Joseph Hugh Long was born May 12, 1907, in Battleford, Saskatchewan. His father James Patrick “Joe” Long spent twelve years as a Mountie and served in the Boer War in South Africa during World War I. During this time, when Hughie was 11, his mother Sarah died, leaving an elder sibling to care for the family until Joe Long came home from the war. When he did arrive home, he gave the nine children to other families to take in. Hughie was sent to live with another homesteader out in the country. “The work was hard, although it didn’t hurt me a bit,” Hughie said once. He left within a few months, but before he did, he and a neighbor boy had “our own private little bronc bustings” when the farmer would go into town for union meetings. At 14, he finished the third grade. It would be his last formal education.
In 1924, a 17-year-old Hughie went to work as a cowboy on the Sweet Grass Reserve Ranch not far from Prongua. Most of that summer he rode fences and checked cattle. It was during that summer when he learned he needed boots to ride a bronc. The same summer would provide his first exposure to a “stampede,” or rodeo. “I had got to thinking I was a bronc rider.” Hughie, in his first try at bronc riding, made the finals.
In 1926, Hughie and an Indian bronc rider known as Cowboy Hamern made the 75-mile trip from Prongua-Battleford to Seagram Lake for the Saskatchewan Bronc Riding Championship. Hughie Long, at 19, won the Saskatchewan Championship.
Leon Lamar approached Hughie with a deal. Lamar owned two Wild West shows, one which was part of the big Johnny J. Jones operation in Canada. He could use a good bronc rider, especially one with Hughie’s dazzling and careless spurring style. Hughie and his good friend, trick roper Gib Potter soon left for the next big show. Soon Hughie found himself ensconced as the protagonist in an old Wild West show tradition — the Pony Express act.
Through the end of 1927 and well into 1928, Gib and Hughie did the sideshows, but then headed for rodeos in Pampa and Miami, Tex., with a master plan of going back to Calgary. After nearly starving while the Pampa rodeo was postponed two days due to rain, Hughie placed in the money, which bought him and Gib a good meal, and hitched a ride to Miami, where the Prongy Kid placed in steer and saddle bronc riding.
At a by-invitation-only, 21-day rodeo staged at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, Hughie took second in bareback average and third in bull riding. In the entire three weeks, the Prongy Kid had ridden all but two of his bulls, including one that crashed through a fence as Hughie stayed aboard. How many total titles Hughie won is probably a figure forever lost as no records were kept in those days. Further, because the Prongy Kid chose not to compete during the winters on the California-based Western circuit, which was the only rodeo organization at the time that kept records, he wasn’t represented.
For a time in 1943 he worked as a mounted guard at the Bluebonnet Bomb Plant in McGregor. In 1944, Hughie, at the age of 37, joined the Army and was stationed initially at Camp Bowie near Brownwood, enabling him on weekend passes to go to Cresson to work with numerous reining horses he owned. Then the war ended and Hughie was discharged. In the years that followed he owned, co-owned or trained numerous quarter horses that have won registers of merit — Quick Silver Long, Jiggs Bailey, Mucho Stampede, Aledo Red Man, and so on.
Though there weren’t many new injuries, the old ones began to nag Hughie. He often said the most painful was a separated shoulder that tended to go out on him and required a general anesthetic to put back in place. “He also had some short ribs on his left side that overlapped and stuck out,” Helen said. “He got that from riding a spinning bull. As the bull was spinning, Hughie went to get off and the bull caught him with his horn, buried his horns right in Hughie’s short ribs down by his belly. “In that particular case the pickup men or whatever had to come out and physically take Hughie off that bull’s horn.
In July 1987, the Prongy Kid “was sick for a month and went into the hospital, then when he came home he was not himself, his mind was gone,” Helen Long said. He continued to have complications with his health the following months. A few nights before he died Oct. 27, 1987, Helen Long was at her husband’s side at All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth.
Scope & Content Note
This collection contains 22 photographs, some of which have copy negatives available, and 6 photocopies of photographs. The majority of the photographs represent Hughie Long participating in various rodeo events. Jiggs Bailey is present in two of the photographs and several of the photographs are from the Chicago World’s Fair Rodeo.
Crutcher, Dr. H.K.
Long, Joseph Hugh
Chicago World’s Fair
This collection was accessioned in 1985.
The Hughie Long Rodeo Photographs is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Hughie Long Rodeo Photographs, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
| Series 1: Hughie Long Collection
Items have been cataloged in the Image Archive Database, but none have been scanned yet.
|Box/Folder #||Accession #||Folder Title/Description|
|1/9||1985.053.11||Hughie Long cowboy champion steer rider from Canada, Chicago World’s Fair 1933. Photograph, b&w, 9.75×7.75 in. (copy print and negative available)|
|1985.053.11N||Hughie Long cowboy champion steer rider from Canada, Chicago World’s Fair 1933. Negative of 1985.053.11.|
|1985.053.11C||Hughie Long cowboy champion steer rider from Canada, Chicago World’s Fair 1933. Copy photograph of 1985.053.11, b&w, 9.75×7.75 in.|
|1985.053.12||Hughie Long on Blizzard, Calgary Canada, 1930. Photograph, b&w, 5.75×9.75 in. (copy print and negative available)|
|1985.053.12N||Hughie Long on Blizzard, Calgary Canada, 1930. Negative of 1985.053.12.|
|1985.053.12C||Hughie Long on Blizzard, Calgary Canada, 1930. Copy photograph of 1985.053.12, b&w, 9.75×7.75 in.|
|1985.053.13||Hughie Long on Yellowstone, Minneapolis, Minn. 1935. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in.|
|1985.053.14||L-R Joe Orr, Leo Murray, Lynn Huskey, Herb Myers, Lonnie Rooney, Jim Whitman, Heany Henson, Pete Adams. 1935. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in. (Other names Barton Carter, Hobert Flowers, Herschel Ross, Peavine Slim)|
|1985.053.15||Hughie on Kaiser Bill Woodward, Okla. 1930 ca. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in. (copy negative available)|
|1985.053.15N||Hughie on Kaiser Bill Woodward, Okla. 1930 ca. Negative of 1985.053.15.|
|1985.053.16||Thelma Alberta Canada, 1931 Hughie Long on final horse winner of bronc riding. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in. (copy negative available)|
|1985.053.16N||Thelma Alberta Canada, 1931 Hughie Long on final horse winner of bronc riding. Negative of 1985.053.16.|
|1985.053.17||Hughie Long, Texas Centennial Rodeo, Dallas 1936. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in. (copy negative available)|
|1985.053.17N||Hughie Long, Texas Centennial Rodeo, Dallas 1936. Negative of 1985.053.17.|
|1985.053.18||Ervin Collins, Chicago 1933. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in. Photograph is mounted on black paper.|
|1985.053.19||Chicago World’s Fair Rodeo, 1933. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in. (copy negative available)|
|1985.053.19N||Chicago World’s Fair Rodeo, 1933. Negative of 1985.053.19.|
|1985.053.20||Naragansett Race track, Mass. 1934. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in. Photograph is mounted on black paper.|
|1985.053.21||Reserve Champion Cutting Horse, Open & Quarter Horse Cutting 1950, Houston TX Jiggs Bailey, Hughie Long & Dr. H.K. Crutcher. 1950. Morris Photographs. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in.|
|1985.053.22||Trophies won by Jiggs Bailey 1948 to 1950. 1948 ca. Anne Blackman Kantor, photographer. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in.|