Casey Tibbs

Last Updated by Brian Gevik, Text by Cindy Bahe - Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center on
All Images: Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center, Fort Pierre

Casey Tibbs was born in 1929 in a meager log cabin 50 miles northwest of Fort Pierre. Against his father’s wishes, he started riding in rodeos at age 14. According to his father, people participating in rodeos were bums and there was no future in it. Because of his love and involvement with rodeo, Casey wasn’t allowed to return home and was on his own from that time on.

casey tibbs young

At 19, Casey Tibbs became the youngest man ever to win the national saddle bronc-riding crown. From 1949 to 1955, he became a 9-time World Champion, winning six PRCA saddle bronc-riding championships, two all-around cowboy championships and one-bareback-riding championship.

casey tibbs riding necktieCasey Tibbs riding "Necktie"

casey tibbs riding easy moneyCasey Tibbs riding "Easy Money"

His life was thrust into the limelight, appearing on the TV show “To Tell the Truth” and his photo appeared on the cover of “LIFE” magazine. In 1958 he took a rodeo troupe to the World’s Fair in Belgium and introduced rodeo to Japanese spectators in 1973, staging 162 performances with his troupe.

casey tibbs

Though he had the highs and lows often associated with accelerating fame, Tibbs always had time to visit children in the hospital and help with charity work. He lived life to the fullest, often pulling pranks on friends.

poster for "Born to Buck"

After his rodeo career, Tibbs wrote, produced, starred and performed stunts in scores of movies. He produced the bestseller video “Born to Buck” as well as other films. A little known fact is Tibbs was John Wayne’s right hand technical man when the actor needed advice to produce realistic western films. Tibbs also acted or performed stunts in movies alongside actors such as Henry Fonda, Will Rogers Jr., Rod McKuen and Steve Ford, son of President Gerald Ford.

Casey Tibbs with movie stars

Casey Tibbs at a western film festival

Casey’s dream was to build a museum where all South Dakota rodeo greats could be honored. Though he died in 1990, the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre was eventually completed in 2009.

Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo CenterCasey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo CenterFort Pierre, South Dakota

casey tibbs statueStatues of Casey Tibbs and Mattie Goff NecombFort Pierre

Tibbs final resting spot is at the Scotty Phillips Cemetery just outside of his hometown of Fort Pierre. Tibbs’ boots, buckles, clothing, photos and cowboy hats are on display with other rodeo greats artifacts. Tibbs’ life will be highlighted in the upcoming documentary “Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs”.

painting of casey tibbs

Dakota Midday

Interview with Cindy Bahe, Director, Casey Tibbs SD Rodeo Center

Host: Lori Walsh

Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center at

"Personalities with Chuck Anderson"

Vintage radio interviews with well known and not so well known South Dakotans.

Personalities: Gladys Pyle - A Woman of "Firsts" in Politics and Government

Gladys Pyle was the first woman elected to the S.D. House, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and the first...

Remembering South Dakota Native Hubert Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey was one of the most prominent politicians and policy-makers in the United States from the mid...

Personalities: Col. Chuck "Sam" Gemar - South Dakota Astronaut

Chuck Gemar was born in Yankton and graduated from Scotland high school in 1973. He was accepted into the United...

Personalities: Jim McKinney, Fmr. SDSU Band Director

Jim McKinney came to South Dakota State University in 1975 and was SDSU's band director from 1983 until his...

Personalities: A Pearl Harbor Survivor's Story

Charles "Chuck" Isakson (1917-1997), a Webster native and longtime Huron resident, was among some 50 South Dakotans...

Personalities: Joe Foss

Radio host Chuck Anderson traveled to Joe Foss's Scottsdale, Arizona home in 1996 for an interview with one of the...

Personalities: Amy Burnett

Amy Burnett is one of the best South Dakota basketball players ever. Burnett grew up in Huron and led Huron High to...

Personalities: George Hall, Creator and Collector of South Dakota History

While many bookworms spend their time cocooned in public libraries and bookstores searching for the next great story,...