The Incredible True Story Of Cheyenne Frontier Days Champion Dick Stanley
Of all the cowboys and cowgirls who have ever competed at Cheyenne Frontier Days, the most famous contestant in its 120 year history was a bucking bronco named Steamboat.
Nicknamed “The Horse That Can’t Be Ridden,” the iconic symbol of Wyoming’s Bucking Horse and Rider logo was successfully ridden for the first time by Clayton Danks at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1908.
The following day, Steamboat was ridden again by Dick Stanley. Since Stanley had not used stirrups during the competition, he won the event.
Curiously, when Stanley was to be presented with his championship saddle, he was nowhere to be found.
As it turns out, Stanley had a good reason to skip town early.
In the fall of 1910, Stanley was killed when a horse fell on him during a rodeo in California. After his death, his true identity was finally discovered.
Stanley, whose real name was Earl Carl Shobe, was no stranger to Cheyenne. Several years earlier, he had killed a man while attempting to rob the Cheyenne Post Office.
Before he could stand trial on murder charges, Shobe jumped bail and escaped. He later resurfaced in Oregon, operating a wild west show under the alias “Colonel” Dick Stanley.
Even though he had fled Cheyenne for a second time after winning the Saddle Bronc contest in 1908, Stanley returned to Frontier Days the following year to defend his title.
1910 would be Stanley’s final visit to the town where he once eluded the hangman’s noose and later gained fame as only the second man to successfully ride Steamboat.