Gene McCormick was a dedicated cowboy and rancher who loved rodeo and won many ropings and doggings in his career. He was respected as a cowboy, rancher, father, friend and helping hand.
Born in Bismarck to Charles and Ruth (Madland) McCormick on January 27, 1926, he was raised on a farm north of Menoken.
As a child, Gene liked to rope, using twine off the feed sacks. The first hard twist rope he got was from his uncle, Lawrence Madland, in 1934. He practiced roping sunflowers, sheep and his friends until they got sick of it. When the wild turkeys came in to roost on the windmill, he roped them, too.
Gene attended school in Menoken and graduated from Bismarck High School in 1943. That year, he participated in his first rodeo, entering in saddle bronc, bareback, steer wrestling and calf roping.
After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946, Gene started to rodeo again, mainly in roping and steer wrestling. He won the state calf roping championship in Dickinson in 1948.
Gene was appointed as North Dakota spokesman for the RCA in 1953. Gene was the state champion steer wrestler in 1953 and 1954 and won state championships in roping and steer wrestling in 1955. His last rodeo was at the Bismarck Civic Center in 1969. Entering in bull dogging, calf roping and team roping, he still made it to the pay window.
He was a member of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Association and held a PRCA Gold Card. Gene and his wife, Betty, had 7 children and 16 grandchildren. They ranched south of Bismarck on a Hereford ranch, which is still in operation.Gene died on July 31, 1996.
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