Filming Feek’s Vision: Legendary stock contractor’s story documented in new movie
The Most Notable Tooke Horses
Challenger (Beutler) 7x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1987-1993), 1987 Co-PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year
Killer Bee (Beutler ) 2x Top NFR Saddle Bronc (2013-14), 2015 PRCA Runner Up SB of the Year (2015)
Wonderland (Beutler) 11x NFR SB Horse (2008-2017)
Wound Up (Beutler) 2016 Top NFR Saddle Bronc, 2017 PRCA Runner SB of the Year
Blood Brother (Burch) 10x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1999-2008), 2008 Co-PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year
Lunatic Fringe (Burch) 2x NFR BB & SB (2007-08*), 2nd Runner Up PRCA SB Horse (2014)
Lunatic From Hell (Burch) 2nd Runner Up PRCA SB Horse (2015)
Guilty Cat (Calgary) 11x NFR BB & SB (1982, 84-90, 92-94) , 2x Canadian Saddle Bronc of the Year (1981 & ’83), 1985 Top Canadian NFR Saddle Bronc & Reserve PRCA Bareback Horse of Year (1987 &’89), 11x NFR Bucking Horse
Kloud Gray (Calgary) 12x NFR SB (1984-1997), 1987 Top Canadian Saddle Bronc, 1987 Top Saddle Bronc of Canadian NFR & 1987 Co-PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year, 13x NFR Saddle Bronc
Full Baggage (Frontier) 2x PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year (2011 &13), 3x Top NFR Bareback Horse (2010, 12 &15), PRCA Runner Up BB Horse (2014 & 15)
Medicine Woman (Frontier) 4x PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year (2011, 14, 15 & 16), 2x Top NFR Saddle Bronc (2010 & 15)
Night Jacket (J-J) 7x NFR BB or SB
Craig At Midnight (Powder River) 2016 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year, 2017 PRCA Runner Up BB Horse, & 2017 Co-Top NFR Bareback Horse
Miss Congeniality (Powder River) 7x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (2002-08*), 2x PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year (2005 & 07)
Show Me the Cards (Powder River) 6x NFR SB (1999-00, 02-05)
Skitzo (Sankey) 12x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1993-2005), 2x PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year (1994 & 97)
Surprise Party (Sankey) 11x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1998-2008), 2000 PRCA Co-Saddle Bronc of the Year
Wild Card (Sankey) 12x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1997-2008), 1998 PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year
Bobby Joe (Vold) 15x NFR Bareback Horse (1987-01), 3x PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year (1991-91) & 1991 Top NFR Saddle Bronc
Chuckulator (Sutton) 2012 PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year & 2012 Top NFR Saddle Bronc
Bald Hornet (Rodeo Inc) 1965 NFR Bareback Horse
Deacon Brown (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Saddle Bronc (1965 & 67)
Desolation (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Saddle Bronc (1971-72)
Dim Trails (Rodeo Inc) 1977 NFR Bareback Horse
Drifter (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Bareback Horse (1966 & 77)
General Custer (Tooke)
Gray Wolf (Tooke) 2016 PRCA Hall of Fame Inductee
Headlight (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Bareback Horse
Indian Sign (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Bareback Horse (1965-66)
Major Reno (Rodeo Inc) 8x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1968-71, 73-76) & 2x Top NFR Saddle Bronc (1968-69)
Ocean Spray (Rodeo Inc) 1964 NFR Bareback Horse
Old Settler (Rodeo Inc) 1967 NFR Saddle Bronc Horse
Red Flame (Rodeo Inc) 1965 NFR Bareback Horse
Sheep Mountain (Rodeo Inc) 3x NFR Saddle Bronc (1967, 69, 70) & 1967 Top NFR Saddle Bronc
Skid Row Sue (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Saddle Bronc (1969-70)
Sunset Strip (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Saddle Bronc Horse (1965-66)
Tall Timber (Rodeo Inc) 1964 NFR Bareback Horse
Torpedo (Tooke) 1969 NFR Saddle Bronc Horse
Wing Ding (Rodeo Inc) 2x NFR Bareback Horse (1967 & 78)
With about nine out of 10 broncs in the rodeo arena today tracing back to Feek Tooke’s stock, the work he completed before dying 50 years ago is still bucking in the bronc riding industry. Filmmaker Ken Howie first approached Toby Tooke, Feek’s great-grandson, about a 20-minute episode to air on Special Cowboy Moments on RFDTV. Feek’s story evolved into something far bigger. The film, Feek’s Vision, featuring interviews with rodeo names like Harry Vold, Larry Mahan, Ty Murray and many more, is set to premier Dec. 7, 2018, during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, 50 years to the day that Feek fell off his horse, dead. He had just accepted an award for one of his horses, Sheep Mountain, on behalf of Rodeo Inc. at the NFR, hosted in Oklahoma City at that time.
“He died in 1968. He received the award for Sheep Mountain, the top saddle bronc from the prior year that he sold to Rodeo Inc., which was John Snow, Jack Brainard, and Mel Potter,” Toby said. “They had booked another rodeo, so they asked Feek to get the award and flank their horses. He rode in, got the award, rode out, and fell off his horse, dead before he hit the ground.”
Feek’s horses came by their size and agility from two unexpected places, a shire stallion called King Larrygo, bred primarily to the daughters of an albino Arabian stallion dubbed Snowflake. The two bloodlines intertwined created talent that trickled down to current stock such as Powder River’s Craig at Midnight, Burch’s Lunatic Fringe, Frontier’s Medicine Woman, their own General Custer, and many more.
“[Great] grandpa started bucking horses back in 1930, when most believed there was no way to breed a bucking horse; people thought they would get broke. The old spoiled military horses and saddle horses were the bucking horses,” Toby said. “It took awhile, but he bought a horse out of Iowa, King Larrygo, a blue-ribbon winner at the Iowa State Fair, a full-bred Shire. He crossed him with those hot-blooded mares of Snowflake, and he was in the bucking horse business.” Feek got one colt out of King Larrygo, before he was kicked and ruined, that continued the legacy. That colt was Prince.
Feek’s son, Toby’s grandpa, Ernest Tooke, kept bones for DNA tracing from Feek’s prodigy, General Custer and Gray Wolf, allowing for decades of bucking horses to be traced back to their significant stallions.
“One angle Ken knew would be beneficial is the genetic side. People might be interested to learn how well the bloodline records are kept,” Ken’s wife Theresa said. “Dr. Gregg Veneklasen has been insturmental to the story; his knowledge is immense.” Dr. Veneklasen owns Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Texas, and is known for his work in equine reproduction and cloning.
In addition to preserving the bones, Ernest also retained rare footage of Tooke horses bucking in the 1940s through 1960s from rodeos in Ekalaka, Glendive, Baker, and Red Lodge, all in Montana.
“There isn’t usually a lot of footage from that long ago. I’m excited to see how he incorporates that,” Toby said of Ken using the footage in Feek’s Vision.
Ken is still traveling through the United States and Canada gathering interviews and footage for the film. He has already traveled an estimated 37,000 miles, and has about that to go, Theresa said. He interviewed rodeo great Harry Vold just three days before his death, and has also interviewed such greats as Ty Murray, Deb Copenhaver, Dan Mortensen, and more who are being kept back as an element of surprise in the film. Some of those mentioned are in the trailer of the film, which can be found at http://www.FeeksVision.com.
Feek’s family still produces horses from his original broncs; they have about 65 to 85 at his ranch in Ekalaka, Montana.
“His dad and his mom migrated from New York; their names were Earl and Bessie. They homesteaded in Carter County and had six boys. Feek was the one that fell in love with horses,” Toby said. “He quit school after eighth grade, and started Tooke Brothers Rodeo. Then Feek took it and ran with it. My honest opinion with [great] grandpa is that he didn’t think it would be as big as it is or important as it was.”
Feek is also the brains behind the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, which is in its 68th year. He told Bill Linderman about the vision, but didn’t have the time himself to make it come to fruition.
“I knew there was something special, and I wanted to get grandpa into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame,” Toby said. “It’s been quite the ride the last 10 years of being recognized. Harry was a huge part of that too. I tried to get [great] grandpa in numerous years, but it didn’t happen until Harry Vold and Clem McSpadden worked on it.”
Toby’s dream came true for his great grandpa in 2008, and for one of their stallions, Gray Wolf, in 2016.
The film will be released on DVD at the same time as its premier, and more information will be posted to the website as it comes available.
“I’m very grateful people are still interested in our story, everyone from cowboys to contractors to clowns. It’s really humbling,” Toby said. “I didn’t really have any part of any of it other than making sure the story doesn’t get forgotten. Ken and Theresa are amazing and make sure things don’t get forgotten, and the story is told accurately.”
Ken and Theresa Howie, the producers of Feek’s Vision have requested that anyone who personally knows the Tooke family and has photos, video, or stories to share to please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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