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Category: Cowboy Heroes

by Jim Olson

In the early days of rodeo, steer roping competitions were how cowboys competed at roping. Calf (tie-down) roping came along later, then team roping. Around the turn of the last century, as roping competitions started taking hold, three men were known as the “ones to beat.” Joe Gardner, Clay McGonagill and J. Ellison Carroll were the “Trevor, Cody and Fred” of their day. Carroll wore a gold-colored badge with a steer’s head on it.Read the rest

 

Chris Ledoux, a World Champion rodeo cowboy turned singer, sang a line that went, “You pull in off the highway to another rodeo. To another crowd of people think it’s just a Wild West show.”

You may not realize but today’s rodeo, does in fact, have roots deep inside the Wild West show arena. None other than Buffalo Bill Cody was the most famous Wild West show producer.

Volumes have been written about William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917).… Read the rest

 

by Jim Olson

Bonnie McCarroll died as the result of a bronc riding accident at the Pendleton (Oregon) Roundup in 1929. This tragic event was the “straw the broke the camel’s back” as far as women’s bronc riding was concerned. (The first recorded competition for ladies bronc riding happened back in 1904.) During 1929, the Rodeo Association of America (RAA) was formed to help organize rodeo. They did not sanction any women’s events (citing Bonnie’s death as one of the main reasons).… Read the rest

 

by Jim Olson

He is mostly remembered as being the recipient of rodeo cowboy’s disdain once they finally stood up for themselves against unfair practices from the early-day rodeo promoters and producers back in 1936. Col. W. T. Johnson was on the opposite side from the cowboys, according to history, at the famous walk-out during the Boston Garden show in the fall of that year. This event was the catalyst that formed the Cowboy Turtles Association (CTA), which eventually morphed into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) that we have today.… Read the rest

 

by Jim Olson

“When I was a teen-age kid on ranches in Texas and Oklahoma, Foghorn Clancy had already made quite a name for himself in rodeos. Neither of us knew then that we were later to meet and work together in such rodeos as the Fort Worth Stock Show, Houston Stock Show, Madison Square Garden and practically every major rodeo throughout the country, and to become warm personal friends.” Gene Autry, 1952.

Ever wonder how they announced a Rodeo or Wild West Show before the advent of the public address (speaker) system?Read the rest

 

The Paddy Ryan bronc spur made by Oscar Crockett originally sold for $6.50 silver mounted on one side, $5.50 plain nickel finish or $4.50 plain steel. Some say the spur was actually designed by Ryan, others say Mr. Crockett simply had Ryan endorse this particular model. Either way, spur collectors and western enthusiast everywhere have most likely heard of the Paddy Ryan spur. But just who was Paddy Ryan?

John F. “Paddy” Ryan was a Minnesota native.Read the rest

 

Spur collectors everywhere will surely recognize the name of Johnnie Mullins (sometimes incorrectly spelled Johnny Mullens). Several well-known spur makers from the first half of the 1900s made a “Johnnie Mullins” spur. The Crockett version is probably the most recognized, but perhaps that is because they produced so many. Other well-known spur makers making this pattern included Kelly Bros. and McChesney (Nacona).… Read the rest