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Earl Basom: Master Sculptor and The Cowboy of Cowboy Artists

Abbreviated Biography

Master Sculptor, Hall of Fame Cowboy



Earl W. Bascom in workshop

Earl Bascom was born in a log cabin in Utah in 1906 and raised on a ranch in Canada, son of a Deputy Sheriff and grandson of a Mormon pioneer, cousin to artists Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. He had a wide range of western experience as a saddlemaker, professional bronc buster, cowpuncher, trail driver, blacksmith, freighter, stagecoach driver, miner, trapper, wolf hunter, wild horse chaser, rodeo champion, cattle rancher, dude wrangler and Hollywood movie actor with Roy Rogers.

A talented all-around rodeo champion inducted into four Halls of Fame, Earl Bascom rodeod for twenty-five years from 1916 to 1940, gaining international acclaim, winning second place in the North American Championship, setting a new world record, and placing third in the Championship of the World. During his rodeo career, Earl competed in the events of bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding, steer riding, steer wrestling, steer decorating, wild cow milking, wild horse racing, and worked as rodeo producer and stock contrator, rodeo announcer, pick-up man, hazer, rodeo clown and bullfighter.

Earl is known in rodeo history as the inventor and maker of the first hornless rodeo saddle in 1922 and the first one-handed bareback rigging in 1924, both of which are now used world-wide in all professional rodeos. Earl and his brothers, known as the "Bronc Bustin' Bascom Boys" were rodeo pioneers who designed and constructed history's first side-delivery rodeo chute in 1916, produced Mississippi's first rodeo in 1935, which was history's first outdoor, night rodeo held under electric lights.

An internationally known artist and sculptor, he was the first cowboy elected a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of Arts, in London, England. Listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in Western Writers of America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in California, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World, he was declared Rodeo's First Collegiate Cowboy, being the first man to finance his way through college, starting in 1933, solely by riding in rodeos. (See Accolades.)

Roy Rogers, TV and movie star, said of Earl in 1968, "Earl Bascom is a walking history book. His knowledge of the Old West was acquired the old-fashioned way - he was born and raised in it."

Turk Greenough, rodeo champion, Roy Rogers, TV and movie star, and Earl W. Bascom

In life he followed faithfully his own philosophy, "If you want to be a champion bullrider, you have to ride the toughest bull." Earl Bascom rode into that big arena in the sky, a champion, on August 28, 1995.


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