- Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2015

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is inducting a longtime Belle Fourche competitor and performer into its Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Jerry LaRue Olson, 80, will be inducted during ceremonies Sept. 25-26 in Oklahoma City, the Black Hills Pioneer reported (https://bit.ly/1XSzHJU ).

“This is the most honorable hall of fame I’ve been part of,” Olson said.

Olson, who was born in Sturgis in 1935, entered his first rodeo in bareback riding and tie-down roping around 1947. He soon gave up bareback riding, saying he was too big to be competitive.

He began performing in front of rodeo crowds at a young age as his family put together a horse act including Roman riding. He and his father, LaRue Olson, were also well known for their rodeo acts using buffalo. Olson says it takes three or four times longer to train a buffalo than a horse.

“You didn’t tell my dad he couldn’t do something,” Olson said.

Olson began his bullfighting career in the late 1950s when the bullfighter contracted for LaRue’s rodeo failed to show. He also became an accomplished steer wrestler, qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1969. He had to use a borrowed horse because his was too sore to perform, but he placed in a couple of rounds.

Olson is one of only three people to have been to the National Finals Rodeo as both a contestant and later a contract act.

Other honors include receiving the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association contract act of the year in 1983, an induction into the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in 1994 and an induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2004, he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Olson offered praise to those who helped support his career.

“The people I performed to are just as responsible,” he said. “Without them and my family, there wouldn’t have been anything.”

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com

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