Pete Knight (rodeo)

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Peter Charles "Pete" Knight (May 5, 1903 - May 23, 1937) was a Canadian and World Champion Rodeo Bronc Rider and an international superstar of Rodeo. Knight was the acclaimed "King of the Cowboys" of the 1930s, and held the Rodeo Association of America title "World Champion Bronc Rider" for 1932, 1933, 1935, and 1936. The Rodeo Hall of Fame in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum inducted Knight in 1958.[1] The Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame inducted Pete in 1998.[2] The ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado, inducted Knight in the Saddle Bronc Riding category when it opened its doors in 1979.[3]

Bronc Riding career[edit]

Pete Knight at the 1935 Calgary Stampede, riding Silver King

Knight began formal riding training at the Deep Dale Ranch, Crossfield, Alberta, in the spring of 1918. At the first competition he entered at Crossfield in June, 1918, Knight won second place in the bucking contest. His riding style was influenced by Yakima Canutt, and was later witnessed by Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick, who invited Knight to compete in the 1923 Calgary Stampede; breaking his leg in a riding accident, Knight was unable to compete that year.

At the 1924 Calgary Stampede, Knight won second place in the Canadian Bucking Horse Championship event by 1/10 of a point behind the Canadian Champion, Pete La Grandeur. In 1925, Knight was invited to join the Alberta Stampede Company, a travelling rodeo firm which toured North America. While riding with the company in Montreal in October, 1926, Knight rode the legendary bucking horse, "Midnight". In 1927, Knight won both the North American Open Bucking Championship and the Canadian Bucking Championship at the Calgary Stampede, placing his name on the Prince of Wales' Cup for the first time.

At the Hand Hills Lake Stampede situated near Drumheller, Alberta, Knight won the bucking horse event through four consecutive years (1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927) and the wild horse race event in 1928.

At the 1930 Calgary Stampede, Knight won the Canadian Championship Bucking event for the second time, and weeks later, won the 1930 bucking event at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. In 1931, Knight won the World Series Rodeo bucking event held in Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, and was chosen to compete against three other riders (the bucking event winners of the 1931 Rodeos at Calgary, Pendleton, Oregon, and Cheyenne) for the Jack Dempsey Trophy, which Knight won at Reno, Nevada in the Ride of Champions event held in June, 1932. He went on to win the bucking event at the 1932 Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon.

Knight entered the Calgary Stampede in 1933, again winning both the North American Open Bucking Championship and the Canadian Championship Bucking event, and was presented with the Prince of Wales' Cup for perpetuity. Later in 1933, Knight won the bucking event held at the World's Fair Rodeo in Chicago. Later that year, Country Music recording artist Wilf Carter recorded "Pete Knight, The King of the Cowboys." The same year, Knight performed screen tests and rode bucking horses in movies for silver screen star Tom Mix at Los Angeles.

In 1934, Knight was invited to ride in England with the Tex Austin Rodeo Troupe. Later in 1934, Knight was invited to Melbourne, Australia, where he rode in the Stewart McColl pageant with fellow rider Yakima Canutt. The Rodeo Association of America (RAA) named Knight the World Champion Bronc Rider for 1932, 1933, 1935, and 1936. At the Rodeo held in Boston Gardens in 1936, Knight helped organize the Cowboy strike, becoming a founding member of the Cowboys Turtle Association (CTA) in 1936.

On May 23, 1937, Knight was trampled to death by a horse called "Duster", at the Hayward Rodeo in California. He was buried at Lone Tree Cemetery in Fairview near Hayward.;[4] his remains were later reinterred in 1960 at the Greenwood cemetery in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Pete Knight's cups, trophies, saddles and buckles became a permanent fixture at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. In his hometown of Crossfield, Alberta, the town named its arena in honor of Pete Knight, and holds an annual "Pete Knight Days Rodeo".



  1. ^ a b "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Pete Knight | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Pete Knight - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  4. ^ "Pete Knight (1903 - 1937) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - Pete Knight". Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Alberta Sports Hall of Fame - Knight, Pete". Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  • Faulknor, Cliff (1977) Turn Him Loose! , Western Producer Prairie Books
  • Gunderson, Harald (1996) The Linder Legend , Sagebrush Publishing, Calgary ISBN 0-9695792-2-5
  • Kennedy, Fred (1952) The Calgary Stampede Story , T. Edward Thonger Publications, Calgary
  • Kennedy, Fred (1972) Alberta Was My Beat , The Albertan Publishing Corp., Calgary
  • Knight, Darrell (2004) Pete Knight - The Cowboy King , Deteselig Publishing, Calgary ISBN 1-55059-274-2
  • Kroetsch, Robert (1986) Seed Catalogue , Turnstone Press, Winnipeg ISBN 0-88801-109-1
  • MacEwan, Grant (1952) Between the Red and the Rockies , University of Toronto Press, Toronto ISBN 0-8020-6012-9