Rodeo, at its core, is a competition of man and beast. Whether a cowboy is working with an animal or against it depends on the event, but either way, the animal is critical to the outcome. For this reason, good stock is fundamental to a good rodeo. As with the contending cowboys and cowgirls, these animals are trained as professional athletes.
“I would rather see a horse, that I raised, buck more than anything in the world!” Marvin Brookman, stock contractor, was fond of saying.
For more than sixty years, he was happy doing just that— producing some of the best bucking horses Montana has ever seen. In 1935, he established his “Born to Buck” breeding program, made up of 150 hand-selected horses, which went on to sire legendary broncos like Powder Face and Brookman’s Velvet. (Powder Face was sent to a special performance rodeo that was attended by President Ronald Reagan, while Brookman’s Velvet earned the title of 1980 PRCA Saddle Bronc of the Year.)
In 1941, Brookman began contracting for the Wild Horse Stampede in his hometown of Wolf Point. Each year, he and a crew of around ten cowboys would trail the bucking stock to the “Stampede Grounds” (as they were then called). He quickly became known as an exceptional stock contractor, and he traveled the state, producing rodeos for other communities as well. Respect for Brookman reached all levels of professional rodeo, from the contestants to his peers. (The Assiniboine Sioux even made him an honorary member in 1987 and gave him the name “Rider of the Horse.”)
The National Finals Rodeo has featured Brookman Rodeo bucking stock nearly every year since its debut in 1959.
In 1992, Wolf Point’s “Stampede Grounds” were renamed the Marvin Brookman Stadium in honor of the man who took their smalltown rodeo and helped to elevate it to one of the best in the state. For the 75th Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede in 1998, Brookman was named the Grand Marshall and a wagon train was organized to trail the Brookman bucking horses from his ranch at Buzzard’s Glory.
Brookman received numerous stock awards from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals. He produced rodeos all over the country, but his heart was in producing rodeos in the Treasure State.
Brookman passed in 2006, leaving behind a legacy of Western values. His granddaughter, Cathy, and her husband, Dave Wieferich, continue to operate Brookman Rodeo, carrying on the family tradition of producing first-rate bucking horses and outstanding rodeos.
Marvin Brookman was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2013. For more information, visit montanacowboyfame.org.