In 1924, Earl Bascom invented and manufactured the rodeo's first one-hand bareback rigging, which is still in use at rodeos around the world.
EARL W. BASCOM
Cowboy of Cowboy Artists
"The life of a cowboy and the West, I know," stated Earl Bascom
In 1906, Earl Bascom was born in a log cabin on the 101 Ranch in Utah and raised on a ranch in Canada. He was the son of a deputy sheriff and grandson of Mormon pioneers. Earl Bascom had a wide range of western experience as a professional bronc buster, cowpuncher, trail driver, blacksmith, freighter, stagecoach driver, miner, trapper, wolf hunter, wild horse chaser, rodeo champion, cattle rancher and dude wrangler. Bascom was also a Hollywood movie actor alongside Roy Rogers. Earl Bascom was the last living link to the Old West in the entire art world.
Earl Bascom cowboyed and worked on some of the largest horse and cattle ranches in the United States and Canada. He broke and trained hundreds of horses, chasing wild horses in the badlands of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Canada. He worked on cattle drives out of the Rockies and trailed horses over the Teton Mountains. Bascom was acquainted with lawmen and outlaws, Indians and Indian fighters, gunslingers, squatters and homesteaders.
A Hall of Fame cowboy, Earl Bascom rodeoed for twenty-five years, 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, Bascom competed in events of bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, steer riding, steer wrestling, steer decorating, wild cow milking, and wild horse racing. He worked as a rodeo producer, stock contractor, rodeo announcer, pickup man, hazer, rodeo clown and bullfighter.
Earl Bascom is known in rodeo history as the inventor, designer and maker of the first hornless bronc saddle (1922) and the first one-hand bareback rigging (1924), both of which are now used world-wide at all professional rodeos. In 1926, Earl designed and made rodeo's first high-cut riding chaps which are in standard use today.
Known as the "Bronc-Bustin' Bascom Boys", Earl and his brothers Raymond, Melvin and Weldon were rodeo pioneers being involved in just about every aspect of the sport in its formative years. In 1916, at their ranch arena in Welling, Alberta, the Bascom boys designed and built history's first side-delivery rodeo chute. In 1919, Earl and his father, John W. Bascom designed and built rodeo's first reverse opening rodeo chute. In 1935, Earl and Weldon produced Columbia, Mississippi's first rodeo which is now declared to be the first night rodeo held outdoors under electric lights. In 1936, Earl Bascom designed and constructed Mississippi's first permanent rodeo arena.
After his award-winning rodeo career, Earl Bascom became an internationally-known western artist and sculptor. He was the first cowboy elected a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of Arts of London, England, and the oldest cowboy ever elected a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association. Earl Bascom possessed artistic talents inherited from the family bloodlines, being a cousin to western artist Charles M. Russell (through Charles's mother, Mary Elizabeth Mead) and a cousin to master sculptor Frederic S. Remington (through Frederic's mother, Clarissa Bascom Sackrider). Earl Bascom was the last remaining cowboy artist who lived when both Remington and Russell were alive and producing master art work.
Earl Bascom rodeoed from 1916 to 1940 and had memberships in the early-day Cowboys' Turtle Association, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association and the National Police Rodeo Association.
He was declared "Rodeo's First Collegiate Cowboy," being the first man to finance his way through college, starting in 1933 and graduating in 1940.
For his talents and achievements, Earl Bascom was 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.
In life Earl Bascom followed faithfully his own philosophy - "If you want to be a champion bull rider, you have to ride the toughest bull."
Earl Bascom rode into that big arena in the sky - a champion - on August 28, 1995. He was the last of a rare breed - the Cowboy of Cowboy Artists.