"Preserving the Legacy...

    ...Investing in the Future."


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BHSS Foundation Great American Cowboy Series VI

"The Finals Pickup Men"

Original painting by Mick Harrison featuring Kenny Clabaugh and Steve Sutton
Donated by Farm Credit Services of America and Perfect Hanging Gallery, Rapid City
Purchased at auction by Dave Strain for the Crazy Horse Monument
#1 Autographed print of the painting purchased by Deiter Bros., Faulkton, SD

Kenny Clabaugh, cowboy, rancher, pickup man, polo player, and horseman extraordinaire has lived his life on the road but always left his heart at the home place in Arvada, Wyoming. The third generation to live on the ranch since Grandpa Clabaugh started it in 1892, Kenny speaks with respect about his father and grandfather and their role in giving him his knowledge of horses and cattle. His father always gave Kenny access to the good horses they raised. After attending high school in Gillette, WY, Kenny went on to Casper Jr. College for a Range Management degree. Kenny actually started his career as a pickup man during this time at the biding of Dale Stiles, his rodeo coach. Kenny’s life took an unusual turn when he left for California in 1966 to play polo. His successful journey into the world of polo ponies is obviously a fond memory.

Life on the rodeo trail began at Casper College but rolled on to the very top of the professional ranks. Kenny started picking up at the Jackson, WY nightly rodeo in 1969 and worked the amateur circuit in Idaho and Utah. He also included local high school rodeos in his schedule. At the urging of Jim and Steve Sutton and Jon Taylor, Kenny finally bought a pro card in 1983.  Kenny was selected to work the National Finals Rodeo his rookie year. He includes this particular rodeo among his favorites. He was selected by the PRCA cowboys to pick up at the NFR in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994. Steve Sutton was Kenny’s partner at the 1986 Finals. Kenny and Steve rode together at nineteen National High School Rodeo Finals. Kenny also picked up at the 2001 NHSFR for a total of twenty trips. Adding to the “grand slam” were six College National Finals, two Indian National Finals, one trip to the Old-Timers National Finals and one Dodge Circuit National Finals. In his quiet way, Kenny contributes his success to his friend and partner, Steve Sutton. He feels working with Steve helped to hone his skills and instincts to a greater degree. They worked in harmony and trusted each other to be at the right place to save the cowboys. Kenny contends the pickup horse is 90% of the team. After a horse made Kenny’s A-string, he never sold them. After an injury in 2000, Kenny made the decision to retire. He picked up his last cowboy at the 2001 Black Hills Stock Show with partner Steve Sutton right beside him. His horses are serving out their retirement at the Crazy Horse Monument under the supervision of Ann Ziolkowski.

Though he traveled thousands of miles from rodeo to rodeo, Kenny never forgot his roots. His life as a rancher has brought him full circle back to his wife, Glessie and Arvada, Wyoming. This tall cowboy on the buckskin horse will always be remembered as one of the best!



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For Questions Or For More Information:
Black Hills Stock Show Foundation, Inc.
444 Mt. Rushmore Road North
Rapid City, SD 57701

Phone: 605-718-0810

The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation is a non-profit organization. As part of its mission of "Preserving The Legacy, Investing In The Future,"  the Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth in higher education and organizations, programs and projects that enhance services and education to the public.