Bob Wegner was one of the greatest bull riding stars in an era populated with the likes of Jim Shoulders, Harry Tompkins, Freckles Brown and Ronnie Rossen. Over an 11-year span from 1956-1966, Wegner finished among the top five bull riders in the world standings 10 times, earning a gold buckle in 1964 and setting an event record – later tied by Ted Nuce – by claiming four reserve world championships (1958-59, 1961, 1966).
Wegner shared the National Finals Rodeo average title with Rossen in 1964 and won it outright two years later, claiming the Todd Whatley Memorial Award as the top NFR money earner of 1966.
The Ponca City, Okla., native joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association, precursor to the PRCA, in 1953 and, despite suffering a broken back a year later when a horse fell on him at a rodeo in Henderson, Texas, Wegner quickly earned his place among the elite of the cowboy sport.
He won multiple titles at many of the sport’s biggest rodeos, including three each at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days (1961-63) and the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up (1960-61, 1964), along with wins at Boston Garden and the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo.
In his prime, Wegner could use his feet – and get out of a jam – as well as anyone since Shoulders was at his peak. Bull riders also talked about the way “Weg,” as he was known by his contemporaries, could use his inside leg – pulling it high like a jockey – and let the bull throw him back up when he started down, inside a spin.
World championships: 1 (1964)
Born March 10, 1934 in Ponca City, Okla.
Died March 30, 2014 in Bandera, Texas