LARRY WYATT (192?-1997)
Inducted in 1997
Larry Wyatt was born a cowboy. Born and raised in the Kittitas Valley, he never much cared for school, instead preferring the pace and quiet of the semiarid hills surrounding Ellensburg or the tranquility of the Whiskey Dick. That’s where you would find him, alone or in the cow camps, when he wanted time to think or whenever, as a youth, there was trouble, at school or at home.
Larry started traveling the rodeo circuit at the age of thirteen with Ott McEwen and a few other local cowboys in the 1940s. That was back when there were still many competing Cowboy Turtles, the storied founders of today’s PRCA. In the 1950s and 1960s (after a stint in the Army cavalry as a mule trainer) Larry’s passion took him all over the country, from rodeo to rodeo, traveling with famed cowboys like Gene Pruett, Bill Linderman, and other national champions. Larry was “goin’ down that road hard,” as he liked to say, working both ends of the arena. He successfully rode bulls, bareback broncs, and saddle broncs in addition to his renowned time-events, calf roping and steer wrestling. Larry’s real passion was steer wrestling atop his great horse Banjo; he also loved bareback riding. In all of the pictures you see of Larry he always had a big grin on his face–he loved his rodeos.
Larry Wyatt won many go-rounds, event titles, and All-Around Championships across the U.S and Canada, including Walla Walla and Stetler. He tied for the ‘66 Ellensburg bulldogging championship and, at the Omak Stampede, he won the steer wrestling buckle an amazing nine years in a row. Larry’s last rodeo was at Omak in 1983 where, on a bet from an old hand, he rode and was thrown from a bucking bronc. He got up with that characteristic grin on his face but his wife Donna remembers that night he could climb out of their car only with great difficulty.
In the meantime Larry and Donna became stock contractors, traveling the rodeo road and ultimately becoming pivotal players in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Circuit. They supplied horses for one Oklahoma City National Finals Rodeo and several of its Canadian equivalents in Calgary. They bought a ranch on Saddle Mountain, in the semiarid foothills Larry loved so well, and raised cattle, quarter horses, and rodeo stock (most notably the champion bronc Lady Lucky.) Larry also ran a taxi business, and he drove stagecoach in the Ellensburg Rodeo during his final years.
Larry’s beloved horse Banjo was buried near Old Highway 10 on the Wyatt ranch, where Larry was himself laid to rest in April of 1997.