Walter Alsbaugh (1918-1992), Colorado
Rodeo was Walt Alsbaugh’s life for more than 60 years. He won the tie-down roping title in Monte Vista, Colo., when he was 13, and again 22 years later. During those years he competed in every event except bareback riding. and was one of the first men to ride bucking horses “Midnight” and “Five Minutes to Midnight.” He was the first bull rider to use a braided handhold in his bull rope.
Walt Alsbaugh Rodeo began with the purchase of three professional stock contracting companies and produced his first rodeo in 1953. Alsbaugh, born Nov. 15, 1918, raised 75 percent of his bucking stock. His bucking horses and bulls were selected for the National Finals Rodeo every year but one since the first NFR in 1959. He was the first contractor for the 101 Ranch Rodeos, which he produced until 1990. Walt also provided stock for a number of Western county fairs, high school, college and all-Indian rodeos. He was the Turquoise Circuit Stock Contractor of the Year three times.
Always searching for new talent, he was instrumental in helping new specialty acts and bull fighters get their start. He was named the 1981 International Rodeo Fans Man of the Year, 1986 PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1990 and The Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2009.
Stories from The Ranch:
When Walter was only 14, he took off from the ranch with a herd of horses. Headed out to do some horse trading, and hopefully make some money for he and his mom. His dad had recently died and money was short. So he headed out, East toward Blanca, through Fort Garland and clear down to San Luis. Along the way he had traded or sold every horse. He headed home with a pocket full of money, and his trusty saddle horse. It’s here that the story gets really interesting.
As he headed home a man stopped him, and offered to buy his good looking saddle horse and the saddle to boot. The offer the man made was too good, and the deal was done. However, Walter was now a foot, and almost 50 miles from home. He bought two unbroken horses from another horse trader and turned toward home, but the horses were wild and wouldn’t stop bucking. Being the ingenious boy that he was, he found a way to solve that problem. He put halters on the horses, tied their heads, and tails together and straddled them both. Now they had to pull on one another to buck or rear. Only one problem remained, How to steer this crazy pair back to the ranch. The answer, chickens of course! He bought two chickens and if he wanted the horses to turn right, he used the chickens to scare the horse on the left and vise a versa. It must have been a wild sight to see a boy of fourteen astraddle two leaping horses a chicken in each hand, a giant smile on his face not to mention a pocket full of money, well earned.
In 1976, Roy and Virginia carried on the rodeo tradition by birthing The Honeycutt Rodeo Company. Roy Honeycutt had no idea it would turn out this way. As a former rodeo contestant and producer, all he did was take the things he liked and incorporated them into his own outfit. Since 1976, Honeycutt Rodeo Stock Contractors have been one of the few rodeo stock contractors to have been a part of every National Finals Rodeo.. Four generations of horses can be seen running the high plains of our Alamosa Colorado ranch, waiting their turn to show what they’ve got. "Some of the best stock in the rodeo business are raised here". As rodeo stock contractors we have an annual goal, simply put, "To provide the horse and or bull of the year, every year, from our own breeding program. We have around 200 horses and 40 bulls on our 3,000 plus acre ranch in southern Colorado. The blood line on some of our colts go way back to the Alsbaugh's Spark Plug who was the Bareback Horse of the National Finals Rodeo in 1974. Our most recent addition bought at the Benny Binion's Horse and Bull Sale is the Canadian 8 year old Stud Dodger, renamed to Colorado Coconut, who is the direct son of World Champion Granted Coconut. Also in our horse breading program is "Sparrow Hawk" from the Bar T Rodeo. Sparrow Hawk is the son of Roanie, the Saddle Bronc horse of the National Finals Rodeo in 1990. In 2000 we started our own Bull Breeding Program with "Candy Man".36 years later, the 4th generation of Honeycutt cowboys take pride in the Rodeo Business and in the Livestock they raise.
In 2010, Honeycutt Rodeo was proud to receive the Family Heritage Award from The WPRA. No Award could better sum it up.
“Heritage and Tradition have and always will be very important to me and to my family.”
From my Grandfather- Walt Alsbaugh- I learned that Rodeo was not only a way to make a living, but also more importantly a way of life. From my Dad- Roy Honeycutt- I have learned how to put on a Top Notch, Fast Paced, and High Quality Professional Rodeo. 60 years after Walt’s dream of Professional Rodeo Began, The Family Tradition Continues in Honeycutt Rodeo.
“I look forward to carrying on the tradition of producing top notch rodeos.” We are looking forward to what the next 60 years holds for Honeycutt Rodeo!!