Inducted in 2001
War Paint, the famed Christensen Brothers pinto bucking bronc, is a 2001 Inductee to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame. Warpaint was born on in the late 1940s (no one is sure of the exact date) on Oregon’s Klammath Indian Reservation. Orrie Sommers sold him to Hank and Bob Christensen, Sr. (ERHOF ’99) at three years of age. They started the 1400 lb. gelding out as a bareback horse but moved him to saddles where, in the 1950s, he achieved world renown for his bucking prowess. In the year 1958, for example, Warpaint appeared twenty-eight times, bucking off twenty-five of the riders. One rodeo historian wrote that many a bronc rider’s comment after “seeing the paint go was–‘That spotted horse is the one I want’–but generally, after a seat on him, they’d be out there checking their eyesight the next time they got a chance to see him go”! Denny Jones, an Oregon State Representative who worked the Pedlelton Roundup as a pick-up man, remembered Warpaint as a bronc in the same league as the immortal pre-World War II-era greats Midnight and Five Minutes to Midnight. “Warpaint was still buckin’ when he was 20 years old,” Jones recalls. During a fifteen year career, Warpaint traveled more than 540,000 miles and received fan mail from all over the world. In 1956, he became the first horse to win the silver mounted halter of “Bucking Horse of the Year.” He retained the Bucking Horse of the Year title in ’57 and ’58. Warpaint was always a crowd pleaser in the Ellensburg Rodeo arena, where champion Deb Copenhaver (ERHOF ’99) noted “That pinto is a sure day-money horse. He just bucks hard and keeps trying.” Bobby and Hank Christensen retired Warpaint at the 1964 Emerald Empire Roundup in their hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Today, Warpaint’s body is displayed in the Pendleton Roundup Hall of Fame, where he is an honored animal Inductee.
See also Christensen Brothers Rodeo Company
Photo courtesy of Northwest Bucking Horse Hall of Fame Facebook Page
Bill Martinelli off Warpaint, Ellensburg, WA 1964