Norwegian-Canadian cowboy honored

Earl Bascom named one of Canada’s greatest athletes

Earl Bascom

Photo: John A. Bascom
Earl Bascom with one of his bronzes, “Old Time Bronc Rider.”

John A. Bascom
Sandy, Utah

The late rodeo champion Earl Bascom was a posthumous recipient of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s “Pioneer Award” and honored for his contributions to the sport of rodeo.

Bascom is known around the rodeo world as the “father of modern rodeo” for his rodeo equipment inventions, which helped rodeo become an international sport.
Most recently, Earl Bascom has been named by the Toronto Star newspaper as one of Canada’s greatest athletes.

The newspaper published the names of 150 athletes from Canada’s history to celebrate that nation’s 150th birthday. In 1867, a confederation of 13 North American provinces and territories merged into one nation.

Listed among great Canadian athletes, such as hockey player Wayne Gretsky and basketball player Steve Nash, Earl Bascom is the only rodeo cowboy honored on that prestigious roster.

Also in conjunction with the nation’s 150th year celebration, North America’s premier sports museum, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, opened a new display that includes some of Earl Bascom’s cowboy gear and pieces of his cowboy art. The exhibit is called “The Horse in Sports.” Earl Bascom was the first rodeo champion inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Bascom rodeoed from 1916 to 1940 and later became a famous cowboy artist and sculptor.

Bascom was born in the state of Utah but raised in southern Alberta, Canada. His maternal grandmother was born and raised in Oslo. She immigrated to the United States, crossing the prairies and the Rocky Mountains in a covered wagon, settling in Utah in 1865.
Earl Bascom passed away at his California ranch in 1995 at the age of 89 but left a name of international recognition.

This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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