Cowboys in Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
In a recent rare event, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada inducted three champion cowboys at the same time, two deceased and one living.
The three Alberta cowboys were Ray Knight, Earl Bascom and Tom Glass.
The late Ray Knight was inducted as a rodeo pioneer. He was born in Payson, Utah in 1872. He was involved in his father’s ranching and mining operations in Utah before moving to Alberta, Canada to run his own million acre ranch.
In 1901, the town of Raymond was built on part of Knight’s ranchland. In 1902, Ray Knight produced the first rodeo in the area – the Raymond Stampede – and then the first Canadian “professional” rodeo with fees, rules and prize money in 1903.
He coined the rodeo term of “stampede” which term is used for rodeos in Canada, the United States and Australia.
He designed and built the first known bronc riding rodeo chute as a two-gated shotgun-style chute in 1903.
He was the world’s richest and largest rodeo producer and stock contractor with some 2,000 head of horses in his rodeo string. He was the rodeo director overseeing all the rodeo stock at the first Calgary Stampede in 1912.
He introduced the rodeo events of calf roping, chariot racing and roman racing to Canada.
In partnership with rancher Addison Day, he formed the Knight and Day Stampede Company and built the world’s largest rodeo arena with seating for 20,000 people in Shelby, Montana in 1923.
Knight was a champion calf roper, winning the World Championship at the Calgary Stampede in 1924 and 1926.
He was also a champion steer roper and chariot racer.
He was the only rodeo champion in the world that had a town, a school, a college, a hospital and a rodeo as well as a large ranching operation named after him.
Ray Knight has been called the “Father of Canadian Stampedes” and the “Father of Professional Rodeo.”
The late rodeo champion Earl Bascom, who was also inducted as a rodeo pioneer, was born in Utah in 1906 but raised in Alberta, Canada, before settling in California.
Bascom started rodeoing in 1916 and followed the rodeo circuit internationally where he won several all-around championships and set a world record time.
As a rodeo pioneer, Bascom is credited in rodeo history for innovations that made major changes in the sport.
The modern bucking chute (1919), the hornless bronc saddle (1922), the one handed bareback rigging (1924) and the modern rodeo riding chaps (1926) are among his inventions.
These innovations earned Bascom the titles of “Father of Modern Rodeo” and “Father of Rodeo Bareback Riding.”
Earl’s youngest son John of Apple Valley, California represented the Bascom family at the induction ceremony in Canada.
The third inductee, Tom Glass of Okotoks, Alberta is part of the Glass family chuckwagon racing multi-generational dynasty. He has won more than 40 major awards and championships in his 35 year racing career, among them the North American Chuckwagon Championship in 1980, 1981 and 1988.
Citations were also given to each of the honorees by the Honorable Alison Redford – Premier of the Province of Alberta, Dr. Richard Starke – Minister of Tourism, and Mayor Morris Flewwelling of the host city of Red Deer.
The televised ceremony was attended by nearly 1,000 dignitaries, former honorees and family.
This was the first time three champion cowboys were ever inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame at the same time.
Both Bascom and Glass worked in Hollywood western movies during their careers.