Bobby Berger, Descent and the Black Hills Roundup |

Bobby Berger, Descent and the Black Hills Roundup

Cheryl Leverton Larsen
For Tri-State Livestock News
Bobby Berger aboard Descent, at the Black Hills Roundup. This was the first time the palomino gelding had been ridden. Descent went on to win Bucking Horse of the Year several times and Berger claimed several world championships in both bronc and bull riding. Courtesy photo.

Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, held every year on the Fourth of July, has a lot of history! This year was 95 years since World Champion Yakama Canutt rode Tipperary. 15 years ago Marvin Garrett rode Powder River’s Kadafi Skole. And 50 years ago on July 4, 1965 at the Black Hills Roundup a young Kansas cowboy drew the great bucking horse Descent. What a ride it was!

Descent was a young palomino horse that was raised on the Art Douglas Ranch at Browning, Montana. His lineage can be traced back to Thoroughbreds on the sire side, that go back to Calvary remount horses and Morgan breeding on his dam side.

Douglas sold the horse with a load of horses that were wild and not even halter broke, to horse trader Eddie Vaughn. Vaughn sold them to Bud Kramer of Cohagan, Montana. Beutler Brothers Rodeo furnished the stock for the State Fair and Rodeo at Great Fall, Montana. Bud took that load of horses to the rodeo to be tried out. Leonard Nelson got on the young horse, and buck he did! He threw Leonard so high, that when Pete Logan, the announcer, looked up he saw a plane descending to land at the Great Falls Airport, Sonny Linger and Pete decided Descent would be a good name for the wild palomino.

Beutler Brothers bought Descent. Descent bucked like nobody’s business. And threw off every cowboy who drew him, until that fateful day in 1965 at Belle Fourche when Bobby Berger drew him. Cowboys who saw that ride still talk about it today! It was a spectacular ride! Bobby was the first cowboy to ride the great bronc to the whistle.

Descent went on to buck off 13 World Champions. Greats like Larry Mahan, Shawn Davis, Ross Loney, Bill Smith, Alvin Nelson and Guy Weeks just to name a few. Descent would win bucking horse of the year in 1966, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’71 and ’72. No other horse has ever done that, or even come close. He was retired in 1975, lived a long life and passed away in 1983 at Larry Mahan’s ranch in Colorado.

And that young cowboy, Bobby Berger went on to become 1979 World Champion Saddle Bronc rider. Bobby qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 13 times. Winning the average titles in bull riding in 1971 and saddle bronc riding in 1980. From 1976-78, the PRCA honored two World Champions. The World Champion was determined by most money won at the NFR and the other was the PRCA Champion, based on the total season earnings. Bobby won 1977 PRCA Saddle Bronc Champion. He is one of few that has qualified for the NFR in all three rough stock events, along with Larry Mahan, and Ty Murray. H competed at the Black Hills Roundup close to 20 times in his career. Bobby and his wife Serena live at Pearsall, Texas and attended the Black Hills Roundup, Parade and Stars of Rodeo July 4th.