Dakota Datebook

Rodeo star John “Buzz” Fredericks Jr.

Friday, December 27, 2013

 

North Dakota rodeo star John “Buzz” Fredericks Jr. died on this date in 2006. He was a lifetime rancher and a well-known rodeo cowboy, winning titles in bareback, saddle bronc and steer wrestling.

Born March 24, 1933, to John Fredericks Sr. and Catherine Medicine Stone-Fredericks on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, he was a member of the Prairie Chicken Clan and a child of the Low Cap Clan.

Buzz competed in his first rodeo at age 14 in Elbowoods. After driving the cows home that day, he rode 21 miles back to participate in the bareback event. After graduating from Elbowoods High School, he attended North Dakota State University and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, on a rodeo scholarship. Buzz transferred to New Mexico A&M in Las Cruces, earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics.

Among the numerous titles he won were the steer wrestling title at the national college finals in 1956 and the intercollegiate southwest regional saddle bronc title in 1957. He also finished third in the bareback riding in 1957. At New Mexico A&M, Buzz helped lead the rodeo team to a national runner-up finish that same year, coming in second in saddle bronc riding to his younger brother Pete.

Buzz was elected National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association director for the southwest region in 1957. He was also a member of the livestock judging team, winning many livestock judging awards.

Buzz also competed in professional rodeos. At age 18, he won the saddle bronc title in Killdeer. In 1958, he won the North Dakota Rodeo Cowboy’s Association steer wrestling title. Later, Buzz won the short round in steer wrestling at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, setting an arena record that stood for years.

He rodeoed throughout North Dakota and the country, participating in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s, National Indian Rodeo and All-Indian Rodeo associations.

Buzz served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1962 and was a lifetime member of the American Legion. Buzz valued his military service and his education, putting it to good use as an instructor at the Twin Buttes School and with the bulldogging school held at his ranch.

In the 1950s, Buzz established a ranch west of Twin Buttes and there raised cattle, horses and eight children. He established a consulting business emphasizing Indian education, agriculture and economic development. Buzz was an advocate for Indian cattlemen, serving as the first president of the National American Indian Cattlemen’s Association from 1974-’79.

Dakota Datebook written by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.

Sources:

ND Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Chronicle – July 2006

Obituary – Bismarck Tribune – December 29, 2001

NDCHF nomination information – 2002-2006

Article, Minot Daily News, April 9, 1962

 

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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