In 1989, rodeo supporters, friends, and family members visited with an ailing Casey about forming a foundation, to be called the Casey Tibbs Foundation, that would preserve Casey's memorabilia (along with that of other cowboys and cowgirls of all ages), promote the sport of rodeo and preserve its heritage. It was Casey's personal wish that if a rodeo center were to be built it would be used to pay tribute to all the South Dakotans in the rodeo field, not just for his benefit. In June of that year, the Casey Tibbs Foundation was formed.
After Casey's death in 1990, the Foundation Board made a commitment to pursue a rodeo center and promote youth activities in rodeo. In July of that year, the first Casey Tibbs Foundation Tribute Dinner was held in honor of Casey Tibbs and his accomplishments in the sport of rodeo as well as in movies and television. This Tribute Dinner is held on a continuing annual basis as a fund-raiser and to honor other people in the rodeo world and their accomplishments. This is done in the following five categories each year:
■Past Rodeo Great
■Present Rodeo Cowgirl Great
■Present Rodeo Cowboy Great
■Ranch Cowboy Family - this category was added realizing that rodeo first got its start with cowhands on local ranches challenging each other with their riding and roping skills.
■Ranch Animal Athlete
Each year the Casey Tibbs Foundation presents five memorial belt buckles at the following events:
■High Point Saddle Bronc Ride at the 4-H Finals Rodeo
■High Point Saddle Bronc Ride at the High School Finals Rodeo
■Rookie Saddle Bronc Rider of the Year in the South Dakota Rodeo Association
■High Point Saddle Bronc Ride at the 4th of July Rodeo held in Casey's hometown of Fort Pierre, South Dakota
■Winner of the Casey Tibbs Match of Champions held each year on the first Saturday of June in Fort Pierre, South Dakota
A life-size statue of Casey Tibbs riding the famous bronc "Necktie" was unveiled in a community park and historical turnout in Fort Pierre, South Dakota.
A $22,500 donation was given by Casey's brother, Ancel Tibbs to purchase five acres of land where the the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center now stands. Board member, Bernard Duffy, donated an adjoining three acres of land (valued at $15,000). The Rodeo Center is located in a prime location on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River and the sister cities of Pierre and Fort Pierre. The view from the second story conference center windows is breathtaking - you can see for miles in all directions.
An anonymous donor awarded $100,000 to the Foundation to kick off the building fundraising campaign. Over the years enough money was raised to complete the outside shell of the rodeo center.
Through the generous donation of Mattie Goff -Newcombe the rodeo center was completed and opened in August 2009.
In June of 1993, the Foundation held the first annual "Casey Tibbs Match of Champions" bronc ride in the Casey Tibbs Arena at the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. The Match of Champions bronc ride matches some of the top bronc riders in the nation (also including cowboys from Canada and Australia) with some of the best bucking stock in the upper Midwest. It has been a huge success every year and has become our largest annual fundraiser.
Renowned western artist, T. R. Chytka from Spearfish, South Dakota, has sculpted and donated two life size bronzes to the Casey Tibbs Foundation. One of the bronzes is of Casey Tibbs standing over a bronc in the bucking chute. The other bronze of the major donor, Mattie Goff-Newcombe, a World Champion Trick Rider and lady bronc rider will be showcased in the completed Rodeo Center. These two large pieces of beautiful artwork will be a focal point in the Rodeo Center rotunda.
The Foundation is a 501 © (3) not-for-profit institution whose purpose and mission is to preserve the heritage of rodeo and the western culture of South Dakota while promoting athletic and educational activities and oppportunities for both the young people and adult citizens fo South Dakota. This status allows all donations to the Casey Tibbs Foundation tax deductible.