Before Boyd Rice became the hottest trainer in the performance-horse world, he was a hardworking horseman in the Texas Panhandle.
Story by Kyle Partain
Photograph by Sharon Fibelkorn
Despite the fact she’s 22 years old, Sunset still runs faster than rider Tom Wilson can fire his gun in mounted-shooting competitions. The two have never set the mounted-shooting world on fire, but that hasn’t stopped them from having fun in the sport.
There were 29 horses and riders who took part in the first Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association World Championships in 1994. Tycoons Sunset, was just 7 years old at the time and was competing in her first competitive event.
Fifteen years later, Sunset has reached a ripe old age of 22, and is still carrying Tom Wilson into the arena at mounted shooting matches along the West Coast. Wilson is 69, so the pair would definitely qualify as the oldest horse-rider tandem at just about any match they attend. Make no mistake; Tom and Sunset haven’t exactly set the mounted-shooting world on fire with their accomplishments. The pair is mostly in it to have a good time and hang out with old friends.
Although creating a rodeo organization from scratch is no easy task, the National High School Rodeo Association – organizers of the new Wrangler Division for junior-high school students – has been there before. Texas educator Claude Mullins developed the NHSRA in the late 1940s as a way to convince ranch kids in his state to stay in school and earn their diplomas.
Growing up in a saddle-bronc-riding family and being in love with the event since I was about 10 weeks old, it’s no surprise that most of my heroes were bronc riders. Among them were my father, Tom Tescher, my uncle Jim Tescher, Alvin Nelson and Kansas-raised Bobby Berger.
Phil Stadtler might be in his mid-80s, but at 6 feet, 2 inches, he still looks like he could buck a few bales of alfalfa with little trouble. Each of his hands is as broad as an iron skillet. One eye is sky-blue, the other blind, cloudy from a long-ago ranching accident.
Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the April 1960 issue of Western Horseman.
The other day I took a moment to sit back and relax. Flipping through the TV channels, I spotted a rodeo. All kinds of cowboys in their fancy Stetsons and purple chaps were strutting their stuff. They were riding bad horses and making it look easy. It got me thinking about how long these boys could hold up in a real rodeo?
One of the unique aspects of the Black Hills Roundup is the generations of family members who’ve competed in the rodeo and served on its committees. Fay Kennedy, Belle Fourche, South Dakota, has been involved with the event for more than 60 years and has researched and reported its history for all to enjoy.