PRORODEO HALL OF FAME HORSES

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The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy is the only museum in the world devoted exclusively to the sport of rodeo and its star, the rodeo cowboy. Hall of Fame winter hours.

*Effective Sept. 1, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy will observe its winter hours schedule. The building will be open only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The building will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Winter hours continue through April 1. For more information, visit prorodeohalloffame.com

The doors opened in August of 1979 and that first year they honored 69 two-legged plus 14 four-legged contestants. The museum is located adjacent to the national headquarters of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado . It allows visitors to trace the history of rodeo and relive the glory of its greatest champions.

*All ProRodeo Hall of Fame information and photos provided courtesy of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. For more information about the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, go to www.prorodeohalloffame.com or visit the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy at 101 ProRodeo Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (719) 528-4764

STEER WRESTLING

BABY DOLL - Steer Wrestling

Inducted 1979 From 1953-60, Baby Doll earned more than $400,000 for her owner, the late, Willard Combs of Checotah, Okla. She carried Combs’ younger brother, the late Benny Combs, to the world steer wrestling title in 1955. In 1957 she took Willard Combs to the world championship. Sired by Oklahoma Star, Jr., the capable Doll had more fans than the men who rode her. Baby Doll’s popularity increased after she was featured in a 1958 Life magazine article. A score of contestants from across the nation attended her burial in 1960.

PEANUTS - Steer Wrestling Horse

Inducted 1979. 1977 was the first year that a trophy was awarded to the season’s best steer wrestling horse by vote of the top 30 money winners in the event. Their choice in 1977-78 was a bay gelding named Peanuts, owned by C.R. Jones of Lakeside, Calif. Purchased off the Quarter Horse race track in 1968, the 4-year-old Peanuts, registered as Make It Do, had an enviable record down the straightway. He once won nine of 11 races at Los Alamitos, taking five of them in a row. There have been many great money-winning steer wrestling horses, Everett Bowman’s bay Coon Dog, Dave Campbell’s sorrel Laddie and Walt Linderman’s stout-hearted Scott to name a few. However, until steer wrestler and roper Corky Warren established a perpetual trophy in memory of his wife Sharon, there was no official recognition of great steer wrestling horses.

BARREL RACING

SCAMPER - Barrel Racing

Inducted 1996 The name is an apt description of the legendary barrel horse whose AQHA name is Gills Bay Boy. Purchased for $1,000 by owner/rider Charmayne James, Scamper began his record-setting career as a rookie in 1984. He took James past the $1 million earnings mark and to 10 world championships from 1984-93. Five-time AQHA/WPRA Barrel Horse of the Year, Scamper also won the prestigious 1992 AQHA Silver Spur Award reserved for Quarter Horses that bring special notice and fame to the breed. Scamper was semi-retired in 1993, although as recently as March 1996, he won $8,000 at RodeoHouston, one of his favorites. Over his career he earned $136,000 and 10 championships at the Texas rodeo. The gelding dominated barrel racing for a decade and without a doubt is the best known and most successful barrel horse that ever lived. James once described him as “beyond great.”

STEER ROPING

BULLET - Steer Roping

Inducted 1979 Bullet, sired by noted Quarter Horse Jack McCue, may have begun his rodeo career as a tie-down roping mount in the 1930s, but he achieved his fame as a steer roping horse. Roy and Pat Lewis sold the 1,000-pound sorrel gelding to veteran roper Bob Crosby. In 1941, Ike Rude capitalized on his own skill and Bullet’s quickness and strength to win the world steer roping championship. The following year, King Merritt rode Bullet to the world title. Bullet continued to perform consistently, winning two more world titles in 1947 and 1953 with Rude in the saddle.

TIE-DOWN ROPING HORSES

BALDY - Tie-Down Roping

Inducted 1979 Rodeo’s most talked-about tie-down roping horse of the 1940s was a streak-faced, badly scarred sorrel named Baldy. He was directly responsible for four world championships. Clyde Burk of Comanche, Okla., won the world tie-down roping title astride Baldy in 1942 and 1944. After a fatal accident in 1945, Clyde’s widow sold Baldy to Troy Fort of Lovington, N.M. Fort captured the world championship in 1947 and 1949. Shortly thereafter Baldy developed a heart condition and was retired. Three-time world champion steer roper Ike Rude trained Baldy. However, early in Baldy’s rodeo career, his trailer caught fire and his left foreleg was severely burned. Veterinarians were amazed the resulting scar tissue left no apparent stiffness.

POKER CHIP PEAKE - Tie-down roping

Inducted 1979 Poker Chip Peake, an iron-gray gelding sired by the famed Quarter Horse Driftwood out of Sage Hen, was a tie-down roper’s dream horse. He had it all, perfect conformation and great “cow sense,” stopping and working a rope with such consistency each run. In 1963, the trailer he was in overturned on an icy road, resulting in Poker Chip Peake’s developing calcium deposits on his hipbone. In 1966, owner Dale Smith retired him to a ranch near Chandler, Ariz. PHOTO: By Willard H. Porter.

BAREBACK BRONCS

COME APART - Bareback bronc

Inducted 1979 Come Apart, the sorrel nemesis of bareback riders during the 1950s and 1960s, came out of rangeland south of Red Lodge, Mont., along the Wyoming-Montana border. The late Leo J. Cremer, Montana rodeo stock contractor, first purchased him. Unlike most bucking stock, Come Apart had no set pattern of bucking. The rider never knew what to expect because the horse literally exploded into the arena. As early as 1952, cowboys considered him almost unrideable. Come Apart reached 16 hands tall and weighed nearly 1,400 pounds without losing a fraction of his agility. At the first National Finals Rodeo in 1959 in Dallas, Come Apart was selected the best bareback bronc and won the award again in 1961. Come Apart was selected to buck in nine NFRs. In 1967, still strong and healthy, Come Apart was bitten in the jugular vein by a rattlesnake. Efforts to save him failed. He was nearly 30 years old at the time of his death.

HIGH TIDE - Bareback Bronc

Inducted 1993 A direct descendent of the legendary race horse Man O ’War, High Tide was a part of the Flying U Rodeo Company until he was 38 years old, the equivalent of 105 human years. He made his first trip to the National Finals Rodeo in 1967 and was selected 20 more times, far outdistancing his equine counterparts. He was named the top bareback horse of the 1975 NFR and, appropriately, was retired at the 1986 NFR. High Tide was known for consistency and altitude. He was also a television star, twice appearing on Ripley’s Believe It or Not because of his longevity and continuing success in the rodeo arena. The horse was described by his human athletic competitors as “one in a million.” High Tide died Aug. 5, 1987, and was buried at Cotton Rosser’s ranch in Marysville, Calif.

SKOAL SIPPIN’ VELVET - Bareback bronc

Inducted 2000 Skoal Sippin’ Velvet originally named Abdallah, was sired by a direct descendant of the famous Man O’ War named Grand Admiral and the NFR bucking mare named Sweet Thing. He was born on the Hoss Inman, Flying I Ranch in Lamar, Colo. Abdallah became an outstanding bucking horse and a real favorite of the rodeo crowd. The bronc was sold to Texas stock contractor Bernis Johnson in 1976 and his name was changed to Sippin’ Velvet in 1978 as part of the Black Velvet stock contractors’ award program. Sippin’ Velvet was named Bareback Horse of the Year five times in his career; five times he was voted second or third top horse at the National Finals Rodeo; and six times he was named top horse in the Lone Star Circuit. In 1986, at 17, he was the first horse to be included in the Copenhagen Skoal stock contractors’ award program. After 18 NFR appearances, taking riders to the pay window on a consistent basis and earning good checks for the B-J, Johnson decided to retire Sippin’ Skoal Velvet in the arena at the 1994 Finals. The big-hearted bronc died at the age of 26 and was buried at the Johnson home.

SADDLE BRONCS

DESCENT - Saddle Bronc

Inducted 1979 Six-time Bucking Horse of the Year Descent, a palomino gelding, was the most noted animal in the Beutler string. Lynn Beutler purchased the horse in 1964 as a 5-year-old. In 1966, the season’s Top 15 saddle bronc riders voted Descent as the Bucking Horse of the Year. He continued that streak through 1969. In 1970, the horse was sidelined due to injury, but came back in 1971-72 to reclaim the Bucking Horse of the Year award. Descent was retired at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver and lived in comfort at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame until his death in 1983.

FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT - Saddle Bronc

Inducted 1979 Five Minutes to Midnight began life with the name Tumbling Mustard. Although he was smaller, his twists and plunges led to his often being confused with the renowned bronc of the day, Midnight. When people asked, “Is that the horse Midnight?,” the usual answer was, “Darn close to it!” Five Minutes was close enough and that’s how the horse made rodeo history with a new name. Peter Welch and Strawberry Red Wall, producers of Canadian rodeos in the 1920s, already owned Midnight, and they acquired the smaller horse from the Sarcee Indian Reservation. Col. Jim Eskew, a noted New York producer, had seen both of them perform and picked them up at a sheriff’s sale when the Canadian outfit was dissolved. It was not until the pair of blacks was sold to Verne Elliott and Ed McCarty that Five Minutes to Midnight bucked his way to real fame. Little Five continued to turn back and cut figure eights long after Midnight retired. In 1946, Five Minutes to Midnight retired, and he died in July 1947.

HELL’S ANGEL - Saddle bronc

Inducted 1979 Described by world champion saddle bronc rider Gene Pruett “as the greatest bucking horse in history,” Hell’s Angel usually left the chute with a high wrenching kick that gained impetus from striking the back of the chute. The 1,300-pound Percheron Pinto cross began his career with Montana stock contractor Buck Yarborough and was discovered in 1932 by Mike Hastings, scouting for Texas stock contractor W.T. Johnson. Hell’s Angel died of lockjaw in 1941.

MIDNIGHT - Saddle bronc

Inducted 1979 The Canadian horse, Midnight, began his rodeo career by bucking off his owner, Jim McNab, after a car backfired. McNab then sold the black horse to stock contractor Peter Welch and Strawberry Red Wall, producers for Canadian rodeos in the 1920s. After acquiring, Midnight, they increased their string by adding a smaller black horse called Tumbling Mustard from a Sarcee Indian reservation. Col. Jim Eskew, a noted Waverly, N.Y., producer of eastern rodeos, bought the pair and then sold them to Verne Elliott and Ed McCarty. Ringbone disorder forced Midnight into retirement in the mid 1930's.

MISS KLAMATH - Saddle Bronc

Inducted 1998 Miss Klamath is remembered as the undisputed queen of saddle broncs in the early 1950s. An unknown when she first started bucking, Miss Klamath soon developed a reputation for unseating all riders. Bronc riders of the era wondered if anyone would ever make a qualified ride on her. In fact, rodeo legend Casey Tibbs was quoted in the Rodeo Sports News saying, “I’ve ridden a lot of bucking horses and been bucked off a lot of them, but Miss Klamath was the only horse I ever thought I couldn’t ride.” A part of the Christensen Brothers’ string, Miss Klamath’s unique style of kicking, perpendicular and higher with each jump, was ultimately responsible for a freak accident, ending her career in 1954 at the age of 14.

STEAMBOAT - Saddle bronc

Inducted 1979 Rarely did cowboys make a successful ride on the bronc Steamboat. This 1,100-pound Wyoming ranchland horse first attracted public attention at the Festival of Mountains and Plains in Denver in 1900. Bronc riding in the early days of rodeo was far different from what is seen today; horses did not exit from chutes, but were snubbed to the saddlehorn of a rider while he mounted and then turned loose. Horses were ridden for 30 seconds or more, sometimes until they stopped bucking. Arenas were often any impromptu open area where the audience could form a circle of wagons, automobiles, mounted riders and people on foot. Steamboat was probably as widely known as any bucking horse of the era because of his association with famed rodeo producer, C. B. Irwin, who traveled widely and brought rodeo to cities and towns nationwide.

TIPPERARY - Saddle bronc

Inducted 1979 Tipperary was credited with dumping 80 riders before Yakima Canutt made a qualified ride in 1920. Canutt also rode the famed bronc a second time in Belle Fourche, S.D., in 1921. The colt, which hailed from a band of thoroughbreds in the Northwest, first gained attention at the World War 1 boomtown of Camp Crook, S.D., a center of European military horse buyers and bronc riders who rode each horse before it was sold. The English rejected the colt because it bucked off all riders, and the Italians passed it by because it was a pacer. A saloonkeeper, who won the horse in a poker game, won a fast $500 when he bet that a local bronc rider couldn’t ride the horse. The crestfallen cowboy sat in the dust singing, “It’s a long way to Tipperary,” a popular song of the period. The name caught on and Tipperary began a bucking career that lasted until 1928.

*All ProRodeo Hall of Fame information and photos provided courtesy of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. For more information about the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, go to www.prorodeohalloffame.com or visit the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy at 101 ProRodeo Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (719) 528-4764.

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