PIERRE, S.D. – Casey Duane Tibbs was known as “the Babe Ruth of Rodeo,” winning championships across the nation. His rodeo skills and success in the film industry make Tibbs not only a South Dakota Great Face, but a great face throughout the world.
Tibbs was born and raised outside of Fort Pierre, S.D., and began riding horses as a young child. He entered his first professional competition in high school at age 14, and that was where it all began. A year later, Tibbs moved on to national competitions.
At 19 years old, Tibbs was the youngest man to win the National Saddle Bronc Championship. He won the bronc riding event three times in Madison Square Garden, twice at the Calgary Stampede, and twice at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo.
In 1951 and 1955, Tibbs was the world’s champion all-around cowboy. The six PRCA saddle bronc-riding championships that Tibbs won still stand as a record unbroken.
After Tibbs’ rodeo career came to a close, partly due to injuries, he became interested in a career in television and motion pictures. He had roles in several movies and television shows as a stunt man and actor. Tibbs moved on to producing, directing, and starring in the feature length film “Born to Buck,” which was filmed in the Fort Pierre area.
Today, the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre, S.D., stands in his honor. It is a museum dedicated to the rodeo, the history, and the stars of rodeo. The museum contains a collection of Casey Tibbs memorabilia.
South Dakota’s Great Faces weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight people who have had significant impacts on South Dakota, particularly in the visitor industry. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Faces” link at www.MediaSD.com
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