Fettig Brothers Rodeo
For 40 years, the Killdeer-based rodeo company had some of the nation’s greatest bucking horses–like Spur Dodger, Figure 4 and Reservation Red. Along with great horses, the Fettig brothers were famous for bulls like Dark Angle, Jamboree and Double Duce.
The Fettig brothers–Jack, Ray, Phil and Tony–started raising bucking horses and contracting rodeos in the early 1930s. Known as Fettig Brothers Rodeo, the company was owned and operated by the brothers and their sister, Monica Hovden. Nick was the first to get involved with rodeo stock, which he sold out to Phil in 1942.
Fettig Brothers Rodeo produced rodeos throughout the Dakotas and Montana, including the Days of ’76 rodeo in Deadwood, and at the World’s Fair Rodeo in Montreal, Canada. They raised remount horses for the U.S. Cavalry and built their herd using old cavalry horses, government stallions and, in later years, top horses from area ranches, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale.
The Fettigs were contractors for the Killdeer Mountain Round-up Rodeo and provided horses for the first 23 years of the National Finals Rodeo. Bear Den was the top bareback horse at the 1963 and 1964 NFRs and, in those two years, Fettig Brothers Rodeo had more stock at the NFR than any other contractor.
A reporter for the Killdeer Herald once wrote “a good many horses furnished by Fettigs have never been ridden to the finish by any rider.”
After Phil’s death in 1960, Jack bought the company from the estate, renaming it Fettig Rodeo. He continued promoting and producing rodeos throughout the Midwest until 1976 under the name of Fettig Rodeo Company.
Jack, along with his brother, Ray, and nephew, Leroy Fettig (Phil’s son), have kept the stock contracting operation going for over 60 years. Fettig Rodeo remains a living example of the richest traditions of North Dakota rodeo history.