July 31, 1925
Red was born July 31, 1925 in Stapleton, Nebraska. The second of eight children of Chet and Edith Barner. He graduated from Baker Rural High School in Stapleton, Nebraska in 1944.
After a brief stay in California, Red moved back to Stapleton in 1947. He married Leona Cash on June 21, 1948. They raised 6 kids; Jolleen, Don, Glenda, Teresa, Kyle & Trent.
Leona passed away in July, 2010 after 62 years of marriage. Red has lived 87 of his 89 years, 10 miles west of Stapleton on the family farm. As a self proclaimed “Old Sandhiller”, the Sandhills are his home.
Red loves farming and ranching, he still has a few cows yet today. In addition to farming and ranching, he had a few other occupations in order to make ends meet-corn shelling, shearing sheep and is still a licensed electrician. He believed in giving back as well as being active in his community. He was involved in many organizations, which include; School Board, Elk’s Club, Volunteer Fire Department, County Commissioner for 24 years and Logan County Fair Board President for 35 years, starting in 1953.
Rodeo was his first love. Red entered his first rodeo in 1944. The arena “fence” was made up of parked cars. His bareback horse made it out between two parked cars. He got his rigging back a week later.
Red competed regularly statewide, as well as out of state from 1944 through the mid 60’s. His regular events were: Bareback Bronc Riding, Bull Dogging (steer wrestling), Bull Riding and the Wild Horse Race.
Red won numerous events at numerous rodeos. He won the Nebraska Amateur Cowboy Association All Around Title in 1953, as well as the Bull Dogging title in 1952 or 1953. He then dusted off his bull rope and bareback rig for the first Old Timers rodeo in Hyannis in 1974. He continued to compete and place every year in the dogging at the Old Timers rodeo until 1977 when he hung it up for good after winning the Bull Dogging title with a time of 7 flat at the age of 52.
His sons Don and Kyle often joked-“how old do you think Dad was before you thought you could ‘take him’”? Kyle thought his dad was 75 and he was 37 before he stood a chance. At 5’ 6” in high heels, Red was one strong man. Kyle, as an 18 year old kid, was always amazed to watch his dad and Uncle Earl pull windmill leathers by hand-hand over hand.
Red trained most of his own dogging horses. As money was always tight, one of his favorite Dogging horses was acquired as a colt in a trade. He was given 3 colts, break 2 to ride and he could keep the 3rd.
To stay involved and promote the great sport of rodeo, Red helped produce rodeos throughout the state in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s while working for a couple different stock contractors, doing everything from “flanking” to the Arena Director. He liked the interaction with the cowboys, but more importantly he liked the handling and the performance of the stock, mainly the bucking horses and bulls.
To this day, Red will not miss a rodeo in Stapleton or on TV.
Along with a wife and 6 kids, rodeo, farming and ranching in the Sandhills are and were his life.
Red is a true “Sandhills Cowboy”.