By Nancy Lynch, exhibits curator and Diane Karlson, collections specialist for the city of Greeley Museums.Originally published in the Greeley Tribune, March 6, 2009
A Platteville native, Verne Elliott (1890-1962) has been inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs for his many contributions as a cowboy, rodeo participant, and promoter of both the sport and business of cowboying.
As a youngster Verne entered regional rodeo contests, including Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Greeley Spud Rodeo. He worked with his brother, Jack, in a number of worldwide rodeo tours including Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the World’s Fair in Brussels until 1913. Both Verne and Jack received the Iron Cross from Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and a gold medal from King George V of England. As an exhibition stunt, Verne rode an American buffalo (which is never really “tame”) when President Theodore Roosevelt was among the spectators.
In 1921, Verne Elliott and a partner began producing rodeos, including; the Calgary Stampede, Denver National Western Rodeo and rodeos in Phoenix, Kansas City and Chicago. To their credit is the first indoor rodeo in the world in 1918 at the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Verne Elliott is credited with helping design rodeos to become more exciting as a sport and modifying the design of rodeo bucking chutes.
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Verne Elliot rode an American buffalo (which is never really "tame") when President Theodore Roosevelt was among the spectators. (Photo courtesy of the City of Greeley Museums)