Inducted in 1997
Inducted in 2002
Born in Dodge City, Kansas in 1929, young Dean Oliver moved with his parents Vernon and Vesper to Nampa, Idaho in the 1930s. After the untimely death of his father, eleven-year old Dean began roping, first practicing on dairy calves and later entering rodeos and going professional as a calf roper and bulldogger. He joined the RCA is 1953. During a two decade career, from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, Oliver garnered ten world championship buckles, winning the All-Around Championship in 1963, 1964, and 1965. His record of gross earnings stood unbroken for nearly two decades.
The durability of Oliver’s money-winning records is especially surprising because purses were low in the mid-1950s when he first began to win consistently. He possessed an expertise in the sport that still awes professional cowboys. His calf-roping technique resembled what Willard Porter calls a “chocolate-syrup smoothness. His runs on his good horses–Mickey, Vernon, and a few others–were so coordinated that it was impossible to fault him. From chute-box to tie-down, he made it look easy….” This expertise enabled Oliver to win “bunches” of rodeos consecutively, piling up huge winnings and catapulting him to the top of prize-winners.
In Ellensburg, Dean Oliver became a crowd favorite as he won the calf roping competitions in ‘62, ‘63, ‘64, and ‘71.
When he quit calf-roping, Dean Oliver remained active in rodeo on the “administrative” end of the business as the PRCA Calf Roping Director. He moved from Nampa to Boise, where he now resides.