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FRANK WOOD

Inducted in 1997

Frank Wood was the first All-Around Champion of the Ellensburg Rodeo. A native of Idaho, Wood moved to the Kittitas Valley in 1922 and worked as a ranch hand. He worked on the Phil Adams ranch (Adams later briefly served as arena director for the Ellensburg Rodeo) and worked for the Coffin brothers running sheep and cattle in the Wenas. Wood immediately gained a reputation around Ellensburg and the Pacific Northwest as a top hand and genuine buckaroo.

When he wasn’t running cattle and sheep, Frank Wood was rodeoing. Wood worked “both sides of the arena,” competing roping calves as well as riding saddle broncs. He was one of the finest bronc riders on the 1920s circuit, winning buckles in Pendleton, Calgary, Vancouver, BC, and other smaller rodeos. Wood’s greatest triumph was his ride on Midnight, one of the rankest broncs in the history of North American rodeo. Wood rode Midnight in Vancouver BC in 1927 (Midnight’s body is now buried on the grounds of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City). Wood later broke his leg riding broncs and turned exclusively to calf roping in the 1930s.

In Ellensburg, Frank Wood won the saddle broncs in ‘23 and ‘25, and the calf roping in ‘37. But, as noted, his main claim to fame is his All-Around title in the first-ever 1923 Ellensburg Rodeo. After that, locals always regarded him as a “Champion Buckaroo” and Wood briefly took advantage of his fame by opening a “riding academy” on the corner of 3rd and Main. Reportedly, numerous Normal School girls took riding lessons from Frank Wood in what they called his “Fashion Barn.” When he was not competing, Frank Wood served the rodeo as a volunteer pickup man.