Historical Details

Charley Irwin's I-Be-Dam

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 04/05/1934

The unfortunate death by auto accident of Charley Irwin, the man who made the Cheyenne Frontier Days show the greatest in the world, has called to mind many tales of this great showman and lover of horses.

To those of the race track, his name no doubt brings memories of famous thoroughbreds, but in the rodeo world the name of Charley Irwin will always be liked with his two famous bucking horses, I-Be-Dam and Lightening Creek.

Which was the greater of these had often been the subject of many discussion in bunk houses and along in front of the bar. With rodeo fans, I-Be-Dam was the most popular. In him seemed to be his owner' s great spirit of the rodeo. When he came out the lid went up and the show was on. I-Be-Dam, the "born show horse," was a blue and white pinto, mostly blue; had an ugly white face, pink nose and one "glass eye." He would remind one of a Sioux painted for the war path. He was beautiful to look at until one looked into that cold, white-eye--in it there was no compromise.

Lightening Creek, his mate, was a beautiful stocking legged sorrel, and seemed to be made of shining steel.

These two horses wore the brand of Charlie McGinnis of Lusk, and their home range was in the breaks north of Lusk. Lee Haines, Jack Dillon and Louie Reynolds were the first to ride them.

These men rode them on roundups, or in other words, "with the wagons." At that time they were just two of Charlie McGinnis's rough string.

There are several persons now living in this community who have ridden these horses, some of whom are: Art Thompson, present chairman of the Board of County Commissioners; Al Rundquist, Marvin Wilson, and "Powder River Thompson", who rode them at world contests when "Powder River" was the most famous rodeo rider in the world.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Wilson, Marvin (09/26/1890 - 10/30/1960) View Record
Obituary Thompson, Arthur (05/12/1888 - 05/15/1984) View Record
Historical Thompson, Arthur View Record