. rode him and it was not long after that time that Blue Jay with his great reputation behind him was a docile plow animal.
Fort Worth was a wide open saloon town in those days and there was a lone beer bar just outside the coliseum, near the rear and I as official announcer used to help the late Col. Zack Mulhall who did most of the directing of the arena, in round up the cowboy for their turn in an event. If they were absent from the arena I knew just where to find them – at the beer bar. It also gave me an opportunity to grab a drink between announcements, thus keeping my vocal chords well oiled.
That rodeo there in the Coliseum in March, 1917, really put the stock show as well as the fort Worth Rodeo on the road toward a long and brilliant career. It was just five years after that first rodeo that the whole stock show venture had acquired a firm standing where the merchants no longer had to underwrite the expenses, and the show has grown until, for several years with several additions to its seating capacity, the Coliseum has been too small to take care of the crowds properly.
Now it is understood that there may not be a rodeo in Fort Worth next March, or if there is one, it will just be a small one held in the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum on Camp Bowie Boulevard. But it is my opinion that Fort Worth owes it to cattlemen and others who have supported the show for years to hold a Fat Stock Show and there is no better place that I know of anywhere than the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum and grounds. In fact, the stock show should have been divorced from the stock yards years ago.
Foghorn Clancy was a God-send to the rodeo world, because he was such a gatherer of information about early day rodeo, and wrote it for the purpose of not losing it. He also wrote a book “My Fifty Years In Rodeo” which covers 1897 to 1947. However he continued to put out brochures of information for people such as myself who is still gathering the facts of early day rodeo. He was an amazing, forward-thinking announcer and publicity man for rodeo.
The Wild & Wooly West!!! 2019 Style
When this time of year rolls around I am up to my ears in RODEO!!! Now, I’m not complaining. I love every minute of it. Something pops up about rodeo when you least expect it, in addition to the things one might plan.
I am headed to Oklahoma City this week for Rodeo Weekend at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It should be a great time with the well-qualified people that are getting inducted. I have been blessed, by a request by Rodeo Historical Society President in 2002, Jimmie Gibbs Munroe, to be the Chairman of the Oral History Project. My job it to get the Oral Histories recorded by audio or video for all those being inducted, plus the Tad Lucas Memorial Award recipient, the Ben Johnson Memorial Award honoree and the Director’s Choice. This is a fun project for me because I get to research each of these people and get my questions ready for a video interview with each person. Congratulations to: Lydia Moore; Frank Shepperson; Rob Smets; Wacey Cathey; Jack Ward, ‘Buddy’ Cockrell, and families of deceased inductees, Buck LeGrand and T. J. Walters. The Tad Lucas honor goes to Cindy Rosser, and the Ben Johnson honor will be bestowed on Doug Clark. The Directors Choice is Dr. Charles ‘Bud’ Townsend.
Seeing so many of the former honorees and former contestants and rodeo personnel is always fun, and there is always someone or several I have never met before. Being a rodeo historian, I primarily live in the past. I enjoy reading and researching events that happened a hundred years ago, and how much our sport has evolved, and is still evolving. It’s just so exciting to me. I will be visiting and catching up with my rodeo ‘family’ for three days and there is nothing I enjoy more than hearing what they know I haven’t learned.
I hope you got to see the Wright Family, from Utah, section of Sixty Minutes on television Sunday, night, Nov. 3rd. What a fabulous family, and what heritage of our important western way of life they have lived. They have a wealth in family and determination to love and help each other in every way they can, whether it be on the ranch or in the rodeo arena in the saddle bronc event. Great comments were made by various members of the family, and there was lots of humor in their remarks. Their commitment to each other, their families, the ranch, and rodeo is obvious and makes me so proud to see them get some well deserved publicity of their amazing family.
Shortly after I return home from Rodeo Weekend I will be off to enjoy the induction at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, at the new Dickies Arena next door. My favorite honoree, Dixie Reger Mosley, has invited me to sit with her family at the luncheon. She is an amazing woman that I admire in so many ways. She has been blessed to have found her ‘Mr Wonderful, Bill Mosley, who adored her and the feeling was mutual. When he passed a few years back, her children, and their families, were there for her. In fact, daughter, Judy, and husband, have retired so they can help Dixie enjoy the things she has on her ‘bucket list’. For a gal who started performing in rodeo at 5 ½ years old, and didn’t get to go to a real school until high school, she is mighty bright, and raised those kids right. A two-time survivor of breast cancer, she says she feels great, and goes to the gym five days a week – and is pushing 90!
In December I go to Las Vegas to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. I enjoy ten days of watching the top fifteen competitors in each event do their magic. I help the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Boyd Gaming by being host at the Gold Card Room for ten nights on the floor level of Thomas & Mack UNLV stadium where the rodeo is held. We open the room at 5:15 before the evening performances. It is a place for yesterday’s competitors that are Gold Card members to come visit with friends, make new friends, and have supper. Everyone is in their seats at the rodeo by 6:45 when the Opening Ceremonies begin. My tenure to host this room is my way of giving back for all the stories and histories of cowgirls and cowboys I have gleaned from this room over the last 32 years.
I was blessed to be mentored by some of the most well-respected cowboys and cowgirls in professional rodeo when I began to writing and researching rodeo history. I have never forgotten how they introduced me to so many people. I knew their names because of what they had done for the sport of rodeo, but had never met. Of course, I interviewed them, and often I went back and interviewed them again and again, they had so much to share. It has been a great ride and I will never stop appreciating what they did for me. I lost my running buddy, Imogene Veach Beals, age 96, a few years back, and that was difficult. She and I had traveled together to rodeo events for fifteen years. This year I lost my second dear traveling companion, Liz Kesler, age 93. Both of them taught me so much, so subtly, and I’ll never forget what I learned from them. They were both truly committed to rodeo in every sense of the way. Their accounts of their early days in rodeo, with their husbands who also gave so much to the rodeo world, were truly amazing. I listened eagerly every time they reminisced about a rodeo, a cowboy, or an incident – sometimes difficult to hear, but made me realize how truly dedicated these people were to the sport of rodeo.
I just finished researching and writing my book on the history of barrel racing in rodeo. It was a commitment I was determined to finish this year. I do believe we have some amazing women in the sport of barrel racing and their story is so important. These women, both in the beginning and today, are so strong and committed, and not only are they outstanding horsewomen, they are business-savvy and making their sport one that is equal to all other events in rodeo. Rodeo is for everyone, the young, the old, the guys and the gals. Hopefully the book will be published early next year.
I am also in to another book, that I decided about seven years ago, needs to be written. It is a book on the early-day rodeos at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In my research I feel that although anyone could enter a Madison Square Garden rodeo, it was at the end of rodeo season and going to New York was a lot of fun. Cowboys & cowgirls in their ten gallon hats and fancy boots were a fascination to the locals. They were treated amazingly well, got lots of publicity, and the rodeo grew and lasted so long most contestants could make enough money to get back home. The National Finals Rodeo only allows the top 15 in each event, but to me Madison Square Garden Rodeo was the ‘unofficial predecessor to the National Finals because it ended the season with a BANG! Even though I have collected numerous articles and information on this rodeo, over the years, there is still much that needs to be found. Wish me luck!
Word got to the movers and shakers of the Cowboy Channel on television and I was asked to appear on the Western Sports RoundUp with Steve Kenyon and Amy Wilson a few weeks ago at the studio in Fort Worth Stockyards. It was a fun time and we mainly visited about the history of rodeo and my books. Steve and Amy do a great job in their interviews and since the Cowboy Channel is holding a rodeo in 2020 on June 19 ththrough 21, at Madison Square Garden it was timely.
What else is on the horizon rodeo-wise? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’ll bet it will be fun and challenging. I can hardly wait! Til next time . . .
Cheyenne Frontier Days 2019 Finals
The format for CFD had changed, due to the fact they have been covered by Cowboy Channel on television all nine days, with today, July 28th being the final. They also have included Breakaway Calf Roping for the Women, which has been exciting and interesting to watch. Interestingly, Justin McKee, Joe Beaver, and Donnie Gay have been in the Cowboy Channel offices in the Stockyards at Fort Worth, commentating on the events, cowboys & cowgirls at ‘work’ in Old Cheyenne. It has been fun to watch as Cheyenne Frontier Days is such a historic rodeo and I’ve missed being there recently.
The CFD Announcer Andy Stewart, from Louisiana, was heard as well as the guys in Fort Worth and the coverage was great. At CFD there is action going on at least two or three different places at one time and the cameramen were on target most of the time.
The new format is the scores today are the only ones counted for the winner, except in the Steer Roping event.
The Bareback Riding Results on Sunday are:
1st Place– Clayton Biglow of Clements, CA. with a score of 91; 2nd Place – Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, TX with 89.50; 3rd & 4th Place was a tie – Tilden Hooper of Carthage, TX and Will Lowe of Canyon, TX with scores of 87.50. Steven Dent of Mullen NE was 5th with 85.50 and 6th was Pascal Isabelle of Okotoks, Canada. 7th was a tie with Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, MN and Kaycee Fields of Genola, UT with 84.00, 8th was Orin Larsen, of Inglis, Canada, had 83.00; Leighton Berry of Weatherford, TX had 81.50; Cole Reiner of Kaycee, WY had 77.50 and Garrett Shadbolt from Merriman, NE had a 72.00 score.
The Ladies Breakaway Roping Results on Sunday are:
1st Place was Jordan Jo Fabrizio (the assistant rodeo coach at West Texas A & M) with a 4.18 second time. 2nd Place was Chloe Frey of Eunice, Louisiana with 4.43 seconds; 3rd place was Kasey Eaves of Milan, NM with 4.49 seconds; 4th was Linsay Sumpter of Fowler, CO with a 4.66 second time. Others were: Daysha Steadman of Georgetown, ID with 4.92; KL Spratt of Lysite, WY with 4.98; Ginalee Tierney of Broken Bow, NE with 4.99; Tiada Gray of Portales, NM with 5.02; Lari Dee Guy of Abilene, TX with 5.33 seconds; Jana Wiedman of Morrill, NE with 5.63 and Hagen Brunson of Hutchison, KS with 6.01 and Kelsie Chace of Cherokee, OK with 14.13. Those with no time were: Rylea Fabrizio of Stephenville, TX, Taryn Sippel of Pierpont, SD, Brandi Hollenbeck of Moreland, OK and Hannah Lee of Durant, OK.
The winner, Jordan Jo Fabrizio got an Automatic Spot in the June 19th thru 21st, 2020, at the Madison Square Garden Rodeo in New York City.
The Results of the Tie Down Roping for Sunday are:
1st Place – Seth Hall of Albuquerque, NM with 10.5 seconds; 2nd Place was Ryan Thibodeaux of Stephenville, TX with 10.8 seconds; 3rd was Austin Hurlburt of Norfolk, NE, (attending U of WY) with 11.6 seconds; 4th Marcos Costa of Menard, TX with 11.7 seconds. Next was Shad Mayfield of Clovis, NM with 11.9 seconds; Tyler Thiel of Belle Fourche, SD with 13.4; Chase Williams of Stephenville, TX with 13.6; Tristan Mahoney of Florence, AZ with 16.5 seconds; Anthony Jordan (the only left-handed roper) with 16.7 seconds. Others who had no time were; Owen Wahlert of Grover, CO; Tyler Prcin of Alvord, TX; Cheyenne Stanley of Caddo, OK; Jason Schaffer of Broadus, MT; Clint Cooper of Decatur, TX; Stetson Vest of Childress, TX; and Raulie Hurtado, Jr. of Buhl, ID.
The Saddle Bronc Riding Results of Sunday are:
1st Place o Brodie Cress of Hillsdale, WY (3rd year in a row to win it) with a score of 87.50; 2nd, 3rd and 4th Place tied Sam Harper of Paradise Valley, NV; Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, TX and Wade Sundell of Boxholm, IA (who had a re-ride when his first bronc hit the fence and hurt Sundell’s leg but he rode the second bronc) – their scores were 86. Mitch Pollock of Winnemucca, NV had 84.50; Jake Watson of Hudson Hope, BC, Canada and Alex Boore, of Axtel, UT scored 84s. No scores went to J J Elshere of Hereford, SD; Sterling Crawley of Stephenville, TX; and Lefty Holman of Visalia, CA. Dawson Hay of Canada qualified for Sunday but was injured and could not compete.
The Team Roping Results of Sunday are:
1stPlace – Dustin Bird and Trey Yates with a 7.8 second time. 2nd Place was Brenten Hall & Chase Tryan with 9.3 seconds. 3rd Place was Jake Cooper and Caleb Anderson with 9.5 seconds. 4th Place was a tie between Pace Freed and Dustin Searcy and Dustin Eguquiza & Jake Long with 9.6 seconds. Others in the race were: Peyton Holliday & Thomas Smith with 9.7; Coleman Proctor & Ryan Motes with 14.4; Chad Masters & Joseph Harrison, 14.6; Kelsey Parchman & Matt Kasner, 14.8; Garrett Tonozzi & Dustin Davis, 15.5; Austin Rogers & Nick Sartain, 18.7. I didn’t get the score for Taylor Winn & Dylin Ahlstrom. No times went to Garrett Rogers & Jake Minor; Cody Tew & Jerren Johnson; Caleb Driggers & Junior Nogueira; and Lane Ivy & Cesar de la Cruz.
The Steer Wrestling Results of Sunday are:
1stPlace – Eli Lord from Sturgis, SD with 6.9 seconds. 2ndP lace – Reed Kraeger from Elwood, NE with 8.7 seconds. 3rd Place – Del Ray Kraupie from Bridgeport, NE with 8.9 seconds. 4th Place – Trell Etbauer from Goodwell, OK with 9.2. Others in the competition that received penalties were; Riley Wakefield with 15.2 seconds; Kyle Calloway from Blue Creek, MT with 15.6 seconds; Joe Nelson of Alexander, ND with 16.6 seconds; Jason Tapley from Greenbrier, AR with 19.8 seconds; and Christian Pettigrew from Fort Sumner, NM with 21.2 seconds. Having no time were Cyler Dowling of Newell, SD; Wyatt Linsay from Cuchillo, NM; Caden Camp of Belgrade, MT; Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, NE; Beau Clark of Laramie, WY; and Carson Good of Long Valley, SD. (I will add Carson Good grabbed that steer by the tail and held on while the steer ran around the arena for quite sometime before Good finally let go! What determination!
The Barrel Racing Results from Sunday are:
1st Place – Nellie Miller (who also won it last year) from Cottonwood, CA with 17.22 seconds. 2ndPlace – Shali Lord of Lamar, CO with 17.22. (Although both gals had the same seconds, they went to their other two earlier runs at CFD and the one with the least seconds got 1st) 3rd Place – Megan Champion of Ukiah, CA with 17.24 seconds. 4th Place – Lacinda Rose, Willard MO with 17.53 seconds. The rest by order – Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi of Victoria, TX with 17.56 seconds; Michelle Darling from Medford, OR with 17.59; Stevi Hillman from Weatherford, TX with 17.61; Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, SD with 17.66; Karson Bradley of Big Piney, WY with 17.74; Dena Milner of Midland, TX with 17.94; Cheyenne Wimberley of Stephenville, TX with 17.98; and Kellie Collier of Hereford, TX with 22.69, the only one to knock over a barrel.
The Steer Roping Results was an Aggregate of their three runs and they are:
1st Place – Trey Sheets of Cheyenne, WY with a total of 45.6 seconds on 3 head. 2nd Place –Dan Fisher of Andrews, TX with a total of 49.6 seconds. 3rd Place - J. Tom Fisher from Andrews, TX with a total of 49.9 seconds. 4th Place - was Vin Fisher, Jr of Andrews, TX with a total of 51.3 seconds. Others that made the finals and caught their steers were Marty Jones of Hobbs, NM, and Roger Branch of Wellston, OK. Those with no time in the finals were; Will Gasperson of Decatur, TX; Troy Tillard of Douglas, WY; Steve Wolf, of Decatur, TX; Wade Shoemaker of Colorado State U; Jason Evans of Glen Rose, TX and Reo Lohse of Kaycee, WY.
How great for Sheets, the hometown guy to win, because if he hadn’t been there ALL the money in the Steer Roping would have probably gone to Andrews, TX!!
In the Over 50 Steer Roping Marty Jones won. I have no other information.
The Bull Riding Results from Sunday are:
1st Place – Stetson Wright of Milford, UT with a score of 93.00. (The first Wright in ProRodeo to win at CFD – and of all events, in Bull Riding!!) 2nd Place – Parker McCown of Montgomery, TX with a 90 score. 3rd Place - was Ruger Piva of Challis, ID, with an 87 score. 4th Place – went to Nic Lica of Garden City, Michigan, with 85.50. Joseph McConnell of Bloomfield, NM had a score of 84.50. All other bull riding competitors bucked off, they were; Toby Collins of Stephenville, TX; Tristan Mize of Bryan, TX; Matt Palmer of Claremore, OK; Trey Benton III of Rock Island, TX; Garrett Smith of Rexburg, ID and Clayton Sellars of Fruitland Park, FL.
Stetson Wright, age 19, was the All-Around Champ of CFD. It was a great rodeo, as it has been for the last 123 years. Jim Hirsig is President of CFD, and with 3,000 volunteers they hold a great event. Stace Smith was the stock contractor. CHEYENNE FRONTIER DAYS – THE DADDY OF ‘EM ALL!
As a rodeo historian I am always going through old magazines looking for information about rodeo and it’s cowboys and cowgirls. I found this article written 70 years ago by Willard Porter, in Hoofs & Horns, (the main magazine about rodeo) about Gene Rambo and thought it appropriate to share with my readers.
March, 1949. Last fall, for the second consecutive time the San Francisco Cow Palace rodeo terminated the IRA Rodeo Season. At this great show, with many top cowboys competing in the stiffest of competition, the winners of the IRA point award system were selected in the various events. At the end of the rodeo it was found that young Gene Rambo was high-point man, having won first in the bareback bronc riding, second in bulldogging, third in saddle bronc riding and fourth in calf roping. (FYI – IRA which stood for International Rodeo Association was the name the Rodeo Association of America and the National Rodeo Association chose after merging. It is in no way connected to the IRA which has become the IPRA of today.)
It was also found, to no one’s immediate surprise, that Gene had won himself the title of World’s All-Around Champion Cowboy for 1948, a title that he had held previously in 1946.
No, it was not a surprise, but it was a little remarkable. For early in 1948 Gene broke his ankle when a jeep turned over with him in the hills of his ranch. He was, of course, disabled for some time and his rodeoing was delayed until the end of April when he made the Saugus, California, show. Because of this he missed the big Denver and Ft. Worth rodeos and several smaller ones belonging to the IRA, which makes his feat of accumulating 8,364 points quite extraordinary.
Hitting his stride about the middle of May. Gene won the saddle bronc riding contest at Bakersfield, California. In June at the Salinas rodeo, Gene was the highest paid contestant, drawing down in winnings about $2,700. He won the team roping event there with Marion Vincent of Porterville, California, placed third on bareback broncs and was fourth in bulldogging. At St. Paul, Oregon (he has won the all-around here three times in a row), he scored first place in two events – calf roping and bareback bronc riding.
Toward the end of July when the Cheyenne show rolled around, Gene was high on the IRA point list. There again he proved his sensational versatility in the arena by winning the show championship against the best rodeo talent in the business. He won out in the calf roping over Toots Mansfield by two-tenths of a second, tying his three calves in 47.2 and pocketing $1,220 for that effort. Then Rambo went on to win the bareback bronc riding and placed second, by only two-tenths of a second, to Homer Pettigrew in the bulldogging.
Soon after Cheyenne Gene went to the top of the point award list and stayed there until the end of the season.
Currently, Gene Rambo is one of the most proficient all-around cowboys the Western states have ever produced. He has been contesting professionally now for over ten years, and there isn’t a contest or event in the books that he has not tried at one time or another. He busts steers nearly as well as he ropes calves. Brahman bulls, too, were once Gene’s best doin’s and he won a lot of money topping the tough beef.
John Bowman, that old veteran of rodeo, recently said of Gene: “He’s the greatest hand there is today or ever has been before. He’s tops; you can’t beat him as an all-around cowboy.”
Don McMillan, lifelong friend of Gene’s who lives near his home, has said: “Naturally, we who have seen Gene grow up from a mean little devil, who had to be boosted on to the horse he was riding, think he’s the greatest all-around cowboy (which is what a cowboy is suppose to be after all) who ever worked in the arena.”
Gene Rambo was born in San Miguel, California, on June 12, 1920. He now makes his home at Shandon, where he has been since he was eleven years old. Before that time, however, the Rambo family lived on the Wayland Cattle Ranch in Stone Canyon district in Monterey County. Gene’s dad was foreman of the ranch and a good bronc rider and horse breaker. He taught Gene the art so well the boy was breaking colts when he was only seven years old. Yes, he was getting bucked off, too.
“Besides riding horses,” Don McMillan says, “Gene’s favorite pastime then was making life miserable for any poor, tired cowboy who dropped in at the Wayland Ranch.”
At Shandon said Gene was a great high school athlete and when he left school in his sophomore year he turned his athletic ability toward rodeo. His first win was at Prescott, Arizona, in 1938, where he placed in the bronc riding. Around this time the famous John Schneider, a great all-around cowboy himself in the early 1930’s taught Gene the tricks of bull and bareback bronc riding.
For a man who has contested in every event for some ten years you would expect Gene to be pretty beaten up, but, although he has had some bad knocks, he has never been seriously hurt.
Despite various injuries Gene has managed to stay aboard the best bucking mounts for the allotted time during the past few years. In 1942 he rode Bob Barmby’s “PDQ” at Willits, California. At the Cow Palace in 1946 he rode Harry Rowell’s ‘Scene Shifter’ and Rowell’s ‘Major Lou’ at the Palace last year. He had also ridden ‘Scene Shifter’ once before at Livermore, California. Verne Elliott’s ‘Ham What Am’ has felt the Rambo spurs for ten seconds, and so have Andy Jauregui’s ‘Will James’ and Joe Kelsey’s head-slinging six year old ‘Snake’ the horse that Gene conquered at Pendleton last year.
Gene thinks his toughest ride was on a horse of Doc Sorensen’s named ‘Fox’ last year at Ogden, Utah. The horse reputedly had never been ridden for two years, but Gene made a spectacular ride on him until the whistle blew. Gene admitted later that his “‘luck worked out just right.”
In 1947 Gene won most of his points in the roping events on one of his good mounts, ‘Nita’, a registered Quarter horse mare our of RO stock. Nita is a bay, weighs 1,100 pounds and stands 14.2 hands. One of the fastest times Gene ever wrapped up a calf was on Nita at Salt Lake City in 1945. After Gene had done the job the stop watches read 11.2.
Gene’s other crack roping horse, on which he won most of his roping points last year, is ‘Jess’, a seven year-old Oklahoma Star gelding. Also a bay, this mount weighs about the same as Nita and is a little taller. Roping on Jess last year, Gene tied a calf down at Pendleton in 13.4. He used this horse for his roping win at Cheyenne when he beat Toots (Mansfield) in 1948.
To win the ’48 crown of cowboy contestants Gene traveled about 30,000 miles and entered more than 30 Western contests. He won about $20,000 last year and you can bet a lot of it is being banked for those two kids of his – a girl, five years old and a three month-old boy.
Gene stands five feet, ten inches and weighs 180. He is hard as a rock and stays in perfect shape. According to McMillan, he has an amazing amount of energy which seems to stay with him all the time.
“At Salt Lake City in 1947,” says McMillan, “Gene was riding a wild bareback bronc that plunged headlong into the arena fence just at the whistle. The horse bounced back, dead as a gutted jack-rabbit, leaving Gene hanging on the top of the fence badly bruised and shirtless. Despite these bruises and a deep wound in the palm of his hand, Gene went on to work in three events that afternoon and three that night. Then he sat around until 2 a.m. to be paid off, took a shower, loaded his horse and drove to Cheyenne, a distance of 480 miles. I was with him during all of this and it liked to wore me out just watching him.”
Gene owns two good-sized ranches, one in Cholame Valley and the other on Castle Mountain in Monterey County, which he operates and works when he’s not rodeoing. Bill Linderman once said that Gene nearly worked him to skin and bone when he was visiting him on one of the ranches.
A modest, easy-going fellow, Gene is well-liked by the rodeo gang and praised by rodeo fans. He has undoubtedly won more fame and money than anyone his age in the rodeo game, but try to get him to talk about his exploits in the arena!
McMillan says, “In 1947 I got LOOK magazine to send a man to Cheyenne to write a picture story on Gene at the show there. Well, the big lug was so hard to do anything with that LOOK finally gave up. But he is one of the squarest shooters and best fellows to travel around with that I ever knew.”
Gene Rambo has been said by many a cowboy to have been the most versatile All-Around Cowboy of any generation. Rambo’s name is not in the PRCA Media Book as a Champion in any event, but has been inducted in to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame as an All-Around, and in the Rodeo Historical Rodeo Hall of Fame in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which is proof enough of his abilities in early day rodeo. He won the IRA World Championships under the IRA rules.
Casey Tibbs Exteme Bronc Match
June 1, 2019
Fort Pierre, South Dakota
Casey Tibbs, the most charismatic, handsome and natural saddle bronc rider to ever compete in professional rodeo was from the Fort Pierre, South Dakota, area. He was one of ten kids, the youngest, born in 1929. It was tough for mom and dad to keep them all fed and clothed, but the family didn’t think they were different than any of their neighbors. Times were tough in those days, for just about everyone. Casey’s dad was excellent with horses and he and a friend gathered untamed horses, broke them, and sold them. Casey and the other boys in the family were involved in breaking the horses way to young, but everyone had to work. Out of this beginning Casey became the “best damn bronc rider that ever lived!”
Because of his success in riding broncs and becoming the Champion of Saddle Bronc Riding five times (1951-1954 & 1959), the All-Around Champion twice (1951 and 1955) and the Bareback Riding Champion in 1951, the town of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, has honored their rodeo ‘son’ by building a first-rate museum there and holding the Casey Tibbs Match of Champions yearly.
My good friend, of many years, Dr. Charles “Bud” Townsend, phoned me and asked me to drive him from Canyon, Texas, his home town, to Fort Pierre, South Dakot, a for the June 1st Matched Bucking. It only took long enough for the words to leave my throat to accept the offer. Bud had offered to sponsor and give the bronze ‘Tornado’ to the winner. Bud will be 90 years old in November, and he wanted to personally present the trophy to the winner.
We left Canyon, Texas, on May 30th and headed north. As we drove to South Dakota, traveling through the sandhills of Nebraska, we were in awe of the beautiful countryside Mother Nature had created. The rolling hills were high with grass and as green as an emerald! The spring, this year, had been good to this part of the country, and it only got more beautiful as we neared Fort Pierre.
We spent two days getting to know the towns, Fort Pierre and Pierre, divided by the Missouri River, and the people who live there. What wonderful people we met. We spent hours at the Casey Tibbs Museum looking at the displays and reading the history of rodeos held in the state, and those cowboys and cowgirls from South Dakota, who had contributed so much to the sport of rodeo and had brought home Championship after Championship, especially in saddle bronc riding.
The Casey Tibbs Extreme Bronc Match – 2019 was held at the Casey Tibbs Arena in Fort Pierre on Saturday night. A steak dinner kicked off the festivities. Since I had been there six years earlier I was aware the dinner was served with plastic silverware. Try cutting a thick steak with a plastic knife!?! We had borrowed silverware from our hotel, and were darn glad we had, as we looked around the tables and saw so many men sharing their pocket knives with others at their tables. Jim Korkow offered his knife to Glee Nett from Cheyenne, and commented he didn’t think he’d used it since he cut the head off a rattlesnake. Glee, a ranch girl, didn’t flinch and chuckled as she cut her steak.
Glee heads up the Children’s Western Wishes Program who had two youths whom they were honoring at the event. The premise of the program is to bring those they honor, children with needs and who live in the vicinity, to enjoy a rodeo experience and give them gifts provided by sponsors.
Between the sections of the Matched Bucking were Mini Bronc Riders on small horses. Ryggan Labley, age 7, of Burke, South Dakota, bucked off his wild Shetland as it raced across the arena toward the grandstand, but it didn’t phase him when he bucked off. He got up, dusted himself off, grabbed his cowboy hat, and headed back to the chutes, smiling from ear to ear. The winner was Taos Weborg, age 11, from St. Charles, SD with a score of 58. Others in the event were: Tyson Hill, of White River, SD, age 13; Talon Ping, of Highmore, SD, age 11; Tyler Tvedt, of Estelline, SD, age 12; and Lucas Arcoren, of Blunt, SD, age 12. Our bronc riders of tomorrow!
The bucking stock was provided by Sutton Rodeo, Burch Rodeo, Three Hills Rodeo and Korkow Rodeo. It couldn’t have been any better. All four rodeo companies brought their best broncs to this event and as a spectator I heard many comments that they had never seen better bucking.
The contestants were thirty of the top riders from professional rodeo. Judges scored the riders from 68 to 83 in the first section. Only six buck-offs, and only four flags were thrown on the ground (infraction of some sort that disqualified the rider – usually not marking the bronc out of the chute). The contestants were: Lane Schuelke of Newell, SD; Jade Blackwell of Rapid City, SD; Kash Deal of Dupree, SD; Taygen Schuelke of Newell, SD; Tegan Smith of Winerset, Iowa; Shorty Garrett of Eagle Butte, SD; Stetson Wright of Milford, UT; Jace Blackwell of Hermosa, SD; Kaden Deal of Eagle Butte, SD; Chase Brooks, of Deer Lodge, MT; Wyatt Casper of Pampa, TX; Cole Pateneaude of Eagle Butte, SD; J. J. Elshere of Hereford, SD; Tim Ditrich of Shingle Springs, CA; Jacob Lewis of Stephenville, TX; Josh Davison of Miles City, MT; Ty Manke of Rapid City, SD; Brady Hill of Onida, SD; Spencer Wright of Milford UT; Jeremy Meeks of Scenic, SD; Louie Brunson of New Underwood, SD; Lefty Holman of Visalia CA; Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, TX; Bradley Harter of Loranger, LA; Jesse Kruse of Great Falls, MT; Taos Muncy or Corona, NM; Wade Sundell of Boxholm, IA; Jesse Wilson of Martin, SD; and Ryder Wright of Milford, UT.
The riders who went on to the Short Go were: Lefty Holman and Chase Brooks with scores of 83, (Lefty’s score of 83 was on a re-ride). Next was J.J. Elshere with an 82.5 score, Stetson Wright, Wade Sundell and Ryder Wright had scores of 82, and Spencer Wright and Tegan Smith both got an 81 score. Only two points difference between the top eight. The competition was fierce.
The results of the Short Go and the top 8 were: Ryder Wright got a 64 score, which gave him a re-ride on a Three Hills bronc named Mona Lisa, and he did not mark her out. Tegan Smith of Somerset, Iowa, bucked off Prom Nite a Sutton Rodeo bronc; Chase Brooks of Deer Lodge, Montana bucked off Lunatic from Hell by Burch Rodeo. J. J. Elshere of Hereford, South Dakota got an 82 on Korkow’s Bad Onion. Stetson Wright got an 83 score on Meat Cracker of Korkow Rodeo. Spencer Wright got an 84 score on South Point from Sutton Rodeo. Lefty Holman scored 85 on Onion Ring, Korkow’s bronc that was the best bareback bronc at the Houston rodeo earlier this year. And the high scorer and winner was Wade Sundell, the current PRCA World Champion, from Boxholm, Iowa, with an 86 score on Burch Rodeo’s bronc named Maria Bartiroma.
Bud Townsend presented to Wade Sundell the bronze, ‘Tornado’ by Tony Chytka, artist from Belle Fourche, SD. This was Wade’s third year in a row to win the Casey Tibbs Bucking Match. He’s a showy rider, and doesn’t hesitate to jump off his bronc and wave to the audience, once the 8 second whistle blows. Kind of reminds me of Casey Tibbs sixty or more years ago. He certainly gives the fans a tremendous show.
Bud and I are now home, back in Texas, and we have so many wonderful memories of our journey to Fort Pierre and the Casey Tibbs Matched Bucking. If you haven’t made a trip to Fort Pierre, SD, and attended this Matched Bucking, you should. It is worth the trip. For information about next year’s event you can always call 605-494-1094 or go to www.caseytibbs.com. If you are in the area go visit the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center museum, you’ll be glad you did.
I found an old article on the rodeo in Madison Square Garden, in New York City, which I have always named the ‘Unofficial predecessor to the National Finals Rodeo.' There are many similarities in that both rodeos were events every cowboy wanted to go to, if he could. It was the longest rodeo going and if a cowboy was half-good at his event he could make some money – hopefully. It was a spectacle in New York City with all these cowboys and cowgirls in their fancy boots and ten gallon hats. Many of the native New Yorkers were curious and would try and corner one of the western set and ask all kinds of questions. So is the National Finals in Las Vegas with all the neon lights and cowboys and cowgirls in their fancy boots and big hats and many other visitors to ‘the city that never sleeps’ have never encountered a cowboy or cowgirl and they too are curious.
There were some ways the two rodeos weren’t alike. The National Finals Rodeo has always been only available to the top fifteen cowboys, in each event, that had won the most money each year. The Madison Square Garden Rodeo was open to anyone who could get there and pay their entry fee. But regardless of the differences it was an event cowboys and cowgirls always wanted to attend.
I found in an old Colliers magazine an article about the 1939 Madison Square Garden Rodeo and thought I’d share some of the writing with you. REMEMBER this was written almost seventy years ago, so some of the thinking about rodeo has changed a great deal. The reporters were in awe of rodeo and certainly were not as familiar with it as they wanted to be.
Here goes, enjoy:
“Rodeo performers are unlike any other amateurs in sport. They risk their lives for a little prize money and a title, paying their own expenses and entry fees. But there are thrills aplenty; that’s what they like.”
The last night of the rodeo Madison Square Garden was packed. The barebacked bronco contest had been run and the cowboys had done some roping; there had been a mounted basketball game, and cowgirls had done some clever riding. Now there was an anticipatory silence as the loud-speaker announced the saddle bronco-riding contest. After twenty-eight days of competition six cowboys were so closely matched that any one of them could win. It isn’t dangerous to ride a bronco without a saddle, but with a saddle you’re supposed to stick on and keep your feet in the heavy stirrups and that isn’t as easy as sitting in a rocking chair.
The chutes were at the east end of the Garden. Behind them were the corrals where the broncos stayed until it was time to lead them into the chute. A chute is a fenced enclosure about seven feet long and three feet wide. Now these broncos were led, pushed and cajoled into the chutes, and saddled. These were the toughest horses in the show; they had been kept for the final night. I was down there by the chutes with Harry Knight. When a cowboy was mounted Harry would say, “Ready?” If the cowboy was ready he’d nod his head or yell, “Let ‘er go, Harry!” Then the gate would swing open and the horse would roar out.
Two things are important in riding a bucking bronco with a saddle. First is the grip you take on the rein, which is actually a heavy rope halter. If you grab the rope too near the horse’s head, he’ll throw his head down and you’ll go over his head. If you hold the rope too far back he’s apt to toss his head up sharply, you’ll lose your balance and tumble off backward. The second important thing is to get into rhythm with the horse immediately. If you become part of his motion so that you synchronize with his leaps and so that you absorb the jolting when he lands, as he absorbs it, then you’re all right.
Eight of the cowboys had done their stuff. The last man was up now, and Harry Knight and I peered through the white boards of the fence. “This is Hell’s Angel, a good horse,” Harry said. The horse was large, about twelve hundred pounds. His eyes were flecked with red glints and he was trembling a little. “He doesn’t look like a good horse to me,” I said to Harry.
“When I say good horse I mean tough horse,” Knight laughed. “He’s a terror, this Hell’s Angel. He’s a buckin’ fool. No one’s been able to stay on him this show but Paul Carney, and there’s nothing he can’t stay on.” The cowboy who was to ride Hell’s Angel started to climb the fence to mount the horse. On his chaps were emblazoned the letters W. W.
“Who’s this, Harry?” I asked. “Walter Winchell?” Harry laughed, “Hey, Ward, meet a friend of mine. This is Ward Watkins from Colorado. Ward, give him a good ride like you did at Phoenix that time.” Watkins, darkly handsome, grinned and said: “Sure, Harry, I’ll ride him dizzy.” He climbed into the saddle and grabbed the halter. He settled himself, trying to get into the rhythm of the horse.
Three judges mounted and looked toward the chute. Each rider must stay on ten seconds. Form counts as well as ability. The three judges were Earl Thode of Casa Grande, Texas, former All-American cowboy champion; Leo Murray of Fort Worth, Texas, another champion; and Herman Linder of Alberta, one time champion of Canada. The three judges looked toward Harry and Harry called, “All set, Ward?”
Ward Watkins grinned, flipped his cigarette away, and called cheerfully, “Let ‘em ride.”
As the gate swung open the horse dashed out and gave a tremendous leap forward and upward. His head came down and Ward fell forward on his neck. Another surge upward and another and now Ward had slipped out of the saddle but his left foot stayed in the stirrup.
The three judges tore after the bronco. The horse was still bucking and between bucks was galloping madly and dragging Ward Watkins. The three judges on horses tried desperately to head Hell’s Angel off, but he swerved this way and that and now a hundred cowboys, some on foot and others on horses, had run out and had surrounded Hell’s Angel. Finally by their sheer weight of numbers they stopped him.
Two men in white hurried out with a stretcher. Interns from the near-by Polyclinic Hospital are always at the rodeo. Someone in the crowd screamed, the rest of us stood there frozen. I looked down and there at my feet was the cigarette that Ward Watkins had so casually flipped away, still smoking. The stretcher was carried out, and Harry Knight and I walked to the side of the arena and started for the lobby. A white-faced photographer whose eyes were dull said: “That’s a tough way to earn a buck.”
We walked through the chute. A cowboy was leaning against the corral fence, doubled over a little as though he had been hit in the stomach. He said to no one in particular, “I’d have given two years pay not to have seen that.” Outside we met Twain Clemens, once a great contestant and now half owner of the rodeo. His face was grim. I said, “Twain, why not get that horse and shoot it?” He looked surprised, “I never thought of that,” he said, slowly. Harry Knight said flatly, “Wasn’t the horses fault. Horse didn’t know any better.” “It would make us feel better if we shot the horse,” I said. They just shook their heads.
We walked out of the Garden and across the street to the hotel where the cowboys lived. We went to the bar and ordered drinks. We tried to stop thinking about Ward Watkins. A cowboy came in and said gruffly, “He’s still alive.” Heads were raised in hope and amazement.
A month later he walked out of the hospital, limping a little and wincing a bit when he moved an arm – but he was alive. And he was back the following year and rode Hell’s Angel again.
In 1939, 188 cowboys made it to Madison Square Garden. So did forty cowgirls. Some of them were wide-eyed youngsters seeing New York for the first time. Some were veterans. There was bearded Ben Greenough of Red Lodge, Montana, who sat on the top of the chutes each night watching his two sons and two daughters perform. They call him “Pack-Saddle Ben” out West and he confesses to being seventy-two. There are 105 rodeos held under the auspices of the Rodeo Association of America. Points scored in any of these count in the final compilation to decide the world’s champion. The Garden rodeo is the grand climax of the so-called Suicide Circuit.
When the show was over, some of the boys came in. (I’m presuming he is referring to the bar at the hotel across the street) Winners of various events had saddles with them that they’d won and some had checks, too. Some looked unhappy. They were the ones that hadn’t won any prize money. They’d come from Arizona or Colorado to New York and had paid their own way. They’d paid their hotel bills too, and now they had to go back to work as cowhands so they could do it all over again next season. Some of them didn’t have enough money to check out of the hotel, but those who had won took care of that. It’s like that with the rodeo performers.
They are the greatest amateur athletes in the world. Technically they are professionals. Other sports have all their expenses paid. Rodeo performers aren’t sent by anyone. Some of them have to hitchhike to New York for the big show. Some of them borrow their next year’s pay so they can make the trip. Why? So they can wear a belt buckle on which is embossed: “World Champion Steer Wrestler," or so their saddle will be stamped, “World’s Champion Bronco Rider." They want the thrill of competing and beating their fellow cowboys.
Paul Carney was the 1939 world’s champion. He won $8,641. Those who won as much as a thousand dollars were doing well. Nine tenths of the contestants don’t win anything, but they come back each year to try again if they can beg or borrow a stake. In addition to traveling and living expenses each contestant has to pay an entry fee.
Many of them thumb their way to New York for the big event. Last year Dan Stuart rode from Tucson, Arizona, across the country on a burro. Tony Thomas of Hugo, Oklahoma, came on horseback, while Erby Mundy and John Elfic pooled their resources, bought a small car, built a trailer, and drove from Lewiston, Idaho, with two horses and a donkey as passengers. Some work their way across the continent, others ride the freights.
And so when it’s over they leave New York finally, most of them dead broke. They get back home as best they can, but what of it? They have something to talk about during the winter months. They re-live Ward Watkins’ ride a thousand times; they tell of Paul Carney’s great work on the saddled broncos and they talk of how Fritz Truan tossed those steers around. They chuckle about that little blond cashier they met and they drop notes to a cigarette girl who fluttered a pair of dark eyelashes at them. Then they go back to work to get a stake so they can do it all over again next year.
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Lots of things in rodeo have changed since this condensed article was written in 1940, but some things haven’t changed. I doubt if any one would dare call the cowboys and cowgirls amateurs in Las Vegas. Those that qualify for the National Finals know they will have enough money to get home, even if they don’t do well. But many things have changed in the sport of rodeo since this was written.
But there are still cowboys who just want the challenge of staying on the bronc for 8 seconds, or scoring well in the calf roping, or doggin’ a steer in a few seconds – or having the best barrel racing time regardless of the prize money. Overall the cowboy or cowgirl makes their decision as to whether they will compete or not. No one makes them do it. Their independent and choose where to go and what to enter. But they probably will go and enter – they love the sport of rodeo, regardless of the outcome. Those things will never change.
By the way, Deer Trail, Colorado, is holding their 150th Anniversary Rodeo this year. Their first rodeo was in 1869 and they held a bronc riding at a 4th of July Community Picnic with cowboys and broncs from area ranches. The winner was Emile Gardenhire, from England, who was working on one of the nearby ranches. He won a suit of clothes.
The Deer Trail Rodeo this year has a theme of “Cheers to 150 Years”. It will be held on July 5th& 6th at the Deer Trail Rodeo Grounds. Friday the activities will begin at 4:30 Mutton Bustin’, followed by 5:30 Rodeo and Free Concert. Saturday’s activities will begin with a parade at 1PM, and 4:30 Mutton Bustin’, followed by the 5:30 Rodeo, and Concert by Casey Donahue Band.
The Rodeo this year is going to have a Matched Bronc Riding open to anyone with $1000 prize money. This is to commemorate the first event held in 1869. Other events will be bareback riding, breakaway roping, barrel racing, bull riding, calf roping, mixed team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and team roping. There is $350 prize money in each event, and, of course, an entry fee, which I did not get. You can call the Town of Deer Trail at 303-769-4464 for more information about the event. See you there!!
Deer Trail was started by the Kansas Pacific Railroad when they built a railway station for homesteaders to transport their grain, livestock and eggs to sell. Today’s population is 546 (as of 2010, but it is growing) but in the 1920s it had grown to have two banks, five grocery stores, and three hotels plus the school and churches. Today there are two gas stations there, that are active, a museum, 2 churchs and a museum.
If anyone needs reservations try motels in Limon 35 miles east, or Byers, Strasburg or Denver to the west.
Gail Hughbanks Woerner is one of rodeo's foremost historians, having written hundred of articles and six books on the subject. She has interviewed hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls,