Reno, Nev. – Cotton Rosser, described by the ProRodeo Hall of Fame as the P.T. Barnum of professional rodeo, passed away Wednesday. He was 93 years old.
Rosser received the PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement award in 2015. Prior to that he was inducted to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995.
In 1995 the past presidents of the Reno Rodeo Association commissioned a half-sized bronze statue of Rosser located at the front of the Reno Rodeo Association office at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.
Rosser had bought the Flying U Rodeo Ranch back in 1956, which remains the oldest continuing rodeo livestock company in the United States. Rosser won the saddle bronc riding at the Reno Rodeo in 1950, but a ranch accident that left him with two broken legs ended his rodeo career, according to the Reno Rodeo.
Based in Marysville, California, Rosser and his son, produce about 50 rodeos a year.
“The Reno Rodeo– and really, all of rodeo– is reeling at this news,” said Reno Rodeo General Manager George Combs. “The legacy that he leaves behind and the impact that he’s made is truly immeasurable. He was a pioneer in the rodeo industry who was ahead of his time in developing the entertainment side of rodeo. Cotton was an absolute legend and he will be greatly, greatly missed.”
Reno Rodeo President Josh Iveson described Rosser as the king of cowboys and how it was impossible to describe his impact on rodeo.