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November 2016

Gerald Roberts won six championships at the Reno Rodeo between 1948 and 1951 – none of them in his favorite event.

“Saddle bronc riding was my favorite, but I rode all three,” said the 80-year-old from Abilene, KS. “I’d win in all three of them. I was kind of like the Ty Murray of my time. Roberts, a two-time world all-around champion and member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, did particularly well at the Reno Rodeo, winning the all-around titles in 1948, 1959 and 1951. He also won the bull riding in 1949 and 1951 and the bareback in 1951. His six championships were the second most in the history of the Reno Rodeo, trailing only Casey Tibbs, who won nine.

“It was one of my favorite rodeos to go to and I won a lot of money there,” Roberts said. “They had lots of good bucking horses back in those days. Harry Rowell was the stock contractor. He always had real good stock.”

Roberts cut back his rodeo schedule in the mod-50s for a career as a Hollywood stunt man. “I doubled for guys like Glenn Ford and Jack Lemon,” he said. “If I hadn’t fooled around with the movie, I would have won the all-around three or four more times. But I don’t regret it. It was a good experience for me.”

Roberts passed away on New Year’s Eve, 2004.

The stories for the Count Down to 100 are excerpts from “A History – The First 80 Years” by Guy Clifton.

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