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National Rodeo Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1979
Jesse Stahl

Jesse Stahl



Saddle Bronc Rider
Steer Wrestler

Born between 1879 and 1883, Black cowboy Jesse Stahl left Tennessee for California and became one of the state’s greatest rodeo riders. His most famous ride occurred at the Salinas Rodeo in 1912 on Glass Eye. He also invented “hoolihanding,” a technique where a bull was wrestled to the ground after jumping onto its back from a horse.

One of the few African-Americans in early-day rodeo, Jesse Stahl was a tremendous performer. Quick, coordinated, and very, very tough, he conquered the rankest buckers and bulldogged the orneriest bulls of his day. He always placed at or near the top at all of the major rodeos–New York, Pendleton, Salinas–but was usually under-ranked because of his color. Stahl nevertheless earned the respect and admiration of other rodeo hands.

Said one contemporary, “He was a great bronc rider, but he is most remembered for winning first, but getting third.” A true champion, Stahl rodeoed until at least 1929 and died in Salinas, California in 1935.

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