Cowboyway Home Page

Cowboyway Home Page

DISCLOSURE: This page might contain affiliate links. / Photo Of The Day

What Is The History Of The Modern Rodeo Bucking Chute?

The design of the modern rodeo bucking chute was first developed in 1919 by Earl W. Bascom.

Below: Earl Bascom riding a Brahma bull in 1939. A reverse-opening, side-delivery bucking chute can be seen behind him in the photo. This type of bucking chute was designed by Bascom in 1919.

Earl W. Bascom riding a bucking Brahma bull



While many of us are too young to remember, rodeo bucking chutes weren't always the reverse-opening (ie, the rough stock's head is at the hinge), side-delivery bucking chute in use today.

Before the current design, bucking chutes were a "shotgun" style where the rough stock bucked out of a chute pointing straight into the arena, similar to our current timed-event chutes.

Enter a man named Earl W. Bascom, called by many the "Father Of Modern Rodeo" thanks to his numerous inventions and designs used in the sport. These include:

The following article on the history of the modern rodeo bucking chute was written by Earl W. Bascom's son, John Bascom. We thank him for allowing us to share it with you here.

The History Of The Modern Rodeo Bucking Chute

By guest author John Bascom.

In 1919, at the Bascom Ranch on the banks of the Old Man River near Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, the bronc and bull rider Earl W. Bascom designed and made rodeo's first reverse-opening side-delivery bucking chute.

This was an improvement of an older version, a single gate side-delivery bucking chute, made in 1916 by Earl and his brothers, Raymond and Melvin, along with their father John W. Bascom. That rodeo chute of 1916, which Earl Bascom designed, was a modification and improvement of the two-gated shotgun chute that rodeo producer Ray Knight made in 1903 for the Raymond Stampede. Knight's shotgun chute is the first recorded use of a rodeo bucking chute for saddle bronc and steer riding.

A version of Knight's bucking chute was used at the Calgary Stampede starting in 1923, called the "fade-away" which had three gates and took three men to operate.

You might like these items. Or, Article continues below.

These early bucking chute versions all had a safety problem for the cowboy - once a crack of daylight was seen between the partly opened gates, the animal would lunge through it, scraping and banging the rider's knees on the way out.

In 1919, the Bascoms had moved to a ranch east of Lethbridge where they built a rodeo arena and put on rodeos. Earl and his father John W. Bascom were bucking out several saddle broncs when Earl had an idea to save his sore knees - why not reverse the gate so that it hinged at the horse's head and opened at the horse's rear, letting the chute gate swing wide before the horse turns out. They reversed the gate and made the first prototype of the modern rodeo chute, the reverse-opening side-delivery bucking chute.

The popularity of Bascom's bucking chute spread, especially after a bronc riding accident at the Fort Macleod Stampede in 1924. Charlie King rode his saddle bronc out of the shotgun chute, but hooked his foot in the chute gate and was scraped off. Before he hit the ground, the horse kicked Charlie in the head, killing him. Because of that accident and to make the sport of rodeo safer, Ray Knight used his influence as director of the Alberta Stampede Managers Association to have rodeos change their bucking chutes to Bascom's design. Other rodeos followed suit.

Now many years later, Bascom's bucking chute design is the modern standard used around the world at rodeos in North America, Central America and South America, from the Philippines to Japan to New Zealand and Australia, from Europe to South Africa.

You might also like:

Below: Earl W. Bascom, "The Father Of Modern Rodeo."

Portrait of Earl W. Bascom

This article was contributed by guest author John Bascom and is being used with permission.

About The Author

Guest author John Bascom is the son of Earl W. Bascom. We thank him for sharing this article about his father.

For more information about Earl W. Bascom:


What Is / Are...

What Are 5 Of The Biggest Wild West Robberies?

What Are 5 Reasons Horse Trailer Lighting Matters?

What Are 8 Dumb Things To Say To A Horse Lover?

What Are 9 Proven Ways To Keep Flies Off Horses?

What Are Chestnuts and Ergots?

What Are Cowboy Chinks?

What Are Ermine Spots?

What Are Horns?

What Are Horse Blood Marks?

What Are Horse Vaccines and How Do They Work?

What Are Horse Whiskers?

What Are Leads?

What Are The Parts Of A Western Saddle?

What Are Saddle Rigging Positions?

What Are Some Fencing Options?

What Are Some Foods Both Horses And Dogs Can Eat?

What Are Some Horse Fencing Basics?

What Are Some Interesting Horse Facts?

What Are Some Interesting Charts and Graphs With Horse Information?

What Are Some Options For Temporary Horse Fencing?

What Are Slobber Straps?

What Are Synthetic Saddles Made Of?

What Are The Rodeo Catch Pens?

What Are The 10 Best 3-Horse Trailers With Living Quarters In The USA And Canada?

What Are The X's In A Cowboy Hat?

What Are The Three Legal Head Catches?

What Are Wolf Teeth?

What Is The Angle System For Branding?

What Is The Barrel Racing Pattern?

What Is A Bosal?

What Is A Brand?

What Is A Bull Riding Vest Made Of?

What Is A Crow Hop?

What Is Deworming Your Horse?

What Is A Domain Name?
Why would I need one for my farm or ranch even if I don't have or want a website?

What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch?

What Is Flag and National Anthem Etiquette At A Rodeo?

What Is A Slant Load Horse Trailer?

What Is Floating A Horse's Teeth?

What Is Freeze Branding?

What Do Horse Freeze Brands Look Like?

What Is A Galvayne's Groove?

What Is A Gooseneck Trailer Hitch?

What Is A Hack Rein?

What Is A Headstall?

What Is Some History About The First National Finals Rodeo?

What Is The History Of The Modern, Hornless, Bronc Riding Saddle?

What Is The History Of The Modern Rodeo Bucking Chute?

What Is The History Of The One-Hand Bareback Rigging?

What Is The Nasolacrimal Duct In Horses?

What Is A Pony Express Mochila?

What Is Hermann Oak Leather?

What Is Larvicidal De-Worming?

What Is The Flehmen Response?

What Is The Flying Gallop?

What Is The Mark Out Rule?

What Is A Nord Fork?

What Is The Rodeo Return Gate?

What Is Rotational Grazing?

What Is A Safety Tip For Posting The Colors?

What Is A Slick Fork Saddle?

What Is A Spur Ledge?

What Is A Swell Fork Saddle?

You Might Also Like

How To

Horse Tips

Who Was


Molly's Custom Silver uses and recommends Molly's Custom Silver!

FREE Newsletter!
Receive tips, how-to's, and other good stuff. Subscribe now!

Some images and/or other content on this website are copyright © their respective owners.
All other material copyright © 1999 - 2024 by - All Rights Reserved

Menu    About / Contact    Newsletter

Disclosures    Privacy Policy