Saturday, June 1, brought a day of events to Fort Pierre, including the unveiling of the Billy Etbauer bronze statue and the dedication of the new Johnny Smith Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center.
Later, the annual Casey Tibbs Match of Champions Bronc Ride was held at the newly upgraded Casey Tibbs Arena at the Stanley County Fairgrounds.
Etbauer, is a Ree Heights, S.D. native and a five-time world champion saddle bronc rider. The statue in his honor that was unveiled Saturday shows him scoring an 89 on Harry Vold’s saddle bronc, Painted Valley, to win the 2009 Cheyenne Frontier Days saddle bronc event. The three-quarter life-sized statue was created by Tony Chytka. Speaking at the gathering at the rodeo center Saturday, Etbauer said he is pleased with how the statue turned out.
The sculpture garden was the vision of Johnny Smith, a former Casey Tibbs Foundation board member. Smith also had a long career in the livestock sales business. When the idea was first discussed, Etbauer said he was honored to be one of those featured in the garden.
Looking back to the moment depicted on the statue, Etbauer says Painted Valley was a great bronc.
Pro rodeo announcer Hadley Barrett was one of a handful of people who offered comments during Saturday’s program at the center, saying that Etbauer is the same modest, genuine man that he was when he left the state to begin his rodeo career. He also indicated that he is impressed with all the work that has been done at the center in Fort Pierre. Barrett hails from Nebraska and started his announcing career by joining the PRCA in 1965. He has been chosen to announce the National Finals Rodeo four times.