Coteau Hills Cowboy

1992 Brian Claypool

Did you know the Beechy Western Days logo was fashioned from a photograph of Brian Claypool on the bull, “Doodle Gibbs”? In 1992, Brian was honoured as the Coteau Hills Cowboy at the 25th Beechy rodeo. He was nominated to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame by Beechy Western Days rodeo committee at that time.

Brian was born in Lucky Lake Hospital on September 22, 1953, the second child of seven to Ralph and Ellen Claypool. He grew up with his family in Saskatoon where his parents operated Claypool’s Saddlery.

Brian’s interest in rodeo blossomed at an early age when he entered buckin’ pony events at rodeos where his Dad was entered in the chuckwagon races. At age 13, Brian was competent enough to win the Calgary Stampede Boy’s Steer Riding over 97 other young riders. With the win came the coveted Charlie Beil bronze plaque.

By 1968 Brian decided it was time to launch his bull riding career so he entered the very first annual Beechy Western Days rodeo. He returned in 1969 and, at age 15, won the event. After graduating from E.D. Feehan High School in Saskatoon, where he was named Athlete of the Year in 1972, and where he was the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan High School Wrestling Champion in the 130-pound class, he turned all his efforts to becoming a fulltime rodeo cowboy.

 

Claypool’s record in Canada is outstanding. He was the Canadian Novice Champion in Saddle Bronc in 1972 and high point winner, year-end leader in Bull Riding in 1974, 1975 and 1976. Brian was the Calgary Stampede Bull Riding Champion in 1974 and 1975. Also in 1975, he set a record for most money won in Bull Riding in a single season in Canada. Claypool qualified for four consecutive Canadian Finals Rodeos from 1974 to 1977. Internationally, Brian qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in Bull Riding in 1974 and 1976. He was the champion in Bull Riding (1972) and Saddle Bronc (1974) at the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon. He also won the All Around Cowboy award at Moses Lake, Washington in 1972 and Lewiston, Idaho in 1973.

In 1976 Brian won the Guy Weadick Award at the Calgary Stampede for “the cowboy most symbolic of the western spirit in action”. It is fitting that Brian is the subject of Beechy Western Days logo. Each fall the bull is branded with the year indicating the number of Beechy rodeos.

Brian died tragically in May 1979 when the small plane he was flying in to a rodeo, crashed in the Northwest United States. Brian had led the way for Saskatchewan rodeo athletes to make a real impact on the rodeo world.

In 2001, Brian was inducted posthumously into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for his contribution to rodeo. That same year, the second performance of the rodeo, September 22, observed what would have been Brian’s 48th birthday. Bull rider, Bert Thompson, competed at the 34th annual rodeo and won the Brian Claypool Memorial Trophy donated by Brian’s grandmother and long time Beechy resident, Ida Kenyon.

A card was received from Ralph and Ellen Claypool with the following message: “We were very honoured when Brian was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame this past June. We want to thank the hard working and dedicated Beechy Rodeo Committee who made it all possible. Over the years, we think that this rodeo committee has been exceptional. Thank you all again.”