David Peter “Pete” Burns: 1928-2014
David Peter “Pete” Burns born July 19, 1928 in Darien, Ill.,, son of Franklin Burns and Josephine (Himes) Burns, died January 26, 2014.
He grew up in rural Illinois on a small farm and attended school in Darien and was very involved in athletics. His senior year in high school, he ran the 880 yard run and had the 5th fastest time ever in Illinois history with a time of one minute and 48 seconds. He came to UW on a track and cross country athletic scholarship and ran for UW and also played freshman basketball in 1946. During his time at UW he was introduced to the sport of rodeo which he fell in love with and was involved with up until his death.
He met and married Mary Jo Patton in 1950. Together they had four sons.
He spent time as a bull rider, bare back rider, steer wrestler, and then as a stock contractor, owner to famous 1986 bucking bull of the year, “Mr. T.”
In Laramie, Pete worked as a fireman and then built and ran Laramie Lanes from 1957 to 1980, when two of his sons took over the business. He was a co-rodeo coach at UW for 14 years, beginning in 1979 with the cowgirl rodeo team winning eight regional titles and three national titles and the cowboy rodeo team winning seven regional titles. He was a rodeo stock contractor (partner in Summit Rodeo Company operated in the late 1950’s to mid 1960’s). He then started Burns Rodeo with his son Hal in 1979. He was heavily involved in Laramie Youth Baseball, Laramie Jubilee Days, and he served on several boards in the county and city, most currently on the Weed and Pest board with his highlight of having elk designated as a pest in Albany County. He was one of the founders of the Steer A Year Club with the Cowboy Joe Club.
He loved UW Cowgirl Basketball. He also would never miss coffee with his buddies and fellow philosophers at 6 a.m. at Daylight Donuts.
Pete is preceded in death by his mother; his father; his brother, Steve; his sister, Barbara; and his ex-wife, Mary Jo Wymore.
He is survived by his son, Hal and his wife Barb Burns; his granddaughter, Kisa; and his great grandson, Jalen; his great granddaughter, Kianna, and grandsons, Cade and Roper; his son, Ed and his wife, Lisa Burns; his granddaughter, Sarah and husband, Zach Anderson; and his great grandson, Jace Anderson; grandson, Sam and wife, Julianne Burns; his son, Shell Burns; his son Lindsay and wife, Kendra Burns and his grandson, Cameron; and his granddaughter, Kieran; and his numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Albany County Fairgrounds. Bring your best Pete Burns story and join his friends and family.
In lieu of flowers/gift donations may be made to: Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.Org or mail to 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919. A rodeo scholarship will be set up as well.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News