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The spirit of a local rodeo legend, turned movie star, still felt at hometown rodeo

Lindsey Salestrom Lincoln, Neb.

A legendary rodeo cowboy turned movie star, director and producer was born in Tekamah, Neb., during the summer of 1892 and christened the name Edmund Richard Gibson. During his early childhood years in northeast Nebraska he developed a love of horses as he learned to ride and work around them. While still in his youth, Gibson’s family moved to California where Edmund worked for Owl Drug Co., delivering drugs and packages. It was during his employment with Owl Drug Co. that Gibson was the nickname “Hoot Owl” by a coworker, in reference to the company name. Later the name got shortened to “Hoot” and stuck.

During his teenage years Hoot worked for Dick Stanley’s Congress of Rough Riders as a horse wrangler and caught the attention of film director Francis Brogg. Brogg contracted Hoot to do trick riding stunts for actors in the westerns he was producing. It was during this time that Gibson was also creating a name for himself competing in rodeos. In 1912 he won the all-around title at the Pendleton Roundup and the Steer Roping World Championship at the Calgary Stampede.

Gibson continued making a living by competing in rodeos during the summer and filling in as a stunt rider during the winter. However, he took a break from the spotlight to serve in the Army’s Tank Corps during World War I. After his stint in the army, Hoot got his big career break in 1921 with the film, Action, directed by John Ford, which skyrocketed him to stardom.

A good run of 20 years kept Hoot Gibson a major film attraction in the western film box office. He became a highly paid performer, making as much as $14,500 a week, after successfully making the transition from silent movies to “talkies.” Gibson even appeared in his own wildly popular comic books, before the singing cowboy movement came into the mainstream arena. Gibson rarely carried a gun in his films, but when he did, he’d often carry it in his belt or boot rather than a holster, which became a trademark for him. In 1979, Hoot was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Although Gibson passed away 17 days after his 70th birthday in 1962, his legacy lives on in his small hometown of Tekamah, Neb.

A legendary rodeo cowboy turned movie star, director and producer was born in Tekamah, Neb., during the summer of 1892 and christened the name Edmund Richard Gibson. During his early childhood years in northeast Nebraska he developed a love of horses as he learned to ride and work around them. While still in his youth, Gibson’s family moved to California where Edmund worked for Owl Drug Co., delivering drugs and packages. It was during his employment with Owl Drug Co. that Gibson was the nickname “Hoot Owl” by a coworker, in reference to the company name. Later the name got shortened to “Hoot” and stuck.

During his teenage years Hoot worked for Dick Stanley’s Congress of Rough Riders as a horse wrangler and caught the attention of film director Francis Brogg. Brogg contracted Hoot to do trick riding stunts for actors in the westerns he was producing. It was during this time that Gibson was also creating a name for himself competing in rodeos. In 1912 he won the all-around title at the Pendleton Roundup and the Steer Roping World Championship at the Calgary Stampede.

Gibson continued making a living by competing in rodeos during the summer and filling in as a stunt rider during the winter. However, he took a break from the spotlight to serve in the Army’s Tank Corps during World War I. After his stint in the army, Hoot got his big career break in 1921 with the film, Action, directed by John Ford, which skyrocketed him to stardom.

A good run of 20 years kept Hoot Gibson a major film attraction in the western film box office. He became a highly paid performer, making as much as $14,500 a week, after successfully making the transition from silent movies to “talkies.” Gibson even appeared in his own wildly popular comic books, before the singing cowboy movement came into the mainstream arena. Gibson rarely carried a gun in his films, but when he did, he’d often carry it in his belt or boot rather than a holster, which became a trademark for him. In 1979, Hoot was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Although Gibson passed away 17 days after his 70th birthday in 1962, his legacy lives on in his small hometown of Tekamah, Neb.


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