New Large Bronze Statue to Grace the Rodeo Center in 2018!
The large bronze of 6-time World Champion Bronc Rider Casey Tibbs on The Old Gray Mare will be placed in 2018. This addition will accompany the current bronze statue of 5-time Bronc Rider Champion Billy Etbauer which was placed in 2011. A large statue of 4-time World Champion Clint Johnson will be placed in 2019. Upon placement of the third statue, the Sculpture Garden will highlight the top three World Champion Bronc Riders of South Dakota.
- Limited edition replica of the large bronze statue of Casey Tibbs riding The Old Gray Mare which will be placed outside in the Sculpture Garden in 2018. The large bronze will be 3/4 scale.
- Replica mounted on high quality wood base with engraved brass nameplate
- Created by nationally famous sculptor, T.R. Chytka, a Belle Fourche, SD rancher and former champion bull rider
- Each 18" X 16" bronze replica is numbered by sculptor.
- Purchases of the small replicas will help offset the cost of the large sculptures.
- Gift certificates available.
- Order Form for Casey Tibbs Bronze Replica
2017 has been a great year for being blessed with new archives.
A special thank you to Clint and Sharon Caldwell for donating this framed 1960 calendar of Casey Tibbs and Cleo (Harrington) Tibbs. We did not have this calendar or photo before so it's a treasure to the Rodeo Center museum!
August 19, 2017
A half century ago, Casey Tibbs had a wild idea to make a film titled “Born to Buck.” The film would highlight a trail drive moving 300-400 bucking horses from the Lower Brule Native American Reservation to his hometown of Fort Pierre. Tibbs wrote, produced, directed and starred in the movie, which included some of the wildest rodeo riding ever filmed. The script was narrated by Henry Fonda, and music composed by Dick Stabile. The cast was comprised of cowboys from our area and other states, to assure it was a true, natural roundup with cowboys and horses.
After finishing the treacherous 120-mile drive, nature stepped in showed who was boss. A massive thunderstorm dumped five inches of driving rain and hail in the Fort Pierre/Pierre area. The
Missouri River became flood-swollen from the torrential rain and it seemed impossible to drive hundreds of horses through the raging river. Tibbs, equipped with a meager, four-inch emergency floatation pack, rode his horse into fast moving current of the frigid water. As they often follow their leader, the other horses were to follow suit but they were spooked and turned back. Tibbs may have been a champion cowboy, but was unfortunately a poor swimmer and he clung tight to his horse’s saddle. His horse was confused and swam up and down the river. Just five feet shy of reaching a sand bar on the opposite shore, Tibbs and his horse were separated and the Mighty Mo almost claimed the 9-time World Champion.
A special thank you to Jerry Tibbs for donating Casey Tibbs original Purina rainslicker from the film "Born To Buck." It even has a little bit of mud on the back from 50 years ago! ("Born To Buck" DVD's for sale at the Rodeo Center. Call 605-494-1094 for more information).
July 18, 2017
1968 Casey Tibbs Buckle, letter and Boots Donated to Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center
2017 has been a good year for accepting donations for Casey Tibbs archives. In 1968, when Fort Pierre native Greg Kenworthy was nine years old, he had broken his arm while in a rodeo. Casey Tibbs was well-known for his compassion towards children, and when he learned of Kenworthy’s mishap, he gave one of his buckles and a letter to the young lad. Kenworthy kept both for decades before donating it to the Rodeo Center this month.
Kenworthy’s dad knew Casey well, as their land was previously located along the Missouri River where the Fischer Lilly Park now resides; the area where Tibbs filmed the end of “Born To Buck.” Greg’s dad and Casey “had words” back then after a hundred head of horses got loose on the Kenworthy land and his dad was not a happy rancher.
Earlier this year the original painting of Tibbs riding Easy Money found its’ final resting place at the museum. Also donated were Tibbs cowboy boots he left on a plane in the 1950’s flown by charter pilot Victor Kieltz in Omaha. Tibbs would frequently fly from daytime rodeo to evening rodeo and one particular day he left his boots on the plane. After Kieltz found them and contacted Tibbs, the bronc rider told the pilot to keep them, and that he did for the past six plus decades.
All items are now on display at the Rodeo Center.
Press Release: June 13, 2017
Floating Horses - The Life of Casey Tibbs" documentary will debut
in Fort Pierre/Pierre area this September
The highly anticipated film “Floating Horses - The Life of Casey Tibbs" documentary will debut in Casey Tibbs homeland area on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at the Riggs High School Theater in Pierre. There will be one showing late afternoon and another early evening. This is the beginning of the kickoff of Fort Pierre’s Bicentennial events that following weekend.
“We have had many people inquiring about when the film will be shown in our area,” said Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center Director Cindy Bahe. “Fort Pierre native Casey Tibbs was a 9-time World Champion whose career expanded from bronc riding to becoming a movie stunt man, writer and producer.
“In addition to Casey’s famous rodeo career I wanted to design the film to focus on the highs and lows of his personal life,” said Producer Justin Koehler. While working a full time job, Koehler worked on the film in his personal time. He fronted the funding for the costs and travelled over six states interviewing Casey’s family and friends including Singer and Instrumentalist Charlie Daniels, Actor and Musician Red Steagall, former Miss South Dakota and former wife Cleo Harrington, Cowboy, Poet Baxter Black and about two dozen other people.
In April, the film originally debuted at the Black Hills Film Festival and at another festival in Texas. The film is also showing in Colorado, New York, California and Arizona this summer. “Floating Horses” will be shown at the Black Hills Film Festival Special Event in Hill City on July 1-3, 2017 as well.
Seating at the Pierre debut will be first-come, first-served with a free will offering to offset some of the costs in making this film over the last 3-4 years.
Click on these titles for new stories!
New “Film Theme” Display at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center
A new "Film Theme" room display has been created at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center museum complete with photos and memorabilia of Casey Tibbs life when he was involved in the film industry as an actor, stunt man and producer. Also on display: the Floating Horses photos and costume from the upcoming movie!
Casey Tibbs’ celebrity life was filled with bucking broncs, practical jokes, beautiful women, gambling, movies, money, and the highs and lows typically affiliated with a life of fame. Deemed in the 1950’s as the greatest bronc rider in the nation, Tibbs’ charismatic personality and unmatched horse riding abilities thrust him into the limelight. He became the youngest person to capture the World Champion title at age 19, with eight more world titles to follow.
He was involved in scores of movies later on in his career. “It’s a little known fact, Casey Tibbs was John Wayne’s ‘right hand man’ in many of Wayne’s movies” said Director Cindy Bahe. “Wayne utilized Tibbs cowboy background to assure the cowboys, horses and stock were realistic in nature.
Though Tibbs died in 1990, his legacy continues in the rodeo world, and his decorated life captured the interest of South Dakota native Justin Koehler. Koehler, an independent film producer, wanted to preserve the memoirs of the world champion, knowing the research would not be an easy undertaking. While maintaining a full-time job during the day, Koehler has dedicated his personal time to the vision and creation of a documentary called “Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs”– something no other producer has accomplished. "This is a human interest story about Casey,” said Koehler. “He was quickly thrown into fame and his life became a roller coaster of ups and downs. The film, which is two-thirds about his life and a third about riding, will make you laugh but it will also make you cry."
There has been great anticipation by people waiting for arrival of this film in our community. Koehler wants to finish with a quality documentary. The exact release date “Floating Horses” will be showcased in the Fort Pierre/Pierre area.
Anticipating the Arrival of "Floating Horses - The Life of Casey Tibbs By Cindy Lea Bahe, CTRC Director
Casey Tibbs’ celebrity life was filled with bucking broncs, practical jokes, beautiful women, gambling, movies, money, and the highs and lows typically affiliated with a life of fame. Deemed in the 1950’s as the greatest bronc rider in the nation, Tibbs’ charismatic personality and unmatched horse riding abilities thrust him into the limelight. He became the youngest person to capture the World Champion title at age 19, with eight more world titles to follow. To this day, his record remains untouched.
Though Tibbs died in 1990, his legacy continues in the rodeo world, and his decorated life captured the interest of South Dakota native Justin Koehler. Koehler, an independent film producer, wanted to preserve the memoirs of the world champion, knowing the research would not be an easy undertaking. While maintaining a full time job during the day, Koehler dedicated his personal time to the vision and creation of a documentary about Tibbs – something no other producer has accomplished. I had the opportunity to interview Koehler in between his busy schedules:
Bahe: What areas of the country did you traveled to in conducting interviews of Casey’s friends and family for this film?
Koehler: I travelled across South Dakota, as well as Colorado, Texas, Arizona, California and Nevada.
Bahe: You work full time at your main job and have been working on your own private time on the side to create this film. How many hours do you think you have put in?
Koehler: I easily work 28 hours a week, and I’ve probably been on that schedule for the past two years. It’s basically a part-time job.
Bahe: Who have you interviewed for this film?
Koehler: Baxter Black,
Bahe: During your interview with Jeb Rosebrook, you learned he owned rare reel-to-reel tapes, that were given to him half a century ago before Tibbs left for a rodeo overseas. The tapes, never viewed and kept in mint condition, were given to the film and donated to the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center. How much of the footage will be included in the film?
Koehler: All of the footage discovered during research will be used within the film. At the moment, only a handful of pictures have been used within the film because we have unearthed so much footage of Casey riding broncs. I guess that was a surprising moment! I’m pretty sure we have assembled the largest video collection of Casey Tibbs riding broncs in the world. Bold statement, I know, but I believe it’s true.
Bahe: How much of your own funds do you think you spent in airfare, motels, food, gas – or any other expenses?
Koehler: Luckily, I haven’t had to spend my own money. I have done various types of fundraisers to help finance Casey’s film… and as you know with the Rodeo Center- fundraising is a difficult and time consuming task.
Every penny I’ve raised for Casey’s film has gone toward producing this documentary. I have not paid myself a cent for wages or pocketed any money for profit. Casey used to call rodeo a gamble, and filmmaking is a gamble as well. If, and it’s a big “if”- if I were to see a profit from the film it would long down the road. I will have probably put three years of work into the film before any profit would occur. My main concern during this entire journey has been to produce a great story and whatever happens financially after the film is released will happen.
Bahe: Can people still donate to the movie?
Koehler: Yes, they can donate on Facebook under the Floating Horses page.
Bahe: What has been the most rewarding aspect of going through the process of creating this film from beginning to end?
Koehler: The most rewarding aspect has been getting to know who Casey Tibbs was. I will never claim to be an expert on someone else’s life, but I can confidently say that I know a heck of a lot about Casey Tibbs… maybe too much in some instances! The Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center has been a tremendous help in getting Casey’s film to where it’s at today, and I appreciate their support more than I could ever express in words or print.
Bahe: What has been the most frustrating?
Koehler: The most frustrating part is I wish I had more time during the day to work on Casey’s film. I have a full time job and a family, so that takes up a lot of hours during the day. When I should be having lunch at work, I’m working on Casey’s film, and when I should be sleeping at night, I’m working on Casey’s film. Someday I hope to be producing only my documentary films for a living and that will allow me to churn out documentaries at a quicker rate.
Bahe: What has it been like to work with Cole Elshere?
Koehler: Cole is a tremendous person both in and out of the rodeo arena. It’s been an honor to work with him, but I’m more honored to have become his friend throughout this process. The reenactment scenes he participated in have added a unique cinematic aspect to the film.
Bahe: A tailored costume was created for Elshere; who created the costume?
Koehler: The replica Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor shirt was recreated by Tammy Jane Designs. The replica Casey Tibbs purple chaps were created by Jory Zurcher. Greeley Hat Works crafted the black Casey Tibbs cowboy hat. The replica 1955 all-round champion belt buckle was fashioned by Tres Rios Silver. All other items for Cole’s wardrobe I had to search out and acquire myself. The costume will be on display at the film showing as well as the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center.
Bahe: Most people watch a film or TV show without knowing all the extra effects that go into producing a film. You mentioned the film needs to go through the final stages, like adding sound, music, graphics etc. What other effects need to be added to video?
Koehler: The final stages of a documentary film, or any film for that matter can vary depending on your subject matter and storytelling style. I have a certain look and feel that I hope Floating Horses conveys to the audience, and many talented people will help reach that finished, polished product.
An Online Editor/Colorist will enhance the footage within the film, so you attain a tailored ambiance or tone within your film. Audio sweetening is another key component to a film. Our audio sweetener will improve and clean the entire audio track of the film, so there is a consistent, clear level throughout. The musical score for a film could be considered the heartbeat of a film. In my opinion, music lifts audience’s emotions to unforeseen heights and is one of my favorite stages in filmmaking.
I will also bring on someone to narrate the film. I have an exciting person in mind, and I’m hopeful I can get them to lend their voice to Casey’s film. Graphics will be limited in Floating Horses because there hasn’t been a moment in the film where it seemed necessary to insert graphics.
Bahe: Now for the million-dollar question: When do you anticipate the film to be completed?
Koehler: I think I’ll have “picture lock” early this summer. From there, it depends on how long color correction, audio sweetening, and the musical score will take.
Bahe: Other than the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center’s gift shop, where can one purchase a DVD of The Buffalo King?
Koehler: It is also available on Amazon.com
Bahe: Where can we find a trailer on the film?
Koehler: The Floating Horses trailer can be found at: https://vimeo.com/125294863 and at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center. I’m confident the trailer will entice people to see the film in its’ entirety.