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January 2018

Clowns at the 1953 rodeo taunt a large brahma bull.
Clowns at the 1953 rodeo taunt a large brahma bull. 

In 1951, Gerald Roberts, the Strong City, Kansas, cowboy was back and in full glory at the Reno Rodeo. Roberts won the bareback and bull-riding competition on his way to the all-around championship for the third time. He was presented with a $500 hand crafted saddle presented by Larry and Louise Root of Reno. Larry Finley won the average in the saddle bronc, although like the year before, a special buck off was held between the top five riders for a $500. The winner was Casey Tibbs, winning his first title in Reno.

One of the biggest stars of the 1952 rodeo was a rampaging brahma bull. The Nevada State Journal reported it this way: “There was plenty of excitement at the Reno Rodeo grounds yesterday, and a crowd that comfortably saw two brahma bulls leap the fence, one to run into a nearby pen, the other to take off down Alameda Avenue with cowboys and policemen on motorcycles in close pursuit, but not too close for safety. The belligerent Brahma was finally cornered well down

Alameda Avenue (now Wells Avenue) and traffic on the street was halted while he was marched home, tightly roped, between two cowboys.”

Casey Tibbs won the championship saddle bronc riding and finished second in bareback to be named the all-around champion.

In 1953 a new set of grandstands, with seating for 5,000, was erected in time for the show, once again billed as “the world’s richest rodeo.” Link Piazzo w the rodeo director in charge of ushers and chairs. Bill Mayo was in charge of parking, and Roy was the parade chairman and marshal. Ray Peterson was still the president of the rodeo association. The city was packed with visitors once again and the chamber of commerce put a call out to private citizens to rent rooms in their homes. More than 27,000 people attended the three days of rodeo action.

Casey Tibbs was the star of the show. He won the bull riding, tied for first in the saddle bronc and was named the all-around champion for the second consecutive year. Bud Linderman won the bareback, Buck Abbot the calf roping and C.T. Jones the steer wrestling. Bige and Bud Duncan of Lovelock won the team roping. Lindsey Rogers was the Nevada saddle bronc champion.

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

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