Pete Knight - First Contestant Inducted into The Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame.
November 15, 1981
Peter Charles Knight
Peter Charles Knight was born May 5, 1903 in Philadelphia, the youngest in a family of English-Irish immigrants. A farm in Stroud, Oklahoma was their home until 1914, when they moved to the Crossfield, Alberta area to homestead. Pete's rodeo career started when he rode in his hometown at 15, winning second monies in bronc riding both days.
The farm work was heavy, but by the time Pete was 20 his two older brothers, Robbie and Walter, who were not rodeo minded. They took over the responsibilities, and Pete headed out to break into the big league. After successfully competing at several smaller shows, Pete entered Calgary in 1923, however he did not compete as a bad fall in the parade left him with a severe leg injury. He returned to the farm to heal up, and in the spring of 1924 struck out again making quite a name for himself, particularly when he conquered the great horse "Midnight" in Montreal in 1926.
Among the many awards won by Pete Knight, was the coveted "Prince of Wales" trophy, awarded annually at the Calgary Stampede to the champion bronc rider. Once a cowboy's name was on the trophy three times it was his to keep. The inspiration of this challenge stimulated Pete and he succeeded in winning the event in 1927, 1930 and the trophy was his to keep with another win in 1933.
Pete met his untimely death at a rodeo in Hayward, California, May 23, 1937. A horse named Duster had reared high out of the chute and then pulled Pete down, slamming his chest into the saddle horn. Pete kept trying to get off and finally landed on his hands and knees. His last known words were "Perry, I'm hurt". Perry Ivory being the arena director). Pete was carried behind the chutes by fellow cowboys and succumbed to his injuries of a pierced lung and massive hemorrhaging. Bud Batteate, a fellow contestant, had just ridden, and Pete had pulled the gate for him. Upon conclusion of his ride, Bud hurried over to the chutes to watch Pete ride Duster. Pete was older than Bud and was the young cowboys’ idol. Bud remembered that day in May, as Pete was carrying his baby girl around, proud as a peacock. She was not even one month old! Bud was honored at the NFR in 2011, along with ten other cowboys, as being the surviving group of original Turtle Association. Bud contacted the CRHA, and wanted the true record of Pete's last ride recorded correctly for history's value. The CRHA thanked him for his recollections and for his friendship to Canada's rodeo hero, Pete Knight.
The fantastic ability of Pete never went unnoticed. He was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, the Pro rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, and the Horsemens' Hall of Fame in Calgary. He was enshrined in song by Wilf Carter and was memorialized by the opening of the Pete Knight Arena in Crossfield. Even now many years after his passing he is still regarded as the greatest bronc rider of them all.
Midnight - First Animal Inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame.
November 15, 1981
The tales of Midnight have been a topic of conversation for nearly 70 years. There may always be arguments among those cowboys who "almost" rode him, and the few who did.
This great black gelding was foaled on the Cottonwood Ranch in the Porcupine Hills, west of Fort Macleod, Alberta, in 1916. His mother was a thoroughbred mare; his sire a Percheron/Morgan cross.
His owner, Jim McNab broke him as a three year old for a saddle horse using him for cow-horse in range work for two years. Midnight's temperament was so unpredictable that even after a two-day ride, he was still ready to buck you off at the home gate.
By 1920 Jim McNab had had enough and decided to try him as a bucking horse at some of the local rodeos around the country. He was entered in Calgary in 1924 and his reputation continued to grow as he bucked off all contestants until Pete Knight rode him in Montreal in 1926.
In 1928 Midnight was sold to Colonel Jim Skew who held Wild West Shows and Rodeos in the eastern USA. He in turn sold the horse to Eddie McCarthy and Vern Elliott of Wyoming and Colorado. Midnight was featured at all the major rodeos in the country and was retired at the conclusion of the Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1933. However, McCarty and Elliot took an expedition to London, England in 1934; Midnight, for this special trip, was once again in the draw.
He died at the Denver Rodeo in November 1936 and was buried on the McCarty-Elliott Ranch in Johnstown, Colorado. Later his remains were moved to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
On July 9, 1967, Jim McNab officially opened the Midnight Stadium in Fort MacLeod, Alberta in recognition of this great horse.