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Four Oklahoma Cowboys leave a legacy to hang their hat on Rodeo Legacy By JuliAnn Graham R


iding broncs in professional rodeo is typically an individual sport, but Robert, Billy and Dan Etbauer and Craig Latham formed a team with an ‘all for one, one for all’ approach. In their early days together they pooled their winnings to ensure they could all pay entry fees and travel to the next rodeo. When it came time for a sponsorship by Express Ranches, the company picked up all four of them.


All together, the four made 52 trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and won more than $6 million in prize money, according to the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association. Two-time world championship winner Robert Etbauer and fi ve-time world championship winner Billy Etbauer were inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in July.


Ask any of the four humble cowboys what matters most to him today and he will likely say, as Robert Etbauer did, “It’s all about the kids.” He didn’t mean only kids of his own either. At Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) in Goodwell, Craig Latham is head coach and Robert Etbauer is assistant coach for the rodeo team. For years, kids in the community have gone to the arenas owned by Robert Etbauer or Dan Etbauer to practice and learn. In addition, Robert Etbauer and Latham organize the Deke Latham Memorial Bronc Riding School in Goodwell the second weekend of May, donating proceeds to OPSU for rodeo scholarships. While the two spearhead the effort, they are quick


to credit the help of Dan and Billy Etbauer and other pro rodeo cowboys like Robert Etbauer’s oldest son Trell Etbauer.


Robert and Dan Etbauer and Craig Latham are members of Tri-County Electric Cooperative. Billy Etbauer is a member of Cimarron Electric Cooperative. “Those guys were and still are idols to a lot of young cowboys. Number one because they were always classy. They were always humble. They didn’t crave the spotlight. They just wanted to get on horses. Number two because of the way they rode and the way they compete,” Tri-County Electric Cooperative member and long-time friend Ken Stonecipher said. “The Etbauer brothers and Latham reached up there and went for broke every time. They had that wide-open style. So they probably got bucked off more than some guys but they also made more 90-point rides than most guys.”


Stonecipher is a rodeo announcer and lead singer in the band Ken Stonecipher and the Wooden Nickel Band. He has known the Etbauer brothers and Latham for some time, even serving on the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo Committee with Robert Etbauer in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Billy Etbauer, who now lives near Edmond, called the Guymon rodeo his home- town rodeo.


“I always try to go to Guymon because it is the hometown rodeo,” Billy Etbauer said. “I did get to know quite a few people around there and they’ve really been great supporters.”


Stonecipher said that although the Guymon pro rodeo is a long-standing tradi-


The “all for one, one for all” team poses for Robert and Billy’s ProRodeo Hall of Fame In- duction. From left: Dan Etbauer, Robert Etbauer, Billy Etbauer, Craig Latham. PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Greg Westfall.


Billy Etbauer remains a humble cowboy. PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Mike Copeman.


30 OKLAHOMA LIVING


30 OKLAHOMA LIVING


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