Saturday, July 3, 2010

Congratulations to Rex Cook

On June 26, 2010, Rex Cook was inducted into the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame.  Rex taught me how to build saddles a few years ago. He's spent all of his life working with cattle, horses and leather. Congratulations Rex!

To read more about what's new at the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame, check out the Cowboy Chronicle

Born on his parents homestead north of Sentinel Butte in 1928, Rex Cook has come to personify the quintessential “renaissance man”. He broke his first horse at the age of 12 and bought a little bit of ranch land when he was just 14, while working for his neighbor. After graduating high school, he started teaching with an emergency teaching certificate at the Goldsberry country school, situated 45 miles north of Medora.

He entered in the calf-roping and wild horse race contests in his first rodeo that same year—and also announced the rodeo! The course was set: he’d divide his time between rodeo arenas and corrals and schoolhouses. To pay his way through college, he mastered the art of saddle-making. To date, he’s created over 100 saddles and was honored to demonstrate his craft on the state capitol grounds during the 1989 centennial celebration.

After a stint in the Marine Corps Reserve and a hitch with the U.S. Army in Japan, Cook returned to Dickinson and began a career within the Dickinson Public Schools. He also spent a stint as manager of the Dik-ota Clay Products Company.

All the while, he maintained a steady interest in horsemanship and rodeos. He rode, trained and sold cutting horses and promoted team roping as a rodeo event. Along with Tex Appledoorn, he produced the1958-59 ND Team Roping Championship in Belfield. Merle Aus and Jim Jefferies were two of his team-roping partners. 

His knowledge and expertise were conveyed to scores of Dickinson State College students during the 20 years he taught horsemanship classes. Cook also traveled to the Iowa State Fair to co-teach horse training clinics. He judged countless horse shows throughout the tri-state area and as far away as North Carolina.

Cook is a member of the North Dakota and National Cutting Horse associations, and is a past member of the NDRA, AQHA, U.S. Team Roping Association and Wrangler Roping Association. During the 2007 Dickinson’s Roughrider Days Rodeo, Cook was presented with the Rodeo-Rancher of the Year Award.

At present, he serves on the boards of the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association. He and his wife, Ann, also an educator, raised two children and continue to reside in Dickinson.

In the Arts and Entertainment Division, two were nominated, one was selected.

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