EDWARD “ED” A. BECKER
April 24, 1929
Ed had roped calves from his teenage years and it was always his main event. He rode some saddle broncs and barebacks in amateur rodeos. After joining the then R.C.A. in 1951, he even entered the bulldogging a few times. The steers of 1953 were small and a man of his size could handle them. Calf roping, however, was his first love. He bought Flying Farmer Jr. from his cousin, Pete Becker, and trained him as a calf horse. Ed never traveled very far to rodeo, ranching always came first, but placed frequently when he did. In 1960 and 61 he won the calf roping at Belle Fourche, South Dakota over July 4th, then hurried home to put up hay. In 1960, he started single steer roping which became his most successful event. He qualified for the N.F.R. six times from 1965 to 1975. In 1973 in Laramie, Wyoming, he won the average on eight big steers, riding his own horse, Gambler, and a big roan horse, Roany, belonging to Clarke Jackman from Thermopolis, Wyoming. Roany treated him well at numerous rodeos. Ed entered the steer roping at Cheyenne twenty-nine consecutive years, winning three go-rounds and placing in the average a time or two. The Sandhill drought of 1989 kept him busy finding grass and managing cattle and he didn’t enter that year or ever again. In 1982 he won fourth at Pendleton Oregon riding Glenn Barlow’s great little horse, Chicaro.
After leaving the ranch in 1983 when Dean and Nancy were ready to start taking over day to day operations, Ed and Sally bought a place east of Chadron. Building an arena was the first order of business and the following year Ed begain going to some old timer rodeos, again roping calves, ribbon roping with Sally and team roping. In 1989 they tried the winter Arizona Old Time Rodeos in January and February and in 1994 bought a place there to go to in the winter. Ed roped calves on a paint mare they raised and she was a natural. The last year or two he used a bay gelding, Snake, that was also home raised. In 1991 and 1993 Ed and Sally went to all the Senior Pro Rodeos, each winning All Around titles in their age group in 1993 and Ed being named the champion team roper in the 60 age group. In 1996 while knot-roping a calf at home in Arizona, Ed lost most of three fingers on his right hand and this effectively ended his calf roping career, losing his grip and ability to flank a calf. He was still able to team rope and still continues to do it on occasion.
For this Sandhill cowboy, ranching was always a first priority. Although day to day decisions are up to son-in-law Dean, Ed’s interest remains and he is there to help brand, precondition, AI, wean, ship or help out in any way. Once a rancher, always a rancher.