Saddle Bronc Riding • Inducted 1992
Deb Copenhaver, considered one of the greatest bronc riders to come out of the Pacific Northwest, was born Jan 21, 1925, in Wilbur, Wash. Copenhaver was just a kid when he started breaking horses and exercising racehorses. His rodeo career took a backseat to World War II when he enlisted in the Seabees at age 17. By 1948 Copenhaver was back on the rodeo trail full time, and by the early 1950s he was winning consistently. He won the big ones – Calgary in 1953, 1955 and 1958; Madison Square Garden in 1952 and 1955; Pendleton (Ore.) in 1954; Salinas (Calif.) in 1952; Denver in 1956; and Fort Worth (Texas) in 1954. Copenhaver won world saddle bronc riding titles in 1955 and 1956. To win his 1955 title, Copenhaver traveled more than 90,000 miles to both coasts, Canada and as far south as San Antonio. One weekend he chartered a plane to enter seven rodeos in five states (four of which ran concurrently). Copenhaver’s world championships were due to his dedicated concentration to what it takes to be a good rider. He did his best to score the highest possible marking on every bronc he drew. He served on the PRCA Board of Directors from 1986-89.
World championships: 2 (1955-56)
Born January 21, 1925 in Wilbur, Washington
Died February 7, 2019 in Creston, Washington