Tom Mix and the 1913 Prescott Rodeo

Talented horse people, Mix and his wife, Olive “Ollie” Stokes, enjoyed exhibiting in daredevil events.


As a sort of curtain raiser, a good sized “twister” passed leisurely over the grounds. It entered at the last end and ranged slowly along the grandstand, down the line of autos and during five minutes sent heavy sombreros hundreds of feet into the air, rendered the skirts of numerous ladies embarrassingly unmanageable and almost started a stampede with the stock.

Riding and Roping.

The exhibition of trick riding and rope handling of Friday had not encouraged any new talent to try to take the prizes from the men who had shown their skill then. The entries were the same as for the previous day.

George Hooker, of Sulphur Springs valley, and Tom Mix were the only entries for the trick riding. Hooker set the pace. Mix followed for a while but was decidedly outclassed, although he is a wonderfully daring and skillful horseman. They were in and out and over the saddle while their horses were going at a tearing gallop. It all looked as easy as a little girl skipping rope. They traveled over and around their speeding mounts as if they were saw horses with fixed wooden legs instead of spirited cow ponies running at full speed. It was so evident that they were likely to break their necks at any moment that the audience went wild with enthusiasm.

Mix’s horse interfered somewhat with his rider’s work by slowing up at critical moments and in this way marred his splendid showing,

There was universal approval of the award of first money to Hooker, second money to Mix.

Harry Knight was the star of the fancy roping contest. This he explained to the audience “only needed a weak head and a strong backbone” and then he proceeded to “show them how to do it.” A cow pony ran past him at full speed and standing at ease and with out any apparent effort he first cast his lariat over the horse’s neck. At the next run, he sent it over three legs. He caught the two front legs at the next throw. Then he threw the rope so as to gather all four legs in the rope.

The most marvelous part of his performance was that it was all done with apparently no effort. Later he roped the running horse casting the rope with his foot and gathering horse and rider in the noose and then roping all four legs. He shot a bull rope whizzing in circles of varying size, jumping in and out of the loop. His last stunt was to start the noose of a 60-foot lariat in a small circle over his head, gradually the noose took up every inch of it.

He was awarded first money. Tom Mix, who exhibited a number of stunts not quite so elaborate, was awarded second money.

Cowgirl Relay Race

Cowgirl Pony Race.

When entries for the cowgirl’s pony race were called for, Mrs. Tom Mix, a pretty dashing brunette, was the first to appear. It looked as if there would be no other entries. Then Mrs. Darlington entered and Mrs. Vic Frith came to the stand. All these ladies were on cow ponies and rode astride. As they were being instructed, Mrs. Henry Ritter, of Thompson valley, slowly trotted down the track on a big, powerful horse decorated with flags which she rode with the old-fashioned side saddle.

The race was a quarter mile dash. They started at the quarter, well in a bunch. Mrs. Ritter’s horse took the lead from the start although she was closely pressed by Mrs. Mix. They passed the stand with whips going and the crowd yelling like mad with Mrs. Ritter a length ahead Mrs. Mix second and Mrs. Darling won third. Time, 30 seconds.

Wild Horse Contest.

A big, strong, well-nourished mule, with banner like ears, was the bright, particular star of this contest. It took four men to hold him while the saddle was being put on, Tom Mix and Nip Van each vigorously chewing one of the large, succulent ears. Roy Lewis was the lucky man who drew this animal. When the word “Go” was given the mule certainly went. He bucked several of the other horses over and charged into the field. With every eye on his performance, the grand stand was thrilled to see Lewis, the Arizona champion, tumbled into the dust. This was through one of the cinches breaking and the saddle turning.

Bull-dogging.

Day one: Steer bull-dogging relieved the broncho busting to a marked degree which there was skill used and nerve exercised in each instance that thrilled all. This act consists of the horseman riding at full speed after his animal and throwing his game to the ground with his own hands. All participants were daring, and at full speed caught steers, also under full swing. Harry Knight proved the victor in this event, catching and throwing to the ground his steer in twelve and one-half seconds. His was a wonderful exhibition of nerve and accuracy, and he handled the animal as if it was a feather he was brushing aside. Nip Van won second money, in sixteen and three-fifths seconds, making a splendid catch, but a little slow in bringing the brute to the ground. He is an expert at the game, and was accorded an ovation with the winner.

Tom Mix had the misfortune to have his steer interfered with by another coming on the track, when he was compelled to postpone the attack to throw it to the ground, several watches giving the loss of time at least five seconds. Mix made the most beautiful leap from the saddle of the day, after the field was clear, and made the time of eighteen and one-half seconds. His feat was given a deserved ovation. Harry Loverin, John Fredericks and J. J. O’Brien also did splendid work with the bovine but had hard luck in landing their game on terra firma.

Day two: Another series of bull-dogging stunts kept the crowd excited. All the entrants of the previous day joined in. Winners Tom Mix, 16 ½ seconds; Harry Loverin, 20.4 seconds. For a grand windup, the remaining steers were driven on the track and fine sport was furnished by the roping of the animals and their vigorous bucking, while they were ridden with a surcingle. Eight men participated.

*****

As reported in the Prescott Weekly Journal-Miner, July 09, 1913

Prescott Powderkeg

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