Back in the mid-1900s, the rodeo was the ultimate sport of choice amongst the people of the wild west. Being a cowboy was the baddest and coolest thing one could possibly be in the 1900s. It was the ultimate American dream. Just like every sport has 1 or 2 players that define the sport, Casey Tibbs was to Rodeo what today Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are to soccer.
Born on 5th March 1929 in Stanley County in the state of South Dakota, Casey Tibbs had an unaccountable love for horses since a very young age. So much so, he was already riding horses in his early teens. Tibbs was only 14 years old when he started participating in local rodeos, but it wasn’t until he was around 16 years of age when he started competing in rodeos all over the United States. Starting at such a young age was a testament to his unaccountable love for horses and an unfathomable drive to become an iconic rodeo professional that he would become in later years. At just 19 years of age he won the national bronc riding crown making him the youngest individual to do so. By this time, he was already a superstar and was appearing in television shows. He was a favorite amongst the fans, particularly because of his intimidating personality and unique riding style that wasn’t at all aggressive but purely aesthetic and rhythmic. Before retiring in 1969, Casey Tibbs had won a total of 6 saddle bronc titles, 2 all-around cowboy titles and 1 bareback riding title.
Casey Tibbs’ retirement did not mean the end of his career, it meant the beginning of a new one in the television and movie industry. Tibbs was a remarkable cowboy but he was also a man of vision who wanted his sport to be famous and enjoyed by people across the world. So, he dedicated himself to promoting rodeos by starring in movies such as Wild Heritage and Breakheart Pass. He was awarded a golden boot in 1989 for his astounding participation in the film industry. In the early 1970s, Tibbs introduced Rodeo to the people of Japan where it was well perceived and he ended up performing a staggering 160 times. His vision of expanding rodeo wasn’t just bound to Japan, Tibbs is credited with the idea of hosting a world-class tournament which would bring rodeo the world attention it deserved.
And his idea paid off, rodeo is world-famous and several different tournaments are held around the year, allowing pros and amateurs to take part. It is fair to say that if it weren’t for Casey Tibbs and his broad vision for the rodeo, it would definitely not have been the way it is today. Before passing away in 1990, Casey Tibbs was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame and will always be remembered as the finest rodeo visionary.