A 100 year old rodeo saddle has brought international honors to the late Mississippi cowboy Earl W. Bascom.
Designed and made back in 1922 by Earl Bascom, the unique saddle made rodeo history as rodeo's first hornless bronc riding saddle.
Cowboys called it the "mulee," naming it for a hornless cow. Earl Bascom was the first inductee into the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame, and most recently, inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and made a member of Canada's Order of Sports - the only rodeo champion so honored.
Some 100 years after Bascom made his unique rodeo saddle, the design has become the standard saddle used at rodeos and rodeo associations around the world - throughout the United States and Canada, all the way down to New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania, and over to South Africa and Europe.
In 1935, Earl and his younger brother Weldon Bascom, who were born in Utah but raised in Canada, and were at the time students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, came to Mississippi where they worked on the B Bar H cattle ranch near the settlement of Arm in Lawrence County, and produced the first rodeo in Columbia, Marion County.
The Bascom boys stayed in town long enough to marry two Mississippi girls from Columbia – Weldon married Rose Flynt in 1937 and Earl married Nadine Diffey in 1939.
Bascom's rodeo saddle of 1922 was only part of his inventory of rodeo equipment designs and innovations, which include rodeo's modern bucking chute made in 1919, rodeo's bareback rigging made in 1924 and the modern rodeo riding chaps made in 1926. In 1936, Bascom designed and helped build Mississippi's first permanent rodeo arena and grandstands in the town of Columbia.
Declared by historians to be rodeo's greatest inventor of rodeo equipment and the “Father of Modern Rodeo,” Bascom's inventions help rodeo become a professional sport, a sport now popular on almost ever continent of the world and held in such exotic places like Beirut, Lebanon and Russia.
Declared a “Sports Legend,” Bascom was famous not only for his career as a rodeo champion, but also for his career as a cowboy artist and sculptor. Bascom has been noted to be the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor, and called the “Master Cowboy Artist of the Deep South.”
Some of Bascom's art work is now hanging in the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame headquartered in Columbia, where a permanent display of the modern rodeo saddle and other examples of Bascom's rodeo innovations is in the planning stages.
Earl Bascom's oldest son, Glen Bascom, is a horse breeder in Arlington, TN. Glen's son, Glen II, tried his hand as a bull rider.