Brian Fulton: 1962-2015
Brian Keith Fulton was born Oct. 14, 1962 in Pierre, South Dakota.
Brian, a two-time qualifier of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and 12-times the Badlands Circuit all-around champion, died Aug. 28, 2015 at Cherry County Hospital in his hometown of Valentine, Nebraska, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 52.
Brian was the second of four sons of Tex and Mary Ann (Cowan) Fulton. He graduated from Miller High School, Miller, South Dakota and attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota.
On Nov. 21, 1992, Brian married the love of his life, Lisa O’Rourke-Fulton. They moved to their current home in Todd County, South Dakota, in May of 1995 where they were blessed to raise their three sons on their ranch. Brian was forever thinking of others and making sure everyone else was okay. He was a selfless person. He enjoyed coaching his sons in all their sports and was very helpful in coaching many young people in the sport of rodeo. He loved teaching and coaching at the many tie-down roping and steer wrestling schools that he put on.
Brian first underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor Sept. 11, 2006 and had a second operation in January of 2009. When the cancer returned again this spring in April, Brian underwent a lengthy course of radiation and chemotherapy in North Platte, enduring the daily two and one-half hour commute each way so he could be home with his family.
Brian joined the PRCA in 1984 straight out of South Dakota State University and quickly developed into one of the era’s elite timed-event cowboys. He qualified for the 1991 National Finals Rodeo as a tie-down roper and made it to the 1996 NFR as a steer wrestler, finishing second in the world to Chad Bedell by $14,777.
Brian placed in seven of 10 rounds at the 1996 NFR, sharing the wins in Rounds 2 and 3. If not for a broken barrier penalty in Round 5, he would have won the average title and the gold buckle.
For nearly 20 years he was a dominant figure in the Badlands Circuit. In addition to the record 12 year-end all-around championships (1984, 1986-90, 1993-95, 1997-99). He also won six year-end steer wrestling titles (1986, 1988-89, 1995, 1998-99) and one in the tie-down roping (1994).
From 1986-98, Brian won 11 titles at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Bismarck, N.D., four each in the all-around and steer wrestling and three in tie-down roping. He represented the Badlands Circuit at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo 10 times (1987-91, 1994-96, 1999-2000), winning the RNCFR tie-down roping title in 1995 and the all-around a year later.
He was inducted into the Casey Tibbs Hall of Fame in Pierre, S.D., in 1999.
A knee injury early in the 2001 season forced Brian to step away from full-time competition.
Since 1995, he and his wife, Lisa, have operated the Fulton Performance Horse business at their ranch in Todd County. Their 15th annual Fulton Performance Horse Sale was completed one week before Brian’s passing.
Brian Keith Fulton passed away Friday morning, Aug. 28, 2015 at the Cherry County Hospital surrounded by family and friends. Brian will be dearly missed by his family and friends. His laugh, smile and the twinkle in his eye can never be forgotten.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents – Harley and Pearl Fulton and Art and Mary Cowan and first cousins Cam Cowan and Kimberly Cowan-Churchill.
Brian is survived by his wife, Lisa Fulton of Valentine; three sons, Jake, Jared and John Lloyd also of Valentine, his parents, Tex and Mary Ann Fulton of Miller, three brothers, Mark (Susan) Fulton, Paul (Kayleen) Fulton all of Miller, and Neil and Molly Fulton of Ft. Pierre, father-in-law, Lyle O’Rourke of Interior, S.D.; brother-in-laws: Tom (Lori) O’Rourke of Interior; Brady (Lane) O’Rourke of Quinn, S.D.; sister-in-law, Kathy (Boyce) Kennedy of Wall, S.D.; also numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral service for Brian Fulton will be held Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. at the Cherry County Fair Grounds in Valentine. Burial follows at Mount Hope Cemetery in Valentine. Rev. Andrew Utecht officiated. Sandoz Chapel of the Pines in Valentine was in charge of service arrangements.
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