John L. Buckingham: 1936-2014
October 26, 2014
John L. Buckingham
John L. Buckingham, 77, went to be with the Lord on Jan. 23, 2014. He passed away at the Wyoming Medical Center from injuries sustained in a falling accident. He was born in Arminto, Wyoming on November 5, 1936. He was a true American cowboy who will be remembered by friends and family for his generosity and kindness. He was a strong proponent of preserving the individual freedoms of the American West.
John grew up in the Hole in the Wall country near Kaycee, Wyo. He graduated from Kaycee High School in 1955. While in high school, John competed in junior rodeos, and won the State Junior Rodeo Saddle Bronc Championship. He attended Casper Junior College, and continued his rodeo career at the University of Wyoming where he was an all around cowboy on the rodeo team. He roped calves, rode bulls, and saddle broncs doing well enough to go to the National College Finals all four years. He graduated from UW in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics.
After college, he began his career working for the Production Credit Association in Laramie. He continued to rodeo as a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a saddle bronc rider. John would travel as far as Texas to hit a string of rodeos. He especially loved northern Colorado where he was the Saddle Bronc Champion at the Earl Anderson Memorial Rodeo in 1967, and the Saddle Bronc Champion at the Greeley Stampede the year Greeley celebrated its centennial. John competed at Cheyenne Frontier Days, placing many times, but never winning the saddle bronc average. He liked competing at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas, especially when they had brought in a bucking string from the famous Calgary Stampede, and in Lander, where he won the Saddle Bronc Championship.
Johnny's rodeo career spanned over 25 years. He had won numerous trophy saddles and buckles. His most cherished prizes were a hand tooled saddle made by Jim Wise, and a trophy buckle sponsored by Clayton Danks, who had become a special friend and mentor to John. He finally hung it all up in the 70's, but kept and cherished the deep friendships he had developed from his rodeo days.
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He moved to Casper, Wyo., where he was the Vice President of the Farm Credit Services. During the early 1980s, he bought a ranch near Casper, and went back to work in the ranch finance business for 10 more years. He eventually retired and settled with his wife, Jessie, on the ranch.
John had a love for music and animals. He was an accomplished guitar player and never turned down a good jam session with family or friends. His musical gifts live on as they have been passed down to his kids and grandkids. Johnny especially appreciated a good horse and a good dog, both of which he had a gift for training and using. He was a tremendous mentor to young people, and encouraged many of his protégé to develop their talents and get an education.
John is survived by his wife Jessie Marie of Casper. Sisters Irma (Norman) Bideau of Casper, Lila (Jerry) Miller of Douglas, and Nancy Robinson of Evansville. Brother Bobby (Barbara) Buckingham of San Jose, CA. His children, Dale (Gwen) Buckingham of Sheridan, and Reo (Robynne) Buckingham of Casper, sons of Joyce (Bill) Barnard of Casper. Grandchildren Benjamin, Hannah, Abby, Seth, and Lydia. Jessie's children, Gwendi (Cory) Rietz of Casper and Cary (Kami) Poledna of Lander, and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made in John's name to the University of Wyoming Rodeo Club, Dept. 3354, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071 or the Craig Hospital Foundation, 3425 A. Clarkson Street, Englewood, CO 80113.