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Red Rock highlights St. Paul Rodeo inductees

by Tracy Renck | Jun 19, 2017

Courtesy Ruth Nicolaus

 ST. PAUL, Ore. – He’s the first of his type to be inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame, and in his prime, he brought fear and intimidation to the hearts of his opponents.

Red Rock, one of the most famous bulls in rodeo history, leads the class of 2017 which will be inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame on June 29. Red Rock was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1990.

The bull was born in 1976 and raised near Burns, Ore. As a 2-year-old, the red tiger-striped brindle Brahma-Hereford cross was purchased by Mert Hunking.

In 1984, Don Kish and John Growney bought the bull, sight unseen, for $10,000. They took him to PRCA rodeos, where his unridden streak continued.

Not only did Red Rock have a 100 percent buck-off rate during competition, but he was incredibly smart. It seemed Red Rock could sense what the rider was about to do, and would turn the opposite way, which resulted in throwing the rider off.

“He knew what hand a guy was using,” Kish said. “He always bucked away from their hand.”

Red Rock is best known for the matchups with ProRodeo Hall of Famer Lane Frost. The matchups were publicized up and down the West Coast, and out of seven of them, Frost covered Red Rock four times. The sixth match was at the St. Paul Rodeo on July 4, 1988, where Red Rock bucked off Frost, tying the matchup at three to three.

Red Rock was retired from ProRodeo competition in 1987 at the age of 11, an unusually long time for a bucking bull to work. After 309 official buck-offs and no cowboy making the eight-second buzzer on him, (his matchup with Frost was for publicity only, not official competition) he was the 1987 World Champion Bucking Bull. Red Rock was brought out of retirement the next year for the Lane Frost match-ups.

Red Rock passed away in 1994.

Other inductees into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame are cowboy Joe Ruda, one of the most prominent bareback riders in the Columbia River Circuit, who won the circuit title five times in the 1980s. He won the St. Paul Rodeo in 1981 and in 1983.

Frank and Rita Foltz, of Woodburn, Ore., will be inducted into the Hall in the category of general membership. Active members of the St. Paul Rodeo Association since the mid-1980s, they were involved first in ushering and selling tickets, and have been on the queen and court committee, and helped with the grounds, hospitality, art show, and special events.

Shirley Ernst joins the Hall in the category of rodeo notables. The St. Paul woman’s father, Maurice Smith, was one of the rodeo’s founders, and she was rodeo princess in 1943 and queen in 1944.

In the timed event category, steer wrestler Trevor Knowles will be inducted. The Mt. Vernon, Ore., man has qualified for 13 consecutive Wrangler National Finals Rodeos.

The St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame induction will be held June 29 at the rodeo grounds, beginning at 5 p.m. (PT). A barbecue steak dinner is served, with libations and socializing prior to the meal. Artists will be on hand for a “quick draw,” and an auction benefitting the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund is held following the meal. Tickets are $32 and must be purchased prior to the event; they can’t be purchased at the door. Tickets are on sale at For more information, visit the website or call 503.633.2011.

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