Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

CROSBY, BOB (1897-1947)

Among the best and most colorful steer ropers and all-around hands in early rodeo, Bob Crosby was born on February 27, 1897, in Midland, Texas. Raised around Kenna, New Mexico, he developed into a seasoned cowhand prior to becoming a rodeo contestant in 1923 at New York's Yankee Stadium.

Known as "Wild Horse Bob" on the circuit, Crosby always competed aggressively. In 1925, 1927, and again in 1928 he captured the combined all-around titles at both Pendleton and Cheyenne, thus retiring the coveted Roosevelt Trophy. This remarkable feat–amassing the most cumulative points among the broncriding, steer-roping, bulldogging, and wild horse-racing events–amounted to three world championships in the era before official titles were declared.

Bob Crosby specialized in the roping events. He won the calf-roping title at Madison Square Garden three times and the steer-roping title twice at Cheyenne and four times at Pendleton. In the late 1930s and 1940s, while operating his Cross B Ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, Cosby took part in a series of celebrated, matched steer ropings against Carl Arnold and the Weir brothers. He is remembered for his lucky black hat, his string of great roping horses, and his tenacity in competing and winning even with serious injuries.

Once declared the "King of the Cowboys" by Life magazine, Wild Horse Bob Crosby died in a Jeep accident near his New Mexico ranch on October 20, 1947. He was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1966.

Richard C. Rattenbury National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Bob Crosby, Biographical File, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Archives, Oklahoma City.

Porter, Willard H. Who's Who in Rodeo. Oklahoma City: Powder River Book Company, 1982.

Westermeier, Clifford P. Man, Beast, Dust: The Story of Rodeo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.

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