Friday, December 13, 2013
World War II hero and North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee Frank Marshall was once a world champion bull rider. He was also well known as a horse breaker and trader.
Lyndon Earl “Frank” Marshall was born to Albert and Maud Marshall on this date in 1914, on the family farm near Forbes. He got his first pony around age five and taught it to climb steps, open latches and let himself into the kitchen, while Frank stood on the saddle doing tricks. He and his friends went on many escapades with their horses, like tying ropes to horses’ tails, then hanging on tight and skiing behind them.
After graduating from high school in 1932, Frank farmed and worked construction in Montana and Washington. Entering the job market during the Depression of the 1930s, he experienced hunger, unemployment and discouragement.
Frank’s first bull-riding experience was in July 1939 at Bozeman, Montana. He rode the bull, won a cash prize and returned the next day, entering in bull riding and bareback bronc riding.
Frank hit the rodeo circuit, adding saddle bronc riding and bulldogging to his repertoire. In 1941, at the peak of his career, Frank was ranked the Number 4 Brahma bull rider in the world and 25th as all-around cowboy.
Near the end of his rodeo career in May 1942, Frank made a spectacular ride in Arkansas aboard Deer Face, a bull that was seldom ridden.
Frank served in the U.S. Army from 1942-’45, fighting in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He earned a Silver Star and Bronze Star for rescuing wounded U.S. soldiers while under fire, capturing German soldiers, and preventing a burning munitions truck from exploding.
Following discharge, Frank worked with the North Dakota Soil Conservation Service and returned to rodeo. He attended the North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo, earning a civil engineering degree in 1951, and went on to work on contracts across the country … and even taking assignments in other countries.
Through the years, Frank maintained his rodeo memberships and supported Miss Rodeo America functions. He was inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2003 and died September 10th that year in Mesa, Arizona.
Dakota Datebook written by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.
ND Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Chronicle – July 2003
Obituary – Hopewell Valley News, November 6, 2003, and Princeton (New Jersey) Times, November 5, 2003
NDCHF nomination information – 2002-2003