BOSQUE BOY (1961-1991)
Inducted in 1997
When the subject of great rodeo animals comes up, non-cowboys often think only of the broncs and bulls of roughstock events. But in Ellensburg, a town steeped in the ways of cattle country, there is profound respect for the rodeo horses who do actual ranch work–the roping, bulldogging, and cow cutting horses that work in every rodeo performance. The Ellensburg Rodeo, unlike some rodeos, spotlights its cow cutting horses, staging an actual cow cutting demonstration in front of the main grandstand during the regular rodeo performance. Over the past 75 years, great cow cutting horses such as Lo Driver’s Yankee have shown appreciative rodeo crowds the skill with which range horses go about their daily work in working and rounding up cattle, and cutting them from the herd.
Ward Hobbs’ Bosque Boy is one of the greatest cow cutting horses in the Pacific Northwest and, arguably, all of the trans-Mississippi West. Bosque Boy was born April 16, 1961 on Bosque Farms, about 20 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ward Hobbs, then a New Mexico rancher, picked him out of a herd of 15 colts and bought him for friends, Dale and Meg Burnworth. “At two years old I broke him and worked some cattle on him,” Hobbs remembers. “Then at 3 we really got into cow cutting. I bought him and brought him with me to Ellensburg when we moved there” in the late 1960s.
When Hobbs first worked the cow cutting exhibition at the 1969 Ellensburg Rodeo Posse Night Show, locals saw what an extraordinary cutting horse Bosque Boy really was. “He was smart and cat-quick,” Hobbs remembers, and so too do thousands of rodeo fans. His neck pointed downward and his ears pinned straight back in utmost concentration, Bosque Boy intimidated the cattle as much as he pleased the crowd. He was all business, and yet obviously took great pleasure his work and in the applause of the crowd. Bosque Boy appeared in his first Ellensburg Rodeo in that same year, 1969, and he worked the rodeo every year after that until 1990. There were many great cow cutting horses in the Ellensburg Rodeo, Lo Driver remembers, but “Bosque always stole the show.”
The Ellensburg Rodeo Board honored Bosque Boy in 1986 by dedicating the rodeo to him; it awarded Hobbs the same honor in 1993. In the 1990 show, the crowd gave Bosque Boy and Hobbs a standing ovation. After Bosque was retired, Hobbs rode his offspring, Bosque’s Shawdow, in the rodeo until 1993. Meanwhile, Hobbs remembers, Bosque “went to rest on September 27, 1991. I bet there aren’t many men to cut cattle on the same horse for 28 1/2 years.”
Hobbs concludes, “I could write or talk for a week in his praise and not get it all said. As far as I am concerned, God made one horse and let me be his rider.”