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Wild West Western Facts

Casey Tibbs

Casey Tibbs

Born in South Dakota on March 5, 1929, Casey Tibbs is the most famous "bronco rider" of all times, and probably did more that anyone to bring attention and status to Rodeo riding.

Outside the Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, there is a larger than life bronze statue called "The Champion",  a cowboy riding a bucking bronc, and according to sculptor Edd Hayes, the cowboy depicted is Casey Tibbs on "Necktie".  No one has done more to establish Bronc riding and Rodeo as high level entertainment as did Casey Tibbs.

He won championships six times in saddle bronc riding, plus two all-around Cowboy Championships and one Bareback riding Championship. As a rider he had style and the authority that inspired audiences, with his trademark "Purple Shirt" (which matched his "purple" Cadillac) and his riding style that was made up of balance and getting into the rhythm of the horse, instead of depending on pure strength to keep him on, as most riders did.

Tibbs was a colorful personality in and out of Rodeo, he was featured in a LIFE magazine cover story in 1951, and in 1950's he produced Rodeos in Japan, and in 1958 performed at the World's Fair in Brussels. In 1964 he retired from Rodeo to concentrate on TV and movie roles but came back briefly in 1969. In 1967 he produced the documentary file "Born to Buck" and was a pioneer in bucking horse breeding programs.

Outside of Rodeo, Tibbs relished the high life and indulged his taste for pretty women and good whiskey, and spent his money as fast as he made it. He died in Ramona California on January 28, 1990. Edd Hayes the sculptor of the "Champion" said that inside the bronze, where not one can see, he inscribed a heart with the words..."Ride Cowboy, Ride".  

Country singer Charlie Daniels called Tibbs "As western as the sunset, and cowboy to the core".

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