Bull Rider Honored on National Day of the Cowboy

by John A. Bascom
(Apple Valley, California)

Earl W. Bascom is riding a bull at the Puyallup Washington Rodeo in this 1939 photograph. He won the bull riding event. Born in Utah, but raised in Alberta, Earl Bascom was a rodeo pioneer and innovator. He has been cited as the greatest innovator of rodeo equipment in history, for which he has been called the "Father of Modern Rodeo." One of his inventions has greatly benefited the bull riding event - the modern bucking chute. In 1919, he and his father John W. Bascom designed and made rodeo's first side-delivery reverse opening bucking chute, which was an improvement upon the side-delivery bucking chute that Earl and his older brothers developed in 1916 and which was an improvement upon Ray Knight's shotgun-style bucking chute of 1903. The concept and design of Bascom's bucking chute of 1919 is still in use today. Bascom later became an internationally known artist and sculptor. The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association declared Earl Bascom to be the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor. On July 26, 2014 as part of the National Day of the Cowboy celebration, Earl Bascom receives the Cowboy Keeper Award for his contributions to the preservation of the cowboy way of life. Earl Bascom is the first professional bull rider to be so honored.

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