The National Cowboy and Western Museum in Oklahoma City recently inducted old-time cowboy Earl W. Bascom into its Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Originally from Utah, Bascom had worked on the Grounds Ranch that ran cattle in northwest Colorado and in the Peacock Mountains northeast of Kingman, Arizona.
Bascom now joins with another Mormon cowboy from Arizona, Dale Smith of Chandler, who was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995.
Bascom’s hall of fame honor, given posthumously, places him among the highest honored rodeo cowboys in the world.
An all-around rodeo champion, Earl Bascom was honored at the induction ceremonies in Oklahoma as the “Father of Modern Rodeo” and as rodeo’s greatest innovator and inventor.
Bascom is credited with designing and making several important pieces of rodeo equipment and rodeo gear, including the modern rodeo bucking chute, the first hornless bronc riding saddle, the first one-handed bareback rigging and the modern rodeo chaps.
Over this past summer, Earl Bascom, was also inducted into two other halls of fame, the Alberta (Canada) Sports Hall of Fame as a rodeo pioneer and the Utah Rodeo Hall of Fame as a cowboy artist and sculptor.
Bascom’s induction into the Rodeo Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy Museum is considered by many to be the “world champion” of all cowboy halls of fame.
Bascom was married to Nadine Diffey of Phoenix. Nadine was part Native American and a relative to the Flake family, founders of Snowflake, Arizona. Earl and Nadine first met in Mississippi in the mid 1930’s. He was a student of Brigham Young University but was in Mississippi producing a rodeo during the summer. Nadine was in Mississippi attending college on a women’s basketball scholarship.
That rodeo, which Bascom produced in Mississippi, is now known in history as the world’s first rodeo held outdoors at night under electric lights.
Nadine is thought to be the first Mormon girl to receive an athletic scholarship to play college basketball.
Before Earl and Nadine were married in 1939 in the Salt Lake Temple, they both served LDS missions.
Earl and Nadine Bascom’s youngest son John represented the family at the induction ceremonies.
Earl Bascom passed away in 1995 in his 90th year of life. His wife Nadine passed away this last year (2013) at the age of 97.