Josh Reynolds joins top cowboys in Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame
Saddle bronc rider Josh Reynolds is headed to the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame.
The Ekalaka, Mont. cowboy grew up rodeoing and spent twenty years on the pro rodeo trail, qualifying for the Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo seventeen times, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2005, and winning numerous rodeos across Montana and the nation.
The son of Butch Reynolds and the late Merlynn McOmber, he was born in 1974. As he traveled to rodeos with his dad, who rode broncs, he and his brother, Joe, would ride sheep or steers.
In high school, he competed in the saddle bronc riding but mostly rode bulls. After high school graduation, he attended Dawson Community College in Glendive and Panhandle State University in Guymon, Okla., but got beat out of qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo by his older brother.
At the age of eighteen, Reynolds became a PRCA permit holder, but didn’t start his rookie year till 1998.
Throughout his career, he competed not only in PRCA rodeos but at regional rodeos as well. He is a three-time Northern Rodeo Association saddle bronc riding champion (1996, 1997, 1998).
He set the record at the Home on the Range event in Sentinel Butte, N.D. with a score of 91 in 2013, and at one time, had the third highest marked ride in the PRCA, tied with world champion Billy Etbauer with 93 points. Reynolds’ 93 point ride was on the Kesler Rodeo horse Cool Alley in Cloverdale, B.C. in 2005. Etbauer’s 93 point ride was on the same horse at the Wrangler NFR. (JJ Elshere and Stetson Wright now both hold the third place record with scores of 93.5 points each, from rodeos in 2019.)
His best year of rodeo was in 2005, when he qualified for the Wrangler NFR, finishing thirteenth in the world standings.
Reynolds traveled with several cowboys: Jake Costello, JT Robbins, Shane Moran, Jake Hayworth, and JC DeSaveur, to name a few. He credits Hayworth with helping him learn the basics of rodeoing. DeSaveur is one of his best friends and is proud that his buddy is being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I know I’m not the only one who thinks and knows this, but Josh is one of the most underrated bronc riders and easily one of the best to ever come out of state of Montana,” he said.
DeSaveur admired his riding style. “He had a style that was really classy when he was tapped off. He could handle his rein ridiculously well, whether it was long or short. He had fast feet, cranked his toes out, and got ahold of horses. The things that guy could do on the back of a bucking horse were something to watch. He made it look almost effortless and yet flashy.”
DeSaveur is ten years Reynolds’ junior and met him when DeSaveur was 21 years old. “He was always nice to me, and as I rodeoed more I gravitated to him. We got to be pretty damn good friends.”
Reynolds is as good a guy on the ranch as he is in the arena, DeSaveur said. “He’s a hell of a hand on the ranch and on a saddle horse. He’s pretty ropey, and if something blows up and bucks with him, it’s not that he hasn’t been bucked off, but you’re not going to see it very often. He’s talented at almost anything he does. He’s a natural.”
Reynolds’ last rodeo was in 2018. He planned to rodeo as long as possible, and made it to the age of 43.
He ranches with his dad near Ekalaka and makes time for fun and travel. He loves to do anything outdoors: snow skiing, snow mobiling, fishing, hunting, and camping, and has been to Ireland and Costa Rica.
He was pleased with his nomination to the Hall and Wall of Fame. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “I wouldn’t think it would be me, compared with all the guys I’m going in with.” He poked fun at his relative youth. “I’ve been joking that I was too young to go into a Hall of Fame. Do they think I’m going to die?” he joked.
Reynolds is one of the best people DeSaveur has been around. “I’m proud of him,” DeSaveur said. “Not only for what he’s accomplished in and out of the arena but for the man and the friend that he is. He’s good hearted. I’d lose a testicle for that guy.”
Reynolds has been the champion at rodeos such as the Bucking Horse Sale (Miles City, 1997-1998); New Year’s Eve Bucking Ball (Gillette, Wyo. 2008-2009); the Johnny Morris Memorial; Chase Hawks Rodeo (Miles City); Miles City Match Bronc Riding; the World Class Bucking Horse Association and the Jordan Matched Bronc Riding (Jordan, Mont.).
Other inductees for the year include rodeo legends Deb Greenough, Larry Peabody, Ryan Mapston and Carolynn Vietor. Ronnie Reed will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Western Heritage Award winners are Jim Croff, Mike McCoy, Leonard Wortman, and the Rennaker family.
Montana Rodeo Families award winners are the Dennis Tryan family, the Pete and Aggie Stenger family, the Dennis Harms family, and the Rodney Newman family.
The Lady of the West award winner is Lois Hill, and the Montana Ranch award winners are the Kirch Ranch, the Lazy K6 Ranch, the Rising Ranch and Tiegan Land and Livestock.
The Great Montana Pro Rodeo award winner is the Drummond rodeo, and the Dawson Community College team won the Great Montanan College Rodeo Program award
The awards banquet will be held Jan. 25 at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. For more information, visit http://www.montanaprorodeo.org.