Warren L. Melvin
Warren L. Melvin was born Aug. 24, 1931 to Dan and Bertha Alta (Sanders) Melvin in the log house on the farm near Rousseau, SD. He was delivered by his older sister Madaline.
He was the youngest of 12 children – 10 sisters and two brothers. He grew up on the Melvin Ranch near Canning, SD, breaking horses at a very young age. Many spoiled horses were brought to him by Brigg McDonald, Pete Metsinger and others. He attended grade school at Canning. He graduated eighth grade as a Canning Coyote in 1946. He graduated from Blunt High School in 1950 with his sister Mary who was 10 years older than he, as he had inspired her to return to high school and graduate. Warren’s encouragement paid off as Mary went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and had a distinguished teaching career.
At the age of 14, Warren was riding bareback horses with a loose rope in Art Cowan’s rodeo arena south of Highmore, SD. He rode saddle bronc and Brahman bulls, as well as competed in the steer wrestling event. When a rodeo arena had been built at Blunt, needing money for his car payment, he rode 14 head of horses for mount money. One of the horses jumped into the pop stand and another into the catch pen.
Warren married the love of his life, on Dec. 10, 1951 in Rapid City, SD.
To this union four children were born. Warren and Donna met on the rodeo circuit and continued to be involved in the sport of rodeo throughout their lives. They lived on the ranch south of Holabird, SD, where they engaged in raising cattle and fine Quarter Horses. Warren and Donna were known for the M4 Quarter Horses they raised, which are still well-known in the rodeo and ranching industry. They were some of the first to import exotic cattle breeds to South Dakota and at one time exported cattle to Seoul, Korea, loading them on 747 airplanes.
Warren and Donna helped in the organization of the South Dakota Rodeo Association in 1955. Warren won year-end titles in bull riding in 1956 and 1957. He was the only cowboy to ride “Baldy,” Korkow Rodeo’s famous bull, which he accomplished at Clear Lake, SD. It was thought and voiced by his fellow contestants that his talents were comparable to the great “Freckles Brown.” Warren also traveled with a group of cowboys to Houston, TX, where they competed in the first rodeo held at the Astrodome. Warren and Donna Melvin Family were inducted into the Casey Tibbs Foundation in 2002 as Ranch Cowboy Family.
Warren and his family raised and trained race horses, both Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds, throughout the U.S. and Canada. Warren was the leading Quarter Horse Trainer for the South Dakota Quarter Horse Racing Association. He trained horses for many friends and family. Warren gave many a young jockey their start in riding races.
Warren married Frances (Fran) McCaskey on April 14, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV.
He was 79-years-old when he lost the battle against cancer on Sept. 30, 2010 at Rapid City, SD. His children and grandchildren provided him with much pleasure and happiness. Warren was so proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His family was the light of his life.
He is survived by his second wife, Frances McCaskey of Box Elder, SD; two sons: Monte (Teresa) Melvin, Hermosa, SD; Marty (Judy) Melvin, Paradise TX; and one daughter: Michel Melvin (Gilbert) Ecoffey, Wounded Knee, SD; four sisters: Effie Hunsley, Dorthy Hewlett, Donna Betsinger all of Pierre, SD and Joyce Norman of Kennewick, WA, 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren.
Warren was preceded in death by his wife, Donna, on Sept. 30, 2007; infant daughter Pamela Melvin; father and mother, Dan and Bertha Melvin; brothers, Willie and Daniel; sisters, Zora, Madaline, Jessie, Joan and Mary.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Oct. 6th at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Stephan, SD, at 1 p.m.
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