2003 Inductee Contestant Brian Claypool.jpg

Brian Claypool - Contestant
Inducted - October 25, 2003

Brian Claypool

Brian Floyd Claypool accomplished a lot in 25 years, and although his life ended tragically in a plane crash in 1979, the young cowboy had already had what some would call the career of a lifetime.

Born in 1953 to parents Ralph and Ellen Claypool, Brian was considered a “natural athlete”, and excelled in a variety of sports, including amateur wrestling. He entered his first little britches rodeo in Winnipeg, MB in 1965, and in 1967 won the Steer Riding at the Calgary Stampede. He got on his first bull at the age of 14: “That was my birthday present, my father paid the entry fee”, said Claypool in a 1979 interview. “Best birthday present I ever got.”

Brian’s best known accomplishments were in Bull Riding, but he participated in all three rough stock events. He was both the CPRA Permit Award and Amateur Bronc Riding champ in 1972, and between 1972 and 1974 was winning at rodeos north and south of the border in both Bull Riding and Bronc riding, including buckles in both at Pendleton.

In 1974 he began a three year domination of the Bull Riding, winning the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian championship in 75, and both of them in 1976. He also represented Canada twice at the NFR, in 1974 and 1976. Independent minded, Brian liked to win, and took pride in “never making the same mistake twice”.

When the plane carrying Brian and three other pro cowboys went missing in May of 1979, the outpouring of support from the rodeo world was huge. As further proof of his legacy and impact on the sport, he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

The memorial trophy in Brian Claypool’s name bears the following inscription: “Perpetuating the memory of a great Canadian, an outstanding rodeo athlete, always dedicated to the sport of rodeo. A natural gentleman; personifying the modern cowboy. As long as bulls spin, broncs twist and arena dust swirls, the memory of Brian will live on in our hearts. 

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Don Beddoes – Builder
Inducted - October 25, 2003

Don Beddoes

A financial benefactor and true fan of rodeo, Don Beddoes has given more than 30 years a generosity to the sport. Rodeos like Strathmore, Airdrie, Innisfail and Sundre have received community level support and sponsorship from Don, and through his successful business, DBC contractors in Airdrie. Don invested in bucking bulls with Harry Vold in the past and he sponsored many a cowboy with what they needed to keep going down the road. He has been a key figure in establishing and supporting rodeo and rodeo related venues in Southern Alberta, including an arena in Airdrie.

When the Western Heritage Centre was being built in Cochrane, Don and his company were there, providing both a building site and a much needed road to access the facility. He stepped in and in his quiet way with no flag waving, got things done.

Don is quick to share his enthusiasm for rodeo with the people he meets and has been a spectator at every Canadian Finals and 34 National Finals Rodeos....and is still counting. Don has amassed his own following, too, of people who have known they could count on his support and recognize his lifetime of behind the scenes contributing to the building and continuation of rodeo in Alberta.

Said one “fan” of Mr. Beddoes, “He is an extremely fine individual - a good person. You’ll never know all the good he has done for this sport”.

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Paddy Brown – Builder
Inducted -October 25, 2003

Paddy Brown

Paddy joined the Cowboys’ Protective Association in 1950, at the age of 21, and began competing in the saddle bronc, cow milking, and wild horse racing events. Thus began a lifelong association with the sport if rodeo that, unlike most, didn’t end when his competitive years were finished.

A true builder and tireless supporter, Paddy has worked behind the scenes for 40 years to help establish rodeo as a professional sport, and to preserve western heritage and rodeo history for generations to come. In addition to eight years of active competition and 5 years working with stock contractor Harry Vold, in 1963 Paddy got himself involved on the business of rodeo.

He took on the role of secretary-treasurer for the CPA, and carried out for eleven years over a time period of change and conflict for the organization. In his quiet-spoken way he resolved conflict and managed to remain well-liked, two things that don’t go hand in hand. In recognition of his continued devotion of time and energy to rodeo, he received a life membership to the Canadian Professional Rodeo association in 1973.

He helped organize the CPRA Alumni to keep older members in touch, and in 1981 Paddy became one of the founding members of the Canadian Rodeo Historical Association, known today as the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. He remained involved in the executive of the association until recently, including a three year stint as president.

When established, the CRHA’s goal was “to develop a Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame where the history of rodeo can be recorded for all time, and to honour those cowboys, animals, and builders of rodeo who achieved excellence in their field. This year, Paddy is honoured as one of these great people himself.

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Tom Eirikson - Contestant
Inducted -October 25, 2003

Tom Eirikson

Tom Eirikson is an All-Around cowboy in the true sense of the word. He is one of only two cowboys to qualify for the CFR in three events in his career: Tie Down Roping in 1979 - 1982, Saddle Bronc in 1981-1983, and Steer Wrestling in 1983 and 1985. Warm, charismatic and multi-talented, Tom, a.k.a. “Mr. Everything”, was a fan favourite in his competing years, and a great ambassador for the sport of rodeo.

Things started humbly enough for Tom: he remembers competing in a little britches rodeo in Innisfail in the early 60s, in running shoes, no hat and a flank strap for a rope. His can-do attitude didn’t stop there: Tom competed in Bronc riding, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, as well as dabbling in Bareback riding, Cow Milking and Team Roping. “I worked them all because I was never any good at just one”, Tom joked. The record books tell a different story.

Tom took out his pro card in 1977. He made it to seven CFRs in three events and between 1980 and 1987 was a four time Canadian All Around champion and a three time winner of the coveted Linderman Award for top earnings in three events. working both ends of the arena.

A Canadian event title and the National Finals eluded him in his career, though he often gave the ones who edged him out a good run for their money.  Tom understood the importance of promoting and advancing the sport and for a number of years was the spokesperson for Copenhagen/Skoal’s western oriented marketing activities.

After ten years of full time competition, Tom sold his rodeo horses and turned his attention to the motion picture industry, where he is still active today. His special talent for working with animals has lead to work in scores of Hollywood productions. Tom still team ropes and lives in Okotoks.  His three sons, who have learned to swing a rope and ride a bronc from one of the best, have followed Tom’s love of rodeo, all active competitors in rodeo themselves.

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Dwayne Erickson – Builder
Inducted - October 25, 2003

Dwayne Erickson

His own ego rises and falls with the success of his subject. His dedication to his craft is all consuming. He is a font of knowledge current and past, the source when the history books have failed you. Such is the relationship of writer Dwayne Erickson and the sport of rodeo.

Dwayne started writing in high school, and now had more than six decades of experience in journalism, having worked for a variety of print, TV and radio media in western Canada over the years. When asked to cover a rodeo for the Edmonton Journal in1956, he went under protest, saying he “didn’t know the front end of a horse from the back”. Interactions with Harry Vold, Reg Kesler and Herman Linder piqued his interest in the sport, though, and as an assistant to Keith Hyland he learned the ropes.

He began writing a “Behind the Chutes” column for Canadian Rodeo News in 1983, the same year he helped produce the first Canadian Pro Rodeo media guide. Twenty years later, both of these publications still strongly bear the stamp of his influence.

Dwayne is one of the only writers in North America who covered rodeo day in and day out, and his writing was honest and personal. His stories dug deep, reflecting the trust he has established over the years with contestants, contractors and committees. Dwayne received the Jimmy Brown Memorial Award for rodeo publicity and promotion in 1984 and earned the respect and admiration of those who followed him in putting rodeo in the public eye.

“What I tried to do is explain that cowboys are not million dollar hockey players or football players”, said Erickson. “They are good, everyday people who have the greatest sense of community that I have ever seen. It makes me so proud of this sport, because there isn’t a moment when they wouldn’t stick out their hand and help, in competition and in life. Rodeo is a life teacher”. Dwayne Erickson is a teacher of rodeo.

Dwayne passed away in April 2013 from cancer. There was a tribute to his life on May 15, 2013 on the Calgary Stampede Grounds, Dwayne’s favorite rodeo of them all. Contestants, family, and friends from all walks of life paid tribute to a great man that cannot be replaced. 

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High Chaparral – Animal
Inducted - October 25, 2003

High Chaparral H1

If there’s such a thing as being too talented, Bar T Rodeo Ltd.’s H1 High Chaparral may have had this flaw. The 1300 pound grey gelding was so immense and powerful in his heyday that some bareback riders would turn him out if they drew him. They called him “man-eater” and with good reason. “Getting on him is like tying your hand to a 1300 pound anvil and dropping it off the third floor of an apartment building”, said three time Canadian bareback champion Jim Dunn.

High Chaparral was born in 1983 on the Shapley ranch north of Maple Creek, and they put him to work, but he was never quite trustworthy as a working horse. He was picked up at the age of four by stock contractor Don Peterson of McCord, SK, with the stipulation that if the grey went to the NFR next year, the Shapley’s would be there too. Mr. Peterson found himself shelling out for those two extra tickets in 1988, when High Chapparal was number two bareback at the Vegas year end event.

He was once the CPRA bareback of the year, twice the bareback horse of CFR, twice the bareback horse of NFR, and twice the World Champion bareback horse. Included in these accolades was the year 1992, when High Chaparral achieved a rare “triple crown” as bareback of the CFR, the NFR and the World.

In 1995 Peterson’s sold High Chaparral to U.S. stock contractor Mike Cervi for a reported $25,000, a record at that time. High Chaparral’s legacy in Canadian rodeo is a little different than most. As much as he’s remembered for his great rides, he’s also notable for the number of time cowboys saw his name next to theirs on the draw sheet.

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Lee Phillips - Contestant
Inducted - October 25, 2003

Lee Phillips

So speedy was timed-event cowboy Lee Phillips at getting the job done that more than 25 years later, his name still appears in the record books in both calf roping and steer wrestling. The "big man from Carseland" holds the fastest time in Canadian calf roping history at 5.7 seconds, and for a while was the fastest-ever steer wrestler, too, at three seconds flat

Although the calf-roping time was, by Lee's own admittance, a bit of a fluke, and the three-second steer wrestling run has been eclipsed by a few at 2.9, the Phillips name is still revered as a legend of rodeo.

Born in 1944, Lee didn't take out full membership in the pro leagues until he was almost 3O, but one could argue that he was just warming up, honing his skills in the FCA. In 1973 he burst onto the pro scene as the CRCA rookie of the year, and in 1974 he received the same title from the PRCA.

He earned his way to the Canadian Finals in both steer wrestling and calf roping in 1974, and walked away with the Canadian championship in the dogging that year after dominating the regular season. Another steer wrestling Canadian championship followed in 1976, and Lee set his two time records in 1976 and 1978. After nine CFR qualifications, and three years as CPRA president from 1983-1985, Lee retired from active competition in 1986. His horse, Duce, continued to win him acclaim, and was steer wrestling horse of the year for three more years after that, for a record tying total of five times.

Once retired from rodeo competition, Lee still didn't slow down, having worked off and on as wranglers in Hollywood films and TV shows. A big part of Lee's success in rodeo was his special bond with his bulI dogging horses, and now he trains horses for others to win on.

So, does a legendary cowboy like Phillips have any regrets when looking back on his career? Just one. "I went to every rodeo Lethbridge ever had," sighed Lee, "both spring and summer. Never won a dime."