Calling all cowboys, cowgirls, movie wranglers and Friends of Walt La Rue:
Have you or your family members been involved in professional rodeo, stunt work or horse training? Did you know or work with Walt La Rue?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to the OutWest Boutique and Cultural Center in Old Town Newhall on Sunday, April 1, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a Rodeo Round-Up of a different variety.
The folks at OutWest need your help. It seems they’ve got this big, old rodeo photograph from the family of famed Western artist and movie stuntman Walt La Rue (born 8/18/1918 in Canada, died 6/12/2010 in Burbank) – and they’d like to know who’s in it.
The photo is called “Tophands of the Western Range” and it shows 168 of the 216 participants in the 1944 Madison Square Garden Rodeo.
Some of the names in the program are still familiar to Western aficionados today: Tad Lucas (National Cowgirl Hall of Fame), Dick Farnsworth, Gene McLaughlin (of Simi Valley), Wag Blesing, Kid Fletcher, Jackie Cooper (of Newhall) and Marvin Shoulders (of Tulsa). Roy Rogers and Trigger are listed as “Events No. 4 and 8.” Music was provided by Foy Willing and Riders of the Purple Sage as well as James Cimmeron’s Cowboy Band under the direction of James Cimmeron with Drum Majorette Shirley Skrivan.
Artwork by Walt La Rue
Not to be outdone – well, not by much – Bobbi and Jim Bell are making a day of it Sunday with some special guests they’ve rounded up – including Roy Rogers and Dale Evans’ granddaughter, Julie Pomilia; and the miniature horses Angel and Star from Nancy Zhe and Heads Up Therapy on Horseback.
OutWest will provide the magnifying glasses and refreshments; all you need to bring is your knowledge of rodeo history. Or just come and hang out.
OutWest is located at 24265 Main Street. For information call 661-255-7087.
About Walt La Rue
Walt La Rue, (1918-2010), a rodeo cowboy during the 1940s and 1950s, belonged to the Cowboy’s Turtle Association and the Rodeo Cowboy’s Association. He was a Gold Card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association.
He followed the shows from Salinas, California to Madison Square Garden, rode bulls and bareback broncs, was a good hand and could make his living going down the road.
While rodeo’n, Walt had the opportunity to work in the movies and became a stuntman working at both for a long time. When he wasn’t robbing trains, chasing buffalo, or fighting the rustlers in the movies, he was going to the rodeos. In the mid 1950s, after riding the wild ones for a long time, he hung up his gear and bid the rodeos goodbye. He stayed with his movie career, although his stunts became tamer. He received several award including the 2007 Golden Boot, a Lifetime Membership in the Stuntmen’s Association, and the 2004 America Cowboy Culture Award for All Around Cowboy Culture, (pictured above).
For many years, as an avocation, Walt was a free lance artist. He started drawing as a kid and continued doing it all his life. He drew cartoons for newspapers, magazines, and advertising agencies, for eight years he drew all the covers for the Rodeo Cowboy’s Magazine, “The Buckboard.” Weber’s Bread and Levi Strauss were among his advertising accounts. He also illustrated books and for the last twenty years of his life he created fine art.
Graphic art by Walt La Rue | Click image to enlarge
His paintings, all Westerns, are now in private collections, galleries, and museums all over the world. .Successful as this was, he still called the art work a “side line” and shared it with his many other interests.
Walt always said he was a “lucky man” – and he did the things he wanted to do.
Walt La Rue – Filmography
New Frontier – 1939 (townsman), [stunts]
The Phantom Rider – 1946 (ambusher)
Fort Apache – 1948 [stunts]
Ambush – 1950 (trooper), [stunts]
Cow Town – 1950 (cowhand), [stunts]
Wyoming Mail – 1950 [stunts]
Gene Autry and the Mounties – 1951 (mountie), [stunts]
Man with the Steel Whip – 1954 (townsman), [stunts]
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