Charles M. Russell (1864–1926)
Bucking Horse and Cowboy, ca. 1925
Transparent and opaque watercolor and ink over graphite underdrawing on paper
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection
On April 7, 1925, Russell wrote his old friend Guy Weadick, the founder and chief promoter of the world famous rodeo, the Calgary Stampede, letting him know that he planned to attend. “Guy, I just received your kind invitation and I’ll sure be there,” he enthused. “I am sending you two sketches that you might use on your paper; they could be reduced and used on your programs.” One of the sketches was this spirited watercolor of a cowboy on a wildly bucking horse. “The Old West is wired now but I’m glad we’ve still got broncs and bronc riders,” he wrote another rodeo promoter in the same period. “My hat’s off to all riders and ropers; they’re all we’ve got left of the Old West.” Whenever possible, Russell attended rodeos, livestock conventions, and pioneer reunions to keep his memories alive. Unfortunately, Russell’s work and traveling schedule proved too daunting, and he reluctantly had to back out of his earlier commitment to attend the Calgary Stampede. This watercolor, however, remains a record of his best intentions.