COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The late John Bowman, a three-time world champion and a charter member of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association – he signed the original petition and carried card number 10 – heads the 2013 ProRodeo Hall of Fame induction class of five.
Bowman is joined by the late 1962 Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion Kenny McLean, 1990 Bareback Riding World Champion Chuck Logue, four-time PRCA Bullfighter of the Year Joe Baumgartner and the late Rex “Bud” Kerby, one of the PRCA’s top stock contractors for more than 30 years.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m. July 13 in the garden area of ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs.
Skilled in all the timed events, Bowman won his first gold buckle in steer roping in 1933, won both the steer roping and all-around world championships in 1936 with earnings of $10,800 ($180,388 in today’s dollars) and set a calf roping world record of 11.0 seconds in 1927 that stood for many years.
He won gold watches at the Calgary Stampede in 1929-31, won steer wrestling (1930) and tie-down roping (1935) titles at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Rodeo and won the tie-down roping, steer roping and all-around championships at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up in 1945.
Bowman’s career lasted 44 years, competing in tie-down roping and steer wrestling until he was past 50 and then cutting back to just team roping and steer roping. In 1958, Bowman headed for Ted Ashworth and they placed at 15 rodeos, including a win in the short round at California Rodeo Salinas. Ashworth won the team roping gold buckle and Bowman was third, just $188 back of his partner in the days when there was no separate world championship for headers and heelers.
His last check came as a team roping header in San Juan Bautista, Calif., a month before his death in August 1959, and his biggest complaint about going into the hospital for intestinal surgery was that it meant he would miss California Rodeo Salinas.
Bowman was highly regarded for his skill, competitive spirit, shrewdness, durability and rough, outspoken manner, as well as his willingness to help young cowboys succeed. He was a mentor to three world champions: steer roper Everett Shaw, steer wrestler Homer Pettigrew and team roper Ashworth, along with steer wrestler Sherman Sullins and team roper Al Hooper.
A native of Beggs, Okla., Bowman moved to Oakdale, Calif., and, with his wife Lucille, bought a ranch on the banks of the Stanislaus River in 1936. He founded the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo in 1948 and the all-around champion each year has his name inscribed on the John Bowman Memorial Trophy.
Considered by many to be the greatest Canadian rodeo cowboy of all time, McLean, an Okanagan Indian from British Columbia, had a career distinguished by its volume, versatility and singular consistency.
Apart from being PRCA Rookie of the Year in 1961 and winning the world championship a year later, McLean qualified for the National Finals Rodeo nine times (1961-65, 1967-69, 1971) and never missed winning an average check there in an era when the payouts only went six deep.
He won the average title three times (1964, 1968 and 1971), finished second once, fourth twice and sixth three times. In 77 rides at the NFR, he was bucked off only five times.
McLean also qualified for the NFR in tie-down roping in 1972 – the year he won the Canadian tie-down roping and steer wrestling championships – and twice won the Linderman Award, given annually to the cowboy who displays the highest level of excellence at both ends of the arena.
Logue, from Decatur, Texas, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 11 times as a bareback rider (1982-87, 1989-93), winning the world championship in 1990 and the NFR average title twice (1985 and 1990).
Over the years, Logue earned a reputation for riding best under pressure for the big money and never was that put more to the test than at the 1990 NFR in Las Vegas when he had a long spur ride aboard Ike Sankey’s WindSong for 75 points that broke a three-way tie for the average lead and allowed him to claim the gold buckle by more than $11,000 over Clint Corey.
“I was caught by surprise a little bit because getting into the Hall of Fame wasn’t something I really thought about a lot,” Logue said. “I used to think about it, but it’s been a while. But I can tell you that I sure am happy and it was an exciting phone call to receive (from ProRodeo Hall of Fame director Kent Sturman).
“This means a whole lot to me, and I have a lot of great friends who might never get in, so I feel blessed and I know how elite of company it is to get into the Hall. To be in there with guys like Lewis Feild and Clint Johnson and other great riders, it’s special to be considered in that same class.”
Baumgartner, of Red Bluff, Calif., once jokingly told a reporter, “I know more bulls than I do people,” and while that might not be strictly true, it may be safely said that very few men had a better working knowledge of bucking bulls and their tendencies.
The 46-year-old Baumgartner won the PRCA Bullfighter of the Year Award each of the first four years it was given (2004-07) and was selected to work the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 14 times (1992-2004 and 2006).
Kerby is a second-generation ProRodeo Hall of Fame selection, joining his father, Swanny, who was inducted as a stock contractor in 1997.
The Kerbys’ Bar T Rodeo Inc., has been a family operation for more than 50 years, based in Salt Lake City and Chester, Utah, with its stock on 2,500 acres of leased and owned land in central Utah. Since Bud Kerby’s death in October 2010, the firm has been run by his daughter, Wendie and her husband, Jeff Flitton.
The Kerby family has been a regular contributor of stock for the NFR since the early days of the sport’s “Super Bowl” (11 animals last year).
Bar T’s Alley Cat shared the 1977 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year award with Christensen Brothers’ Mr. Smith and the company has twice had the NFR Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year, Sparrow in 1990 and Fancy Pants in 2011.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of former contestants and rodeo experts. More than 150 individuals are nominated each year and selection is based on contributions to the sport of professional rodeo in any one of seven categories: contestant, stock contractor, contract personnel, rodeo committees, livestock, media and notables/lifetime achievement.
Including this year’s inductees, 231 people, 27 animals and 18 rodeo committees have been selected for enshrinement in Colorado Springs since the Hall opened in 1979.