Rodeo Stock Contractor
Born in 1909 in Redfield, South Dakota, C.E. Tooke grew up in the cowboy and rodeo lifestyle. Along with his brothers, he built an arena with several bronc chutes, and the family produced their first rodeo on Memorial Day 1931 outside Ekalaka, Montana. These meager beginnings would lead Tooke to become one of the top stock contractors in the country.
By the 1940s, Tooke produced rodeos in a four-state area, as well as undertaking one of the most famous stock-breeding programs ever. He began in 1943 with King Larrygo and Snowflake, From these two studs came Tooke’s “Born to Buck” program, which produced some of the top horses in the country, including Sunset Strip, Bald Hornet (ridden only twice in nine years), and General Custer. In 1967, Sheep Mountain, a son of General Custer, was named the top saddle bronc at the National Finals Rodeo. The following year at the 1968 NFR, Clem McSpadden honored Sheep Mountain and Tooke’s remarkable success. Having accepted the honor on horseback, Tooke suffered a heart attack in the arena and passed away several hours later.
The impact of C.E. Tooke’s program can still be seen today. From 1967 to 1993, 23 bucking horse titles were awarded to broncs from the “Born to Buck” bloodline. His program has produced more than 6,000 contentious horses, dispersed among every top stock producer in North America.