Millet’s own Bob Robinson had the honor of being inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, during the Rodeo Historical Society’s Rodeo Weekend, September 26-27.
Born September 13, 1931 in Calgary to Frederick and Kathleen Robinson, Bob was exposed early to what it takes to win. His father is also known by the name of Sykes Robinson, who was the World Champion Steer Rider at Madison Square Garden in 1927 and the Canadian Saddle Bronc Riding Champion at the Calgary Stampede in 1939.
Since 1955, the Rodeo Hall of Fame has been inducting the best in rodeo, putting Robinson in some very prestigious and elite company. No stranger to the recognition of his peers, he was also inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 2009 was honored with the Pioneer of Rodeo Award at the Calgary Stampede.
Robinson’s first major win as a professional was in 1953, as the All Around Champion in Edmonton, netting him $800.00. From 1955 to 1964, he was in the top twenty Bull Riders and Saddle Bronc Riders in the RCA. In fact, his accomplishments as a rider are far too numerous to list but some of the highlights are as follows; 1954 Saddle Bronc Champion in the Alberta Central Circuit, 1956 Canadian Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, 1956 All Around Champion Edmonton and Saddle Bronc Champion at the Calgary Stampede. Fast forward to 1962 qualifying in Bull Riding for the NFR in Los Angeles, California, and Robinson won the Average becoming the first Canadian to win a major event in the NFR.
In 1964 he qualified for his second NFR in Bull Riding while a full-time college student at Porterville Junior College in California. Robinson placed 5th in the Average.
Of his early days, he says his travelling partners Deb Copenhaver, Bill Linderman, Lyle Smith, Paul Templeton, Jim Shoulders and Duane Howard taught him how to win.
Returning to college in 1964 after spending 14 years rodeoing, he earned a BA in Radio and Television and a Marketing minor from Fresno State in 1968. It’s also interesting to note Robinson’s BA is signed by the then Governor of California, Ronald Reagan.
He briefly considered dentistry when he was returning to school, having an offer to take over a dentistry practise, but as he wryly notes, “no one is ever happy to run into their dentist on the street.”
When asked what his worst injury ever was, “When I was 49, I went into the Senior Pro Rodeo. I went into the bull riding competition the first year in Ponoka, and the second year I got crippled. I pulled my pelvis in two, so I said that’s pretty stupid that I rodeo all those years, then end up in the hospital for 2 weeks with a pelvis pulled in two. It hurt like hell and that’s the worst I was ever hurt.” After that, he didn’t ride anything for a year and then started team roping. Winning the Canadian Senior
Pro Rodeo Association 60 plus team roping heeler 4 times with his heading partner Harold Spady, from 1991-1998, Robinson never slowed down or missed a beat. They also qualified for the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association Finals in Reno, Nevada.
During the 90’s, he also teamed up with CPRA pro cowboy Brian Spady and won the CPRA and PRCA Camrose Spring Rodeo in 5.6 seconds.
Robinson was the first Canadian to serve on the board of the Rodeo Cowboys Association and was President of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association in 2004-2005 when a ten-year contract was signed with Edmonton Northlands for one million dollars in prize money for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, with yearly increases of 250,000 for the remaining years of the contract.
It’s impossible to do Bob Robinson justice in the space of an article, when pages could easily be filled. His career in and out of rodeo has been extraordinary, achieving more than most people dream of.
Bob Robinson likes to say, “rodeo has been good to me,” but it’s safe to say that Bob Robinson has been good for rodeo.
Pictured: Bob Robinson of Millet, Alberta, joins a prestigious and elite company of individuals, as he was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame September 26 & 27, 2014 in Oklahoma City. Photo submitted
See more photos in this week’s paper.