ProRodeo Hall of Famer Marty Wood passes away
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – ProRodeo Hall of Fame saddle bronc rider Marty Wood passed away Aug. 10. He was 86.
Wood was a three-time PRCA saddle bronc riding world champion – 1958, 1964 and 1966, and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1991.
Wood finished second in the world standings four times – 1957, 1962-63 and 1967, and was no lower than fifth in the world standings from 1957-67. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 15 times which is tied for fifth most all-time in saddle bronc riding.
Wood’s friend Arland Calvert, a ProRodeo Sports News writer, described Wood as the “dark, handsome Canadian,” as a “dedicated loner” who “picks his own company.”
Calvert also described Wood’s famed bronc riding technique: “Marty’s slashing style –nobody reaches out front (in spurring) any farther or uses the full spread with more vigor – has been compared to the late Pete Knight by many old-timers.” Knight was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.
Wood won titles in Cheyenne (Wyo.), Madison Square Garden in New York City, Boston Garden, Fort Worth, Texas, Houston, Salinas (Calif.) and Oklahoma City to name a few.
Wood won Canadian saddle bronc riding championships in 1954-55 and 1963 and was the Calgary Stampede champion in 1954, ‘57, ‘61, 1964-65. He was enshrined into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1994. He’s also a member of the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006) and the Rodeo Hall of Fame of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (2008) in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Wood trained horses and became a pioneer in organizing, marketing, and teaching “bronc riding school.” Wood ran his school in partnership with late ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Harry Vold on Vold’s famed Avondale, Colo., ranch. According to a 1971 Western Horseman article, Marty’s teaching style included everything “but riding side saddle” with his students.
Wood was born June 4, 1933, in Carstairs, Alberta, Canada, the son of Harry and Dorothy Wood. Wood’s kinship with horses began at an early age. His father had a pony for him when Wood was 3, and Harry later operated a riding academy and traded horses where Marty schooled colts and green jumpers for his dad.
In 1951, Wood rode his first contest horse at Olds, Alberta. Occasionally riding bareback horses and bulls, Wood soon dropped these events and specialized in saddle bronc riding. His first venture into the United States was Omaha, Neb., in 1953 when the 20-year-old unknown made six near-perfect rides.
Wood was known for his colorful style, which also included incredible balance and ability to anticipate the horses’ moves.
Wood is survived by his son, Chip and Chip’s wife Shierine; Wood’s partner of 35 years, Kelly McCormmach, and Kelly’s family, including Kara and Luke Simpson, Cooper Simpson, Coltyn Simpson and Chip’s daughter, Devan. A funeral service will be held at a later date.