Casey Tibbs “Match of Champions” Bronc Ride & Bronze Unveiling Events Draw Crowds
Sanctioned as a PRCA Event for the first time, the 25th Annual Match of Champions on June 2nd was a great success with 1,700 attending! We had the top 10 out of the top twenty bronc riders in the nation, and four World Champions in Fort Pierre. Congratulations to Wade Sundell who won the Match for the fourth time!
The unveiling of the "Casey Tibbs on The Old Gray Mare" statue was held earlier that day with more than one hundred people attending. This statue of 6 Time World Champion Bronc Rider Casey Tibbs was the second sculpture placed in the Sculpture Garden. The first statue of 5 Time World Champion Bronc Rider Billy Etbauer was placed in 2013. A third bronze of 4 Time World Champion Clint Johnson will be placed in 2018. The museum also displays two large bronze statues inside; all statues are created by T.R. Chytka of Belle Fourche. Once complete, this will highlight the top three bronc riders in South Dakota.
Small replicas of all three outdoor statues are available. Call for more information: 605-494-1094.
The Casey Tibbs Match of Champions is a spectacular bronc riding event matching the world’s top cowboys against top bucking stock. The top 15 in the current PRCA saddle bronc standings, the top contenders in the Badlands Circuit, the current champions in the SDRA, SDHSRA, GPIRA, and any national high school or college champions from South Dakota are invited to compete for $10,000 in prize money. The twelve top scorers from round one compete for six positions in the final round.
The winner of the final round takes home prize money, buckle, and coveted bronze statue of Casey Tibbs riding out of a tornado, designed by T. R. Chytka to commemorate the first match where a tornado appeared before the sold out crowd and hung for twenty minutes before moving on down the river. Many said it was the spirit of Casey Tibbs making a last appearance for the crowd.
Pictured is the Holloway Family presenting Wade Sundell with the T.C. Holloway Memorial Bronze. Sundell has won the Casey Tibbs Match of Champions four times!
Thank you to our Sponsors:
Main Match Sponsor:
- Cattleman’s Club
Mimi Bronc Ride Sponsor:
- Bottom Line Welding
- Sioux Nation
- Dakota Radio Group
- 1st National Bank of Fort Pierre
Championship Go-Round Sponsor:
Touchtone Energy Cooperative
Chute Gate Sponsors:
- Fort Pierre Livestock
- Dakota Prairie Bank
- 1880 Town
- Kost Ranch
- American Bank & Trust
- AGE Corporation
- Farm Bureau Financial Services
- Fischer Rounds
Return Gate Sponsors:
- Mad Mary’s Steakhouse
- Wind Circle Network
West Central Electric
Tornado Bronze Sponsor for Winning Cowboy:
Mad Mary’s Steakhouse
Stock Contractors’ Top Stock Awards Sponsor:
All Around Graphix
T.C. Holloway Bronze Sponsor:
Children’s Wish Sponsor:
Children’s Western Wish Foundation
- Tornado Bronze for Drawing -- River View RV Park, Lila’s Sewing/Embroidery and Briggs Trucking/Construction
- 2 general admissions passes good for all 9 evening events at the Central States Fair in Rapid City -- The Central States Fair
- Gift Certificate for 20X Black Gold Resistol Cowboy Hat --- Bronc Riding Nation
Champion Buckle Sponsor:
- Dakota Radio Group
- KBHB Ranch Radio
- WNAX Radio
Large Banner Sponsors:
- Farm Credit Services of America
- Prairie Traders
- Vitalix Inc.
- Anderson Contractors Inc.
- Wagner Auto Company
- CHS Midwest Cooperatives
- KBHB Radio - Sturgis
- Tri-State Livestock/Farmer Rancher Exchange
- 1st Dakota National Bank
- Midwest Construction
Small Banner Sponsors:
- W.W. Tire
- Chase Auto Connection
- Black Hills Federal Credit Union
History of the Match of Champions:
The first Casey Tibbs Match of Champions was held in 1993, an idea born of the memory of the Casey Tibbs 4H Benefit Roundups held at the fair grounds in Ft. Pierre, SD. Following his desire to promote youth of South Dakota through 4H, Casey organized a board of directors from Hughes and Stanley counties, and with the backing of Lee Overall Company, produced the First Annual 4H Benefit Roundup, featuring a series of three matched rides between himself and champion bronc rider, Bill Linderman. Other features included jackpot bareback and saddle bronc competition, business men’s calf roping contest, 4H calf scramble, as well as a variety of other entertainment. 1954 found Casey Tibbs matched against famed bronc riders, Deb Copenhaver and Gerald Roberts. The matches continued until Casey gave up bronc riding for movie making and brought the production of “Born to Buck” to South Dakota.
The stock for the first 4H Benefit roundup was furnished free of charge by Joe Shomer of Fort Pierre. All work and materials necessary to make the show a huge success were donated by volunteers in the area. Similarly, stock for the first Casey Tibbs Match of Champions was donated by contractors such as: Jimmy Sutton, Jim Korkrow, Charlie Colombe, and Pete Longbrake. Volunteers continue to give hundreds of hours of their time to make the Match of Champions a spectacular event each year.
All proceeds from the Match of Champions is used to continue the building of the South Dakota Rodeo Center on the hill overlooking Pierre and Ft. Pierre. It was Casey’s wish that the Rodeo Center be built to pay tribute to all South Dakotans in the Rodeo field. South Dakota continues to produce outstanding bronc riders as well as other rodeo competitors. Casey expressly stated that he wanted to see recognized, not only those who became champions, but those who were good, but due to injuries or family responsibilities, never had the chance to prove themselves. He stated, “Some cowboys won every major show but never became a champions.”