Saddle Bronc Rider
Born in 1923 on the Blackhawk Ranch near Danville, California, William “Billy” Ward was a consistently great bronc rider over a period of 20 years. He commenced rodeoing at age 13, joined the CTA in 1939, and won event titles at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, Calgary, Cheyenne, overseas in London and Paris, and at many other venues.
Ward invariably placed among the top 10 saddle bronc riders, but he never won a national title. Still, he is remembered as the only contender to complete a scored ride on the famed bronc, Miss Klamath. One of his rodeo competitors recalled that, “He looked awful nice on a bucking horse,” and today he is immortalized in the PRCA’s official logo. This familiar image, a silhouette of the DeVere Helfrich photograph of Ward atop Sea Lion at San Angelo, Texas, in 1956, appears on all official and promotional PRCA material.
Billy Ward retired from rodeo in 1960, but he cowboyed for the rest of his life. He was manager of the Walker Ranch near Livermore, California, at the time of his untimely death in a car accident in 1992.