27th Casey Tibbs Foundation dinner draws 180 to Rodeo Center

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Farm Forum

Donna Shedeed showed up at the dinner on Nov. 5 in cowgirl clothes and carrying a pinkish lariat coiled around one shoulder. It was obvious the rope was more than just an accessory.

Shedeed was honored as Rodeo Cowgirl Great on Nov. 5 at the 27th Annual Casey Tibbs Foundation Tribute Dinner in Fort Pierre.

It was held up on the hill in the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center overlooking the Missouri River and a half-moon and the valley filled with Fort Pierre and Pierre.

Cindy Bahe, director of the Center, said 180 attended and were served the prime rib served by members of the Pierre/Fort Pierre High School Rodeo Club.

The dinner raises funds for the Foundation, which includes the Museum and Conference Center. A special need this year is the Casey Tibbs statue, a big fiberglass bronc standing on its front feet trying to throw Tibbs. It has stood for a quarter century right off Fort Pierre’s main drag, right below the Tibbs Rodeo Center.

But for most of this year it’s been in a ranch building just south of town, stabled for now awaiting weather-and-age-caused repairs that will cost about $8,000, Bahe said.

Once it’s back next spring in the same spot, it will have a taller, cooler base and the same wind-driven rotation, she said.

The statue was donated decades ago by Tibbs sister from its original stomping grounds atop a bar in the state of Washington.

Hats were passed for “Bring Casey Back” campaign and part of the $15,000 in expected net revenue from the dinner will go to the cause, Bahe said.

She said Shedeen represents what the Casey Tibbs Foundation celebrates: rodeo in South Dakota, in the hometown of Casey Tibbs, the handsome Stanley County cowboy who vaulted rodeo into the big time with his string of bronc riding championships in the late 1940s into the 1950s and resulting movie career. Others praised her for her family and friendship ties all around ranching, horses and rodeo, including the grandchildren she and her husband, Bob, enjoy.

It’s difficult to believe Shedeen she’s in her 70s. She and Bob have competed – together and separately – for years in the Senior Pro Rodeo Championships, winning buckles and saddles for their roping prowess.

Shedeed has lots of practice: she began roping in the early 1950s when there weren’t roping events for women at most rodeos. The couple run a Cowboy Church services at their homes in Hermosa, South Dakota and in Arizona.

Others honored at the dinner included:

Lowell “Odie” and Catherine West of Onida and Pierre as Ranch Cowboy Family. Odie West died Oct. 18 at 87 and one of the first acts at the dinner was a moment of silence in his memory.

The couple has spent their life together supporting their children and grandchildren in 4-H and high school rodeo. Odie was director of the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association. He competed as a young man with Casey Tibbs in the 1940s in bronc riding.

Blaine Norvold, Eagle Butte, was giving the Rodeo Promoter award. After years as a rodeo cowboy in several events, Norvald has written several books and read his poetry at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Donnie Reichert, of Hartford, was named Past Rodeo Great. A top national bullrider in the 1960s, he became a leader and a competitor in the Badlands Circuit and did TV announcing of South Dakota rodeos. He and his wife, Pat, are retired.

Bryan Hanson, one of 15 Foundation board members, and his wife, DeLynn, spent the entire day preparing the prime rib meal. Jim Hunt was emcee.