WHEATLAND – Kay Gore and her family just returned from Oklahoma City where her late husband, Lester Gore, was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
“Being nominated to be in the Hall of Fame is something that doesn’t happen to very many people,” explained Kay. “It’s a really big deal in the rodeo world.”
The Rodeo Hall of Fame is located in the renowned National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla. Since 1955, cowboys and cowgirls have been inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame, a tribute to rodeo’s greatest legends who paved the way for today’s rodeo champions. In the history of the Hall of Fame, Gore joins just ten other inductees from Wyoming.
Gore was inducted into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2014.He was included in the first class honored by the fledgling organization that strives to preserve and promote Wyoming’s cowboy and ranching history through researching and honoring individuals who broke the first trails and introduced that culture to this state.
Gore was born on a ranch in Marshall in 1925, joined the Navy in World War II and after he was discharged, began his rodeo career at the University of Wyoming. For the last 46 years of his life he ranched and lived in Wheatland. He died at age 91 in a four-wheeler accident the summer of 2016 while fixing a fence on the ranch.
He began his rodeo career when the Real Cowboy Association (now the PRCA – Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) was first formed. He began competing in the RCA rodeos in 1946 in all three rough stock events, steer wrestling and calf roping.
At Cheyenne Frontier Days 1949, he won the Amateur Bronc riding event. The ride was impressive, Artist John Mariani painted a cover picture depicting the ride for the Western Horseman’s magazine; this image was eventually made into a bronze
by James Collender.
He retired from competing in the PRCA when he was 55-years-old, but then created the National Old Timers Rodeo Association (now the Senior Pro Rodeo Association) in 1979. After winning the All Around in Bareback and Steer Wrestling, he stopped competing at age 64.
“Rodeo was his life,” Kay said with a smile. “He was such a humble man, and he didn’t like to talk about himself. But all his rodeo friends still remember what a great bareback rider he was.”