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Havre cowboy posthumously inducted in the Cowboy Hall of Fame


Courtesy Photo

Gordon Buck Boyce

A one-time Havre cowboy, Gordon "Buck" Boyce, who had rodeod all over the country and won the 1950 World Series Rodeo in Madison Square Garden, has been posthumously inducted in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Boyce was inducted in 2016 after being nominated by younger brother Robert "Bud" Boyce.

"I'm really happy to see him get it," Bud Boyce said.

The nominating process is open to and depends on the public.

"In order to identify those in Montana's communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the Hall of Fame, we need people across the state to get involved in our nomination process," Executive Director of the MCHF Christy Stensland said. "We encourage all to reflect on those that have made notable contributions to our western heritage here in the great state of Montana."

Buck Boyce, born in 1925, lived 89 years before dying July 20, 2014.

Bud Boyce remembers helping his big brother out as they were growing up.

"Oh yeah, when I was just a kid, I helped him build a bucking chute," he said.

Riding, Bud Boyce said, is inherited when it comes to his brother.

It was just in his blood, Bud Boyce said. The Boyces, he added - "My dad and cousins, they've always been good cowboys."

Buck Boyce was born in Glasgow in 1925 to Stephen Charles and Sadie Boyce. He was the fourth of nine children. The Boyces moved to a ranch south of Havre in the Bear Paw Mountains in 1936.

"At the young age of 11, you could always find Buck out riding the range and even breaking horses for his father," Buck Boyce's biography says.

Boyce is said to have had an "unwavering" passion for the rodeo life.

"His determination to succeed in the sport led him to build an arena and bucking chutes on the family ranch for him to practice his events," his bio says.

It's his passion and determination that led Boyce to become "incredibly successful" at rodeo.

Boyce left home in 1947 for the rodeo circuit, where he worked the saddle bronc, bull riding, bareback and bull dogging events, competing in major events in Houston, Forth Worth, Cheyenne and Pendleton.

Boyce's career highlight was in 1950, when he won the World Series Rodeo in Madison Square Garden in New York and ranked in the top 10 all-around cowboy standings.

He also won at the Calgary Stampede in 1955, and he was named Outstanding Cowboy at Range Rider Rodeo in Miles City in 1956. For more than 10 years, Boyce placed in the top 15 in the world standings.

Boyce married and had two sons, Ben and Jim, during his rodeo career. By 1956, he had divorced and remarried Valerie Webb at a Camdenton, Missouri, rodeo, "in the presence of fellow performers."

The couple established the Spanish Seven Ranch in Arkansas, where they raised Brahmas and a commercial herd, in addition to operating a veterinary and chemical supply company.

Buck Boyce served as the bull riding director in 1952 in what later became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, a time during which he initiated an accident insurance program for members of the association. The program was initiated after one of Boyce's friends died in a hospital after being refused treatment because there was no proof the bill could be paid. Boyce also advocated for having the horns of rodeo bulls "tipped" or the bulls dehorned, to avoid injury.

"Each generation owes a debt to the earlier one, one when the World War II troops struggled home to a better rodeo environment. Thanks to the Turtles (Cowboy Turtle Association) who risked all to improve rodeo. I hope that our generation has helped the working cowboy of today," Boyce wrote.

After retiring, Buck and Valerie Boyce moved to Sumner, Texas.

After his death, Boyce's ashes were brought back to Havre, "the place his story began."  

Nominees, the MCHF websites says, can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels - anyone or anything that has made a notable contribution to Montana western heritage. Anyone who would like to make a nomination can contact the MCHF at Christy@montanacowboyfame.org or call 406-932-5444. All nomination documents must be in electronic format.


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