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Raymond Knight & Earl Bascom

Biography

Oscar "Raymond" Knight - Pioneer Award; Rodeo Athlete/Builder    Raymond, AB
Earl W. Bascom - Pioneer Award; Rodeo Athlete/Builder Lethbridge, AB

Raymond Knight and Earl Bascom pioneered the sport of rodeo in Canada in the early 1900's and helped build it for almost 40 years. Ray started the Raymond Stampede in 1902 and the first "professional" stampede in Canada in 1903. He introduced calf roping to Canadian rodeo and was the "World Champion" calf roper at Calgary in 1924 and 1926. Ray invented the bronc riding chute in 1903. Earl and his brothers adapted the design in 1916 to create the first side-delivery chute. Earl designed rodeo's first hornless bronc saddle (1922), the first one-handed bareback rigging (1924), and high cut riding chaps.

Raymond Knight was placed in charge of the family's large ranching operation in southern Alberta. He had more rodeo stock than anyone else in rodeo history with 2,000 bucking horses. Considered the "Father of Canadian Calf Roping", after bringing the event to Canada, Ray won the Tom Campbell Trophy and was crowned World Champion at the North American Calf Roping Championship at Calgary in 1924. He was also awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy. He won his second North American Calf Roping Championship at the Calgary Stampede in 1926. Ray's design of the first bronc riding chute in 1903 was a two-gated shotgun-style chute. He was inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1982.

Earl was a rodeo contestant from 1916 to 1940. He was always looking for ways to improve the equipment, and is considered one of the greatest innovators in rodeo history and one of Canada's greatest inventors. Many of his innovations are now standard rodeo equipment. After Earl and his brothers adapted Ray's chute design in 1916, Earl and his father modified the design in 1919 by reversing the chute gate so that it hinged by the horse's head, forcing the horse to turn as it left the chute. This action made it much safer for the cowboy as he exited the chute.

Earl was an extremely skilled artist, cowboy and rodeo producer. He helped put on rodeos including the "first rodeo to use electric lights in an outdoor arena". He was a member of the Cowboys Turtle Association (now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association). He was awarded honorary memberships in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and the PRCA. Besides being a bareback, saddle bronc and bull rider, he was a chute man, hazer, pickup man, trick rider, bullfighter/clown and announcer. He also competed in steer wrestling and steer decorating where he set a world record time in 1933. Earl was inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.