Inducted in 2008
Northwest restaurant entrepreneur and rancher Stuart Anderson made Ellensburg his adopted home in the early 1970s, establishing a ranch in the west valley to advertise his Stuart Anderson Black Angus Cattle Company franchise. An active Ellensburg Rodeo sponsor and host, Anderson was instrumental in televising the Ellensburg Rodeo.
He was born in Tacoma, Washington, of Swedish and Scottish parents, Dr. Roger and Susan Carver Anderson. Although Anderson aspired to be a cattle rancher from his early youth, his life initially took a different course. After graduation from Tacoma’s Stadium High School, he served as a tank driver in General Patton’s famed World War II Army Corps. Returning home, he bought and managed a hotel and restaurant in what he describes as a “rough and tumble Seattle neighborhood.” This ultimately led to the first “Stuart Anderson Black Angus” restaurant, a western-themed steak house that grew to phenomenal success throughout the American West in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.
During these decades, Stuart Anderson shepherded his “Black Angus Cattle Company” to encompass 122 steakhouses, employing more than 10,000 people, and annually grossing $260 million dollars. Known for quality, affordable beef served in a friendly, western- themed setting, Anderson’s restaurants perfectly dovetailed his lifelong ambition to own and to run a cattle ranch.
His 2600-acre Black Angus Cattle Company Ranch, perched alongside Interstate 90 in western Kittitas County, soon became a showplace and calling card for his growing restaurant chain. Here, in the 1970s and 80s, Anderson learned and honed irrigation skills and raised registered and commercial cattle, sheep, and horses.
The adopted eastern Washingtonian immediately became involved in the Ellensburg Rodeo. In 1972, Anderson invited friends and rodeo volunteers to a western style barbeque at his Black Angus Ranch “party barn,” an event that continues as a rodeo tradition to this day. Anderson also served as the Ellensburg Rodeo Parade’s Grand Marshal; in 1984 his Clydesdale pulling horses were featured in the Ellensburg Rodeo’s six-horse hitch exhibition event.
“Some of Stuart Anderson’s greatest contributions to our rodeo,” states Hall of Fame board member Joel Smith, “were his sponsorships, and especially his promotions televising the Ellensburg Rodeo.” Prior to 1982, the Ellensburg Rodeo was one of the few top North American rodeos that had not been televised. “Stuart made it happen in 1982,” Smith recalls, “with a generous prize purse supplement, a television advertising contract, and numerous regional promotions.”
Meanwhile, Anderson continued his business career and became involved in myriad professional and community service endeavors. He wrote a book entitled Here’s The Beef! and served on the boards of Washington State 4-H, Washington Restaurant Association, Senior Housing Assistance Group, and Washington State Cancer Drive. He was also voted National Restaurant Association “Man of the Year.”