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Pendleton Round-Up 2011 by the East Oregonian:  It gets said so often it must be true — a win at the Pendleton Round-Up is enough to make a cowboy or cowgirl’s season a success despite whatever may have come in the preceeding months.

That was the case for several of Saturday’s Round-Up champions and, though he didn’t express it as loudly, saddle bronc champ Taos Muncy was as tickled with his win as the crowd was with his 90-point ride on Korkow Rodeo’s “Fraid Knot.”

The No. 2 bronc rider in the world combined that with his 80 from the first round to win in his second short-round appearance in Pendleton.

“I just love this rodeo, the fans are awesome,” he said after receiving his bounty of prizes. “I’ve just been real fortunate this year.

“You watch this on TV when you’re a little kid and everybody talks about Pendleton. I’m honored to be here and be riding against these great bronc riders. Usually the short round is full of great horses and it’s just a lot of fun.”

The Corona, N.M., bronc rider said his short-round draw was a rematch.

“Man that’s an awesome horse. I got on that horse last weekend in Puyallup (Wash.) and it went good and I was really excited to have that horse,” he said. “To be 90 at Pendleton, it’s a dream come true. I mean I was over there getting that (championship) buckle, I couldn’t believe it my legs were shaking so bad.”

Jim Korkow

By Siri Stevens
The Rodeo News, Volume 16, Issue 18 (see
February 1, 2009

When Jim Korkow was in the eighth grade, his dad pulled him out of school one day. He needed Jim to drive a semi load of cattle to Sioux City, 280 miles away. Driving semis has been one of Jim’s favorite things to do ever since.

Jim’s father, Erv Korkow, was in the horse trading business back in the 30’s and 40’s; buying thin-unbroke horses and feeding them up and either breaking them to ride or drive. Erv had five sisters and there was always a group of young men around the Korkow Ranch on a Sunday afternoon that were eager to get on a bucker and show off for the girls.

In 1947 Erv trailed his horses to Blunt, SD; picking up a few extra from the neighbors on the way and they put on a rodeo with real bucking chutes, back pens and an arena. Admission was a $1 per car load.

Jim grew up in a family that was involved in ranching, farming, trucking, and rodeo. Jim and his two younger brothers, Don and Ken, all got put to work at an early age because Erv was a firm believer in “child-labor”. “We did it all” Jim recalls, “from early morning feedings - sorting stock - cleaning equipment - brushing saddle horses- carrying flags and riding in parades and grand entries - the performance - then with hay and water or load stock on the trucks and drive back to the ranch. Didn’t matter when you got to bed you were expected up the next morning and to put in a full day. I didn’t know how much fun rodeo was until I went to college and made the rodeo team. Going to a rodeo as a “contestant only” was a whole new world.”

Brothers Don and Ken are still both involved with the ranch; each owning some property. Although both live in Omaha, Neb., Don has just retired from Merrill Lynch and will be moving back in the next couple years. Ken works for the Christian Businessmans Committee in Omaha and uses the ranch for retreats and therapy for clients. Don and Ken, with their families, spend a lot of time in South Dakota and help with ranch work and gathering pastures.

Jim started working at rodeos in 1947 when his father began staging amateur rodeos. “I started in the stripping chute when I was five or six,” he recalls. He rode bareback horses and bull dogged in high school and while attending college at South Dakota State University. He started fighting bulls when he was 14 for the guaranteed paycheck, but switched to riding pick-up in 1962, principally “because my wife worried about me.” His pick up horses were raised by the Korkows from colts and all from the same stallion.

Jim took over the family business, buying it in 1993 when Erv passed away, continuing what his father started. “He’s been the glue,” said his wife, Carol. “He worked for Erv and then he bought it out. He’s been the backbone of it.”

Jim Korkow at his ranch in South Dakota during his rodeo school, April 25-26, 2008.

Third generation rodeo producer and stock contractor, Korkow Rodeos has been producing rodeos for over 60 years. Pierre, South Dakota, has been home to the Korkow family since the 1920s. Over 95% of Korkow bucking stock is raised at their 20,000 acre ranch, the Anchor K, nestled in the rolling hills of the Missouri River. Their stock is branded on the left hip with the Anchor K.

Korkow Rodeos furnishes rodeo livestock for an average of 36 professional, college, high school and 4-H rodeos each year, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The year starts in January in the deep South in Louisiana and goes strong through the Finals. Rodeos in between include the states of Alabama, California, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington.

In 1954, the South Dakota Rodeo Association was formed, with Erv Korkow as its first President. In 1956 he initiated a yearend finals, with the top cowboys getting on the top stock of the five association contractors. Casey Tibbs competed there in 1957 in a matched bronc ride. Casey was intrigued with the idea of top cowboys getting on the top stock and felt the RCA needed to do something similar. He sold the idea to Jim Shoulders and they are credited with starting the first NFR in Dallas, TX in 1959.

Erv Korkow and his partner, James Sutton joined the RCA as Korkow and Sutton Rodeos in 1958 and had livestock chosen for the first NFR in 1959. Korkows have had livestock selected for every NFR since then.

Beginning with his father’s breeding program which went back to the Calvary horse Crow Butte, Jim has established a herd of around 330 good bucking horses and 120 bulls. Erv had bought five mares from the Took Ranch in Montana, an already established bucking string. From these five mares, they raised “Custer”, “Timberline” and “Grey Wolf” studs, who became foundation sires to Korkows’ herd of bucking horses.

“Over the years we’ve traded or bought stallions from Harry Vold, Ike Sankey, Greg Kessler, adding new blood to the herd. One of the many outstanding horses and bulls raised in this program was a brown gelding named “Slippery” who was voted by the cowboys as the top Saddle Bronc of the Year in the PRCA in 2006.”

Jim Korkow (left), with the picture of the Pickup Men and artist (Sage) Jim Sayre.

The ranch, located 20 miles north of Pierre, SD., is perfect for raising bucking stock. “There’s no place better than here to raise rodeo stock. I’ve seen lots of country and this is perfect for what I do. My horses grow up here, running up and down the hills, jumping over rocks, and kicking at rattlesnakes; and they can handle anything that happens in the arena.”

Jim uses 4-wheelers to gather and sort the stock. “I haven’t been on a horse in seven years. We used to have a huge gathering of family and friends to gather the bull pasture, now we only need a few riders with the 4-wheelers. We bought our first 4 wheeler at the NFR eight years ago.”

The company has six semis, and often has them going in several directions at one time. Along with hauling the stock for rodeos, Jim and his son, TJ, haul a fair amount of cattle and hay.

Jim married his high school sweetheart, Carol Junkman. They both grew up together in Blunt, SD. “I used to throw rocks at her and pull her hair,” said Jim. They have been married 44 years and have three children, Faith, Misty, and TJ. The kids were raised in a motor home from June through September. They’d come home to change clothes. Carol timed at their rodeos and timed the NFR in 1991 and Pocatello the next year. She has timed the circuit finals many years.

Jim fighting bulls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1963.

The family started putting on a rodeo school 23 years ago. “It’s one more avenue to try our young stock. We have our youth 4-H and high school rodeos, but the school lets us try out our young stock at home,” said Jim. “It’s also a way to guarantee we’ve got contestants in the future and a way to teach them how to ride and handle the stock in the chutes.”

The school is held the last weekend in April at the ranch and the students are paired up with some of the best in the business Scott Montague, Wayne Herman, Chad Ferley, Tom Miller, Jeff Willert, Fred Boettcher, Chris Aman, and Shane Anderson are among this year’s instructors. Along with help with rigging, dismounting, and position, each contestant has multiple opportunities to get on and the videos are reviewed each day.

Family and friends provide a hearty lunch and there is often a country jam session sometime during the weekend. The 2009 school is April 24 - 26.

Jim Korkow left and Benny Thorson at Ft. Pierre in 1957. Photo by LF Henderson
Jim Korkow helps Ed Sundby on L16 Centennial, in Huron South Dakota. Photo by Gustafson Photos

From behind the chute to competing in the arena to providing the stock, and providing the place to learn, 66-year-old Jim Korkow has done it all. He has received many honors over the years including Outstanding Blunt Area Jaycee in 1977, Outstanding Member of Badlands Circuit in 1987, National Stock Contractor for Women’s WPRA in 1996, 2000 Nominee for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year and 2000 Outstanding Member Badlands Women’s WPRA. He has been a member and chief of Hughes County Rural Canning Fire Department for over 20 years. From 2001-2003 he was on the board of Directors for “World Championship Invitational Truck Rodeo” held during the NFR in Las Vegas. He was inducted into the South Dakota Fairman’s Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008 Jim and Sammy Andrews managed the Benny Binion NFR Bucking Horse and Bull Sale at the South Point Casino and Hotel, and they are already working on this years sale to be held December 4 and 5.

Korkow Rodeos holds the distinguished honor of being one of four stock contracting firms to have supplied stock at the 50 years of WNFR, along with Harry Vold, Bob Barnes, and Cotton Rosser. With TJ taking more of the reins, the Korkow name will continue in the rodeo industry for years to come.

Jim Korkow and Ray Hazelrig at Deadwood in 1966. Photo by DeVere Helfrich Rodeo
Jim Korkow, Steve Granith and Jeff Weber at Deadwood, South Dakota, 1974

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

"For the first time ever, Cheyenne Frontier Days offered a saddle bronc futurity in which stock contractors were invited to bring their 4- and 5-year-old broncs for use in the Rookie Bronc Riding, and they were judged separately.

Mosbrucker Rodeo's broncs scored 350 total points, but averaged 38.88 points per out, giving them the $10,000 championship. Smith Rodeo placed second with their broncs averaging 36.71, followed by Frontier Rodeo at 36.6 and Burns Rodeo at 35.90.

Korkow Rodeo horses scored the most total points at 402, and also own the highest-marked bronc of the futurity - Vanilla Twist. The Paint mare scored 43 points, to edge Burns Rodeo's Chugwater Blue and two Mosbrucker horses, Wrangler Moon and Bay Wars."


Visit the Capital Journal's site for an article about the Korkow Ranch Rodeo School.

Jim and Carol Korkow
TJ and Brie Korkow
30543 206 St
Pierre, SD  57501
605-224-5607   Fax 605-224-7157
Jim's Cell 605-222-1353    TJ's Cell 605-222-6929
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