ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame | TSLN.com

ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns

For the July 18, 2009 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

Induction ceremonies for the Class of 2009 at the ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame drew a capacity crowd to the museum at Colorado Springs, CO last weekend. I was privileged to be there Saturday morning, and couldn’t have been prouder to see so many there representing posthumous honoree Erv Korkow of Korkow Rodeo. Tri-State Country is lucky to claim that family, and many family members were proud to be there in honor and memory of Erv and LaFolla as this coveted honor was bestowed.

Emcee Larry Mahan spoke about Erv from his memories of Korkow rodeos, then a brief slide show honored Erv’s rodeo expertise and his fantastic rodeo stock. It was great to hear our favorite radio personality Jim Thompson’s voice on the video shots of Erv and LaFolla riding in a horsedrawn carriage at a Korkow rodeo as they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Jim Korkow stepped to the mic for the acceptance speech and said he was up there to talk for his father. He said he hadn’t known what he’d say until he received a card with an eagle on the front, reading “No bird soars too high as long as he’s soaring on his own wings.” Jim said, “A man in a wheelchair had written inside ‘Nobody soared further in rodeo than Erv Korkow.'”

Hearing those words I knew in my heart that card had been sent by our Arizona hero Junior Bachand, who is like family with the Korkow’s… and has been paralyzed for over 60 years from an accident on one of their bareback broncs. Jim later confirmed that the card was indeed from Junior – and we both knew he was there in spirit as his old friend and the business of Korkow Rodeos was honored. Thanks, Junior and Loretta – you never cease to inspire us!

Jim Korkow spoke of three main things his dad loved – Horses, Kids, and Family. As for horses, Jim recalled Erv trading cars for horses. He remembered the Army Remount stud Erv had and how the Quarter Horse inspector came to look at the horses when the registration was formed… an inspector who said if everyone had good horses like Erv his job would sure be easier, then passed every one into the registry.

As for kids, Jim shared Erv’s involvement in starting 4-H rodeo in South Dakota… a group that’s now some 2,200 strong and is responsible for introducing countless young people to rodeo competition.

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As for family, Jim had his brothers Don and Ken stand and noted they’re all trying to follow their dad’s legacy. He recalled how they took rodeo stock to town the first time in 1947, doing everything from setting up the chutes to tearing down when it was over. He also noted he drove a truckload of rodeo stock to the first National Finals Rodeo in 1949… and drove a truckload to the National Finals Rodeo last winter; quipping that even over a half century “some things never change.” Jim closed by noting how deeply Erv loved his whole family, then asked family members present to stand. It seemed like half the crowd stood up, and the applause was deafening. Congratulations to the Korkow’s… I enjoyed brief visits with many of them I hadn’t seen in years.

I was singularly impressed by the acceptance speech of Walt Arnold. Every young rodeo hand who takes for granted the prize money available in rodeo these days, and the ease of getting to those rodeos, should listen to all Walt had to say.

He mentioned being born in 1938 and finding out later that his father had to pay the attending doctor an entire month’s wages to deliver him – a fee of $30. The family survived by raising cows for milk and hogs and chickens for meat. At the age of 5, Walt saved up his pennies and bought cotton rope – 20 feet for 20 cents. With that treasure he proceeded to rope a pig, which proceeded to run under his dad who was milking the cow. After the cow kicked the bucket, spilled the milk and ran over his dad, Walt was informed if he was big enough to rope pigs he was big enough to milk, so milking the cow was his work from the time he was 5 years old. When he was 6 he recalled riding his Paint/Shetland pony and begging to be allowed to rope a calf with screw worms so it could be doctored… and getting the chance, and catching the calf. When he was 7 Walt’s dad put him on a John Deere D tractor and set him to plowing. Next he begged for a colt that cost $25. He promised to break it, so his dad finally bought it, and Walt and his brother started leading it the nine miles home. The brother soon decided Walt had as well take advantage of the miles they had to go, pulling him off his broke horse and saddling the colt for him. It was well started by the time they got home; experience that was good preparation for when Shoat Webster offered to instruct Walt in steer roping if he’d help him with some horses.

Turned out Shoat had 23 head of 3- to 5-year-old geldings for Walt to break… but Walt said Shoat kept his end of the bargain and “showed me a lot” about steer roping. Still roping even though in his 70’s, Walt says he’s qualified for the #11 and #13 events in the big team roping tournament that takes place in Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He says they’ve rated him #6 as a header but he’s getting by at #5 as a heeler.

Congratulations once more to all the 2009 ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame honorees!

Speakin’ of pro rodeo, a good one is coming to our region the end of this month. The Energy Town ProRodeo and Campbell County Fair events liven up Gillette, WY July 30th through August 1st. A very special event at the CamPlex on July 30th is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association steer roping, being dedicated to the memory of Toby Dickinson who died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack last February at only 52 years of age. Toby had announced Gillette’s PRCA steer roping slack in recent years and was much loved throughout the community and region. The rodeo committee sought and received special PRCA approval for this year’s steer roping to be a “featured event” with double prize money. An amount of $2,000 is added to the other rodeo events but the steer ropers will have $4,000 added to their event; extra purse money donated by a special group of Toby’s friends, the Straight Flush poker players and Pat and Gene Litton. Jayne Harris, a longtime steer roping aficionado and supporter, said “There is no better way to honor Toby than by having the world’s best ropers compete in his name.”

Three full go-rounds will be held with the steer roping average winner taking home a beautiful pair of custom-made trophy stirrups donated by the Lee Isenberger family. To learn more about Campbell County fair activities go to http://www.campbellcountyfair.com; for rodeo details check out http://www.energytownprorodeo.com.

Looks like we’re plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more…

Induction ceremonies for the Class of 2009 at the ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame drew a capacity crowd to the museum at Colorado Springs, CO last weekend. I was privileged to be there Saturday morning, and couldn’t have been prouder to see so many there representing posthumous honoree Erv Korkow of Korkow Rodeo. Tri-State Country is lucky to claim that family, and many family members were proud to be there in honor and memory of Erv and LaFolla as this coveted honor was bestowed.

Emcee Larry Mahan spoke about Erv from his memories of Korkow rodeos, then a brief slide show honored Erv’s rodeo expertise and his fantastic rodeo stock. It was great to hear our favorite radio personality Jim Thompson’s voice on the video shots of Erv and LaFolla riding in a horsedrawn carriage at a Korkow rodeo as they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Jim Korkow stepped to the mic for the acceptance speech and said he was up there to talk for his father. He said he hadn’t known what he’d say until he received a card with an eagle on the front, reading “No bird soars too high as long as he’s soaring on his own wings.” Jim said, “A man in a wheelchair had written inside ‘Nobody soared further in rodeo than Erv Korkow.'”

Hearing those words I knew in my heart that card had been sent by our Arizona hero Junior Bachand, who is like family with the Korkow’s… and has been paralyzed for over 60 years from an accident on one of their bareback broncs. Jim later confirmed that the card was indeed from Junior – and we both knew he was there in spirit as his old friend and the business of Korkow Rodeos was honored. Thanks, Junior and Loretta – you never cease to inspire us!

Jim Korkow spoke of three main things his dad loved – Horses, Kids, and Family. As for horses, Jim recalled Erv trading cars for horses. He remembered the Army Remount stud Erv had and how the Quarter Horse inspector came to look at the horses when the registration was formed… an inspector who said if everyone had good horses like Erv his job would sure be easier, then passed every one into the registry.

As for kids, Jim shared Erv’s involvement in starting 4-H rodeo in South Dakota… a group that’s now some 2,200 strong and is responsible for introducing countless young people to rodeo competition.

As for family, Jim had his brothers Don and Ken stand and noted they’re all trying to follow their dad’s legacy. He recalled how they took rodeo stock to town the first time in 1947, doing everything from setting up the chutes to tearing down when it was over. He also noted he drove a truckload of rodeo stock to the first National Finals Rodeo in 1949… and drove a truckload to the National Finals Rodeo last winter; quipping that even over a half century “some things never change.” Jim closed by noting how deeply Erv loved his whole family, then asked family members present to stand. It seemed like half the crowd stood up, and the applause was deafening. Congratulations to the Korkow’s… I enjoyed brief visits with many of them I hadn’t seen in years.

I was singularly impressed by the acceptance speech of Walt Arnold. Every young rodeo hand who takes for granted the prize money available in rodeo these days, and the ease of getting to those rodeos, should listen to all Walt had to say.

He mentioned being born in 1938 and finding out later that his father had to pay the attending doctor an entire month’s wages to deliver him – a fee of $30. The family survived by raising cows for milk and hogs and chickens for meat. At the age of 5, Walt saved up his pennies and bought cotton rope – 20 feet for 20 cents. With that treasure he proceeded to rope a pig, which proceeded to run under his dad who was milking the cow. After the cow kicked the bucket, spilled the milk and ran over his dad, Walt was informed if he was big enough to rope pigs he was big enough to milk, so milking the cow was his work from the time he was 5 years old. When he was 6 he recalled riding his Paint/Shetland pony and begging to be allowed to rope a calf with screw worms so it could be doctored… and getting the chance, and catching the calf. When he was 7 Walt’s dad put him on a John Deere D tractor and set him to plowing. Next he begged for a colt that cost $25. He promised to break it, so his dad finally bought it, and Walt and his brother started leading it the nine miles home. The brother soon decided Walt had as well take advantage of the miles they had to go, pulling him off his broke horse and saddling the colt for him. It was well started by the time they got home; experience that was good preparation for when Shoat Webster offered to instruct Walt in steer roping if he’d help him with some horses.

Turned out Shoat had 23 head of 3- to 5-year-old geldings for Walt to break… but Walt said Shoat kept his end of the bargain and “showed me a lot” about steer roping. Still roping even though in his 70’s, Walt says he’s qualified for the #11 and #13 events in the big team roping tournament that takes place in Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He says they’ve rated him #6 as a header but he’s getting by at #5 as a heeler.

Congratulations once more to all the 2009 ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame honorees!

Speakin’ of pro rodeo, a good one is coming to our region the end of this month. The Energy Town ProRodeo and Campbell County Fair events liven up Gillette, WY July 30th through August 1st. A very special event at the CamPlex on July 30th is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association steer roping, being dedicated to the memory of Toby Dickinson who died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack last February at only 52 years of age. Toby had announced Gillette’s PRCA steer roping slack in recent years and was much loved throughout the community and region. The rodeo committee sought and received special PRCA approval for this year’s steer roping to be a “featured event” with double prize money. An amount of $2,000 is added to the other rodeo events but the steer ropers will have $4,000 added to their event; extra purse money donated by a special group of Toby’s friends, the Straight Flush poker players and Pat and Gene Litton. Jayne Harris, a longtime steer roping aficionado and supporter, said “There is no better way to honor Toby than by having the world’s best ropers compete in his name.”

Three full go-rounds will be held with the steer roping average winner taking home a beautiful pair of custom-made trophy stirrups donated by the Lee Isenberger family. To learn more about Campbell County fair activities go to http://www.campbellcountyfair.com; for rodeo details check out http://www.energytownprorodeo.com.

Looks like we’re plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more…

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