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Grandpa Joe on Bill getting sprayed with water and chased in Omak, Wa
13/10/2023

Grandpa Joe on Bill getting sprayed with water and chased in Omak, Wa

31/05/2022
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11/04/2022

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A December 1966 issue of Rodeo Sports News touted the Joe Kelsey’s Tonasket, Washington rodeo stock company as “one of the oldest and most reliable stock contracting firms in the sport of rodeo.” The Joe Kelsey Company furnished bucking stock for the Ellensburg Rodeo for more than four decades, from 1947 to 1991.

Born in Butte Montana on April 16, 1910, Joe Kelsey (1910-1985) moved with his family to Washington State’s Okanogan Valley as a young boy. Kelsey made his start in rodeo as a saddle bronc rider and founding Cowboy Turtle (predecessor to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association [PRCA]) in the late 1920s and 1930s. Among other honors, he won the Ellensburg saddle bronc riding buckle in 1945; he won the Omak Stampede saddle bronc competition in ’43 and ’44, and was inducted into the Omak Stampede Hall of Fame.

Kelsey entered the stock contracting business as an employee of Moomaw and Bernard (ERHOF Inductees in 2002), and worked alongside Moomaw for over a decade.

He bought his first bucking string in 1949. “From the time on,” writes one rodeo historian, “Joe Kelsey provided top-notch bucking and roping stock for rodeos in Washington, Montana, Idaho, and western Canada,” including Pendleton, Calgary, and Ellensburg. Kelsey’s son, Joe Jr. (“Sonny”), worked in the family business from 1945 to 1991. The Kelsey Company’s tenure at the Ellensburg Rodeo ranks them alongside ERHOF Inductees Christensen Brothers, Harry Vold, and Moomaw-Bernard Stock Contractors. The Joe Kelsey Company worked the Ellensburg Rodeo from 1947 to 1958 and then, sometimes in new partnership arrangements, supplied stock from 1983-84 and, after Joe’s death, from 1985-91.

The Kelsey Stock Company produced many famous bucking horses and bulls. The mere sound of these animals’ names would, according to one rodeo historian, “numb the heart–or the britches–of any cowboy”! Among over two dozen award-winning Kelsey bucking broncs were Widow Maker, Snake, Hell to Set, Slingshot, Set to Velvet, Velvet River, Big Sky’s Velvet, P*e Wee, White Hope, Whiz Bang, John Doe, Try Me, Brown Jug, Little Rubber Doll, Devil’s Dream, Shake ‘em Down, Hot Seat, Smuggler, Pete Taggares, Sky High, Sky Rocket, and Yukon. Kelsey’s most famous bulls were Red One, 0 (“Ought”), Geronimo, Big John, Bull #17, Bull # 53, and Velvet Hour.

Kelsey’s 0 (“Ought”) a 1997 ERHOF Animal Inductee, was named after the numerical score cowboys almost always earned after he threw them! Kelsey’s bulls and broncs earned the Columbia Circuit Horse of the Year, Calgary Stampede Outstanding Horse, and National Finals Rodeo Saddle Bronc and Bull of the Year Awards.

Two legendary Kelsey animals inducted alongside “Ought” and the Kelsey Company are the bronc “Widow Maker” and bull “Red One,” both 1970s-era buckers. Widow Maker worked two decades in the arena and was chosen to be a National Finals Rodeo bronc.

Kelsey originally purchased Red One from an Oregon rodeo school and, although he was “a little scrawny,” several cowboys thought the bull had great potential. He won the 1976 National Final Rodeo’s Top Bucking Bull award, where World Champion Donny Gay became the first cowboy to ever ride him, earning a record-tying 95-point score (this record held until 1996). In a two-year period of 1977 and ‘78, Red One was ridden only twice in 158 appearances. It is a record reflective of Kelsey’s great rodeo stock contracting company.

ELLENSBURG RODEO HALL OF FAME

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18/01/2022

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News
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 12:16 PM PDT
Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame
Stock market good to Kelseys
Rodeo animals also received many laurels
Editor's note: This the fourth of six articles on the 2004 inductees to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.

By MIKE ALLEN

A December 1966 issue of Rodeo Sports News touted the Joe Kelsey's Tonasket rodeo stock company as "one of the oldest and most reliable stock contracting firms in the sport of rodeo."

The Joe Kelsey Co. furnished bucking stock for the Ellensburg Rodeo for more than four decades, from 1947 to 1991, and will be inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame at a 7 p.m. Sept. 2 banquet in Central Washington University's Samuelson Union Building.

Born in Butte, Mont., on April 16, 1910, Joe Kelsey moved with his family to Washington state's Okanogan Valley as a young boy. Kelsey made his start in rodeo as a saddle bronc rider and founding Cowboy Turtle group in the late 1920s and 1930s. The group was the predecessor of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Among other honors, Kelsey won the Ellensburg saddle bronc riding buckle in 1945; he won the Omak Stampede saddle bronc competition in 1943 and 1944, and was inducted into the Omak Stampede Hall of Fame.

Kelsey entered the stock contracting business as an employee of stock contractors Moomaw and Bernard, who were inducted in the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2002.

Kelsey worked alongside Moomaw for over a decade. He bought his first bucking string in 1949.

"From that time on," wrote rodeo historian Victoria Weyland, "Joe Kelsey provided top-notch bucking and roping stock for rodeos in Washington, Montana, Idaho, and western Canada," including Pendleton, Ore.; Calgary, Alberta; and Ellensburg.

Kelsey's son, Joe Jr., also known as Sonny, worked in the family business from 1945 to 1991.

The Kelsey Co.'s tenure at the Ellensburg Rodeo ranks them alongside Hall of Fame inductees Christensen Brothers, Harry Vold and Moomaw-Bernard Stock Contractors.

The Joe Kelsey Co. worked the Ellensburg Rodeo from 1947 to 1958 and then, in partnership arrangements, supplied stock from 1983-'84 and, after Joe's death, from 1985 through 1991.

The Kelsey Stock Co. produced many famous bucking horses and bulls. The mere sound of these animals' names would, according to Weyland, "numb the heart - or the britches - of any cowboy!"

Among more than two dozen award-winning Kelsey bucking broncs were Widow Maker, Snake, Hell to Set, Slingshot, Set to Velvet, Velvet River, Big Sky's Velvet, P*e Wee, White Hope, Whiz Bang, John Doe, Try Me, Brown Jug, Little Rubber Doll, Devil's Dream, Shake 'em Down, Hot Seat, Smuggler, Pete Taggares, Sky High, Sky Rocket, and Yukon.

Kelsey's most famous bulls were Red One, "0" or Ought, Geronimo, Big John, Bull No. 7, Bull No. 53, and Velvet Hour.

Kelsey's bull "0" was a 1997 Hall of Fame animal inductee and was named after the numerical score cowboys almost always earned after he threw them.

Kelsey's bulls and broncs earned the Columbia Circuit Horse of the Year, Calgary Stampede Outstanding Horse and National Finals Rodeo Saddle Bronc and Bull of the Year Awards.

Two legendary Kelsey animals being inducted alongside the Kelsey Co. this year are the bronc Widow Maker and bull Red One, both 1970s-era buckers.

Widow Maker worked two decades in the arena and was chosen to be a National Finals Rodeo bronc.

Kelsey originally purchased Red One from an Oregon rodeo school and, although Weyland said the bull was "a little scrawny," several cowboys thought the bull had great potential.

The bull won the 1976 National Final Rodeo's Top Bucking Bull Award, where world champion Donny Gay became the first cowboy to ever ride him, earning a record-tying 95-point score. This record held held until 1996.

In the two-year period of 1977 and 1978, Red One was ridden only twice in 158 appearances.

- Mike Allen is president of the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Association, a professor of history at University of Washington.

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18/03/2021

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KENNEWICK, Washington — Early in Butch Knowles’ rodeo career, he was the guy who entered every event, not just because he could but because he believed that’s how it was done.

Finally focusing on the bronc riding was his ticket to success. Today, his wisdom and feel for the bares and broncs is enjoyed by most fans through his work with CowboyChannel AND helps BRN through his position on our board of directors.

Photographer Unknown
(BUT a good guess is Jim Fain)

20/01/2020
Capturing other photos that we didn't want to forget as they, too, speak about an amazing history!
20/01/2020

Capturing other photos that we didn't want to forget as they, too, speak about an amazing history!

20/01/2020
20/01/2020
Bulls in pen Grandpa Joe and ?
27/12/2019

Bulls in pen Grandpa Joe and ?

19/11/2019

Joe Kelsey- Kelsey Rodeo Stock
Joe was born April 16, 1910 passed away February 10 1986.
After moving to Okanagan Valley from Montana Joe started competing in rodeo at a young age making his first trip to the pay window at 14. Competing in into the 30's and 40's. In 1949 he purchased a rodeo string, having multiple partners throughout the years, such as Moomaw, Bernard, and his son Joe Jr. (Sonny) was a great pickup team. In this time many of the rodeos contract were a simple handshake and were longtime contracts. Such as Omak, Coulee City, Moses Lake, Salinas, Lewiston, Pendleton. Many of his horses and bulls competed at highest level at the NFR. One bull in particular, Red One, had the highest scoring ride that stood for 20+ years
Ridden by Donny Gay. Many more great animals and will be posting along with pictures.

We will be posting more and more pictures our hopes are that names can be filled into pics. And feel free to add your stories and adventures as well!

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