A hero and idol of young cowgirls, Mattie Goff Newcombe was an equestrian legend and rodeo champion. For that, she is one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.
Newcombe was born and raised in White Owl, S.D., but her first rodeo was in 1921 at Sioux Falls, S.D. During her rodeo career, she participated in bronc riding, trick riding and relay races. Newcombe’s trick-riding skills were self-taught, and she was soon nicknamed "the fastest trick rider on the fastest horse around."
The petite Newcombe, weighing just 110 pounds, did many death-defying tricks during her three-decade rodeo career. Her stunts included Under the Neck, Under the Belly, Spin the Horn, and the Suicide Drag – all done while hanging from her horse. She thrilled audiences and was soon widely known for her deeds of derring-do.
Many organizations recognized Newcombe for her accomplishments, including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. She became one of the first inductees into the National Hall of Fame in 1961. Newcombe was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in 1991.
Today, the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre displays many historical items from Newcombe’s career, including photographs, clippings, a custom-made Frazier saddle, beaver Stetson hat, silver mounted spurs and beaded gloves, and her fringed white-leather show outfit.
To learn more about the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center and how you can learn more about Mattie Newcombe, go to www.travelsd.com