Monday, September 21, 2009

Bronc Riding the Old West Way

The following article was excerpted from

Bronc Riding the Old West WayElko, Nevada, holds a special event that recreates the old-timer's way of topping off the rough string. The Silver State Stampede Association in Elko, Nevada, sponsors a special event in conjunction with its annual PRCA rodeo held in July. This event is called Old West World Championship Bronc Riding. Beginning in 2003, twenty top bronc riders came from several western states, out of remote ranches and cows camps with names such as, State Line Camp, Kitchen Meadows, White Horse Ranch, and Devil’s Corral to ride the “bad ones”. These twenty bronc riders each put up a $400 entrance fee, with no stock charge, for a chance to ride for $8,000 in prize money and a World’s Championship buckle.
Saddle bronc riding is the classic event in professional rodeo. This Old West version of the event takes bronc riding back to its origins when the big outfits sent their top “bronco men” to town to compete against each other. At the turn of the twentieth century, there were hundreds of cowboys working on cow outfits in the Elko area. It was a practice for neighboring cowboys to get together and ride the “rough string” to see who was the best.
The Silver State Stampede is the oldest rodeo in Nevada. The tradition of an annual rodeo in Elko started in 1913, sponsored by G.S. Garcia, world famous bit, spur, and saddle maker. Garcia, who owned the G.S, Garcia Harness and Saddle Shop in Elko at that time, figured the rodeo would get northern Nevada cowboys gathered for a good time, and it would provide entertainment and income for the townspeople.
Bronc riding, at that time, had a minimum of rules. Of course, the cowboy who made the wildest and showiest ride usually took home the money. The hands in the region would plan all year to attend this rodeo and try their luck. There have been many saddle bronc riders who came out of Great Basin high desert country to go on to the big time in the professional rodeo circuit. Names like Marvel, Wines, Slagowski, Gardner, and others are well known throughout the West in bronc riding circles.
Fifty years ago, the Prunty Brothers trailed their native bucking stock over 100 miles from the Diamond A Desert, which straddles the Nevada-Idaho border near Charleston, Nevada, to put on the Silver State Stampede. Continuing this tradition, the bucking stock for the Old West Bronc Riding this year was furnished by Wally Blossom from Owyhee, Nevada. The broncs used were a mixture of big strong horses that had bucked before and some young horses that had only been bucked out of a chute once or twice before.

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