Walter Piehl Jr.

Western Arts & Entertainment

Inducted 2019

Walter Piehl Jr. has brought credit to western heritage through his internationally known artistic talents, his preservation of rodeo and western heritage through his art, and his varied involvement in the sport of rodeo in North Dakota.

Walter Piehl has been a rodeo competitor, producer, and announcer; father of rodeo competitors, acclaimed artist, teacher and mentor to many in and out of the arena.

His father, Walter Piehl Sr. was a 2012 inductee into the ND Hall of Fame in the Leader of Ranching and Rodeo category. In 1963 Walter Piehl Sr. started Dakota Rodeo, Inc., which furnished stock and produced rodeos for 15 years. As a competitor, Walter Piehl Jr. rode bareback horses and team roped, and was the Rough Rider Association Mixed Team Roping Champion in 1989. Walter announced rodeos for more than 25 years.

Walter’s art career began with training at Concordia College and the University of ND. His style has made him unique in Western Americana art. He was influenced by the Italian Abstract Expressionists and the philosophies of the Futurists, and the artists of the Blaue Reiter group, an art movement in Germany in the early 1900’s.

Very few artists who have painted western culture and heritage have been able to unleash color, style and motion like Walter Piehl. His radical art form is against the grain of traditional western art. Walter charted his own course of contemporary western art and is recognized for his work regionally, nationally and internationally.

For more than 48 years Walter Piehl has inspired students in the classroom sharing his knowledge and expertise. In addition, he has mentored many artists.

Walter’s art, his teaching and mentoring has greatly impacted the art world and will continue to do so long into the future. Minot State University has constructed a new Northwest Center for the Arts and the center permanently features the named Walter Piehl Gallery.

To quote rodeo poet Paul Zarzyski, “If you want health? If you want spiritual nourishment? If you want the fountain of youth? Hang a Walter Piehl on your wall and let it dazzle you daily!”