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Colorado cowboy and 100-year-old saddle given international honors

Bascom has been honored as rodeo's greatest inventor of rodeo equipment, and as the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor. Photo courtesy John A. Bascom
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International honors have recently been given to the late Colorado cowboy Earl W. Bascom and his 100-year-old rodeo saddle.

Back in 1922, Bascom made rodeo history by designing and making rodeo’s first hornless bronc riding saddle.

100 years later, Bascom’s saddle design remains the standard used at rodeos and rodeo associations around the world — across the United States and Canada, to New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, South Africa and Europe.



Rodeos have even been held in Beirut, Lebanon and in Russia.

Bascom was born in Vernal, Utah, in 1906 and raised in Alberta, Canada.



Bascom has been honored as rodeo’s greatest inventor of rodeo equipment, and as the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor. Photo courtesy John A. Bascom
Bascom-RFP-121222

In the 1920s and 30s, Bascom lived and cowboyed in northwest Colorado.

He worked in Moffat County on the White Bear Ranch, the Cross Mountain Ranch, the One Eleven Ranch (also called the Burnt Forest Ranch), the Two Bar Ranch, the Baxter Ranch near Dinosaur and the Bassett Ranch of Brown’s Park, as well in Routt County on the Reeves Ranch near Hayden.

In 1927, Bascom helped Charley Mantle of the Mantle Ranch located in Hell’s Canyon, and Jack Chew’s seven sons of the Chew Ranch located on Blue Mountain, on a horse roundup.

He chased wild horses in the badlands along the Colorado/Wyoming border with Guy McNurlen, gathering McNurlen’s TZ branded horses.

COWBOY AND ARTIST

Later in life, Earl Bascom became a famous cowboy artist and sculptor turning his cowboy experiences into works of fine art.

A sculpture by Earl Bascom of his 1922 saddle. Photo courtesy John A. Bascom
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Bascom’s cousin, Frank Tenney Johnson, was also a famous cowboy artist who worked on the Lazy 7 Ranch near Hayden, back in the early 1920s.

Another Bascom cousin, the late cowboy Pat Mantle, owned the Sombrero Ranches and was a big part in establishing the Steamboat Springs Rodeo where the Pat Mantle Memorial Saddle Bronc Riding Championship is held.

As a rodeo pioneer as well as a professional rodeo champion, Bascom has been given the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame “Pioneer Award” and declared to be the “Father of Modern Rodeo.”
Bascom has been honored as rodeo’s greatest inventor of rodeo equipment, and as the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor.

Bascom has also been declared a “Sports Legend” with induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and made a peer of Canada’s Order of Sports — Canada’s highest and most prestigious sports award.

A drawing of Earl Bascom’s hornless bronc riding saddle. Courtesy John A Bascom
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Bascom and his bronc saddle have each become one of the “Legends of Rodeo.”

The Canadian ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Ponoka, Alberta, now has a permanent display showcasing Bascom’s rodeo history and his rodeo saddle.

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