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July 2018

Harry Frost
Harry Frost 

Not long before the 1963 Reno Rodeo, members of the rodeo association board fretted about whether to a hold a rodeo at all. The main grandstand at the rodeo arena had burned down not long after the 1962 rodeo and couldn’t be rebuilt in time for the 1963 show. Maybe it would be best, some said if no rodeo was held.

That’s when Harry Frost spoke up.

There would be a rodeo, by God, if he had to put it on all by himself. The board immediately had a change of heart. The rodeo, complete with temporary bleachers, went on as scheduled. Harry Frost was always a man of his word.

Though small in stature, Frost was a giant in northern Nevada sports for decades.

It started when he was a 150-pound halfback for the University of Nevada in the mid-20s. Frost played for the legendary coach Lawrence T. “Buck” Shaw, the former Notre Dame star, who went on to be the first coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Frost made enough of a name for himself to be elected to the University of Nevada Athletic Hall of Fame.

His involvement with the Reno Rodeo started in 1934 and continued until his death at the age of 88 in1992.

“He was a very dedicated man,” his longtime friend Harry Parker told the Reno Gazette-Journal after Frost’s passing. “He would help anyone who needed him. Harry was one of the finest I knew.”

Frost and his wife, Ethel, owned a ranch off Huffaker Lane in southwest Reno, and they were avid supporters of most civic causes.

Frost’s daughter Odile was the Reno Rodeo queen in 1950.

“Who’d want to live anywhere but in Nevada where you can meet nice people like Harry and Ethel Frost,” Parker told the Reno Evening Gazette for a feature article about Frost.

An avid horseman, Frost was the first man elected to the Nevada Horseman’s Hall of Fame. He was on the Reno Rodeo Board of Directors for many years and served as the association president in 1963.

The 1992 headline in the Reno Gazette-Journal reporting his death said “Harry Frost, rodeo leader, dies at 88.”

A better description couldn’t have been written.

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

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