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Rodeo Legends, Volume 2 by Karl Partain


Book Review by Leigh Ballard

The second volume of Rodeo Legends, published by Western Horseman Magazine, is a collection of short biographies, action photographs, and a celebration of the accomplishments of 20 extraordinary rodeo athletes. The legendary cowboys and cowgirls are (or were) rock stars of the National Finals Rodeo and have many multiple World Championship titles to prove it. The collection traces these champions’ careers, their history with other fierce competitors, and sometimes, even the good horses that made their championships possible. As top team roper Allen Bach said, “It’s nearly impossible to make a living without the right horse.” At a non-cowboy height of 6’4”, Bach knew what he was talking about!

The contents include many champions that Rodeo Legends Volume One just wasn’t big enough to include. Guy Allen, who dominated Steer Roping with 18 World Championship titles in that event, holds an unprecedented record of winning 11 of those in consecutive years from 1991-2001. “His record of 18 World titles in a single event is one that might never be broken,” says his longtime friend Tee Woolman. Guy is one of only a handful of steer ropers to be inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Museum of the American Cowboy.

Young Lane Frost was a beloved bull rider and talented world champion whose life was tragically cut short in a rodeo accident at the age of 26. Barely out of high school, Frost was able to ride almost any bull, and he began qualifying for the NFR very early in his career. Soon he was finishing in the top three in the world standings, and after only four years in the NFR, he won his only world title. Two years later he was killed by a bull during the final round of Cheyenne Frontier Days.  He left behind a wife and young child and hundreds of fans. The movie 8 seconds was made about him, starring Luke Perry portraying Lane.

One of the cowgirls included in this volume is the barrel racing legend Martha Josey. Her long and storied career is traced from her beginnings in barrel racing after high school, her marriage to R.E. Josey, her professional rodeo beginnings, and her first NFR qualifying at age 30. Martha has suffered two very serious accidents during her career, but she has not been deterred. She continued to compete until only recently.  She has taught dozens of barrel racing clinics at her ranch, and guided many young barrel racers into winning careers. She also is the oldest world champion barrel racer. She and R.E. have bred, raised, trained and sold many top barrel horses. Martha Josey is a barrel racing icon, and her story is long and interesting.

This book would appeal to rodeo fans who are interested in the histories of the “household names” in the sport of rodeo. Although some of the “legends” are gone, many are only recently retired and are still in the modern rodeo world in one capacity or the other, easily recognizable to young and old fans alike.

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