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Rodeo legend Cotton Rosser dies at age 93

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 3:44 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Cotton Rosser, described by the ProRodeo Hall of Fame as the P.T. Barnum of professional rodeo, died Wednesday at age 93, the Reno Rodeo Association announced.

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame inducted Rosser in 1995 and he received the PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement award in 2015.

In 1995 the past presidents of the Reno Rodeo Association commissioned a half-sized bronze statue of Rosser that is in front of the Reno Rodeo Association office at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.

Rosser bought the Flying U Rodeo Ranch in 1956 and it is the oldest continuing rodeo livestock company in the United States. It supplied livestock to the Reno Rodeo since 1960.

Rosser won the saddle bronc riding at the Reno Rodeo in 1950, but a ranch accident that left him with two broken legs ended his rodeo career, the Reno Rodeo said. Rosser has said it was the best thing that ever happened to him, the Reno Rodeo said.

Based in Marysville, Calif., Rosser and his son, Reno, produce about 50 rodeos a year.

“The Reno Rodeo -- and really, all of rodeo -- is reeling at this news,” said Reno Rodeo General Manager George Combs. “The legacy that he leaves behind and the impact that he’s made is truly immeasurable. He was a pioneer in the rodeo industry who was ahead of his time in developing the entertainment side of rodeo. Cotton was an absolute legend and he will be greatly, greatly missed.”

Reno Rodeo President Josh Iveson called him the king of cowboys and said it was impossible to describe his impact on rodeo.

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