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Verne Elliott Collection

Identifier: R-271

Scope and Contents

The Verne Elliot Collection contains 85 photographs in a scrapbook with handwritten descriptions of each image. One of the images is not in the scrapbook and is in a folder within the box.

The image titles used in the container list are transcribed from the descriptions written in the scrapbook.


  • Creation: circa 1920-1930


Conditions Governing Access

The Verne Elliot Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Verne Elliott Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Biographical / Historical

Verne Elliott was born on the family’s homestead ranch in Platteville, Colorado, on July 4, 1890. Elliott’s grandfather left Kentucky in 1852 on his way to California but ended up settling down and building his homestead in Colorado. Elliott’s father, Jackson, was a cattleman, cowboy, and at one time sheriff of Weld County. Verne went to grade school in Greeley and Manual High School in Denver, but at 16 decided to withdraw from school and pursue the cowboy and rodeo business. His father didn’t argue, but said “he had better be good at it.”

Elliott roped and rode in the roughstock events in rodeo arenas before he became a contractor. His first rodeo was the 1907 Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. He was forced to retire from participating in rodeo events due to an injury in 1910.

He still wanted to be involved in rodeo events and culture, so he turned to the livestock contracting business. Elliott partnered with Ed McCarty of Chugwater, Wyoming, just after World War I in 1918, and they produced the first indoor rodeo in Texas, in 1917. Elliott built bucking chutes at this Fort Worth rodeo, when previously broncs were either snubbed or held in the arena until the rider climbed aboard.

The famous saddle broncs Midnight and Five Minutes to Midnight were owned by the McCarty-Elliott Company, and both broncs are interred on the Plaza Gardens at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. In an open letter printed in Rodeo Sports News, Casey Tibbs remembers “I know that Midnight and Five Minutes to Midnight were great horses and you loved them so much that you nearly choked up every time you talked about them.”

The McCarty-Elliott Company also produced the first Denver National Western Rodeo in 1931, a contract maintained by Elliott even after McCarty died in 1946. Elliott also produced the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Pendleton Round-Up, and the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada. The company took a rodeo to New York in 1922 and to London in 1924 and 1934.

In 1936, Elliott was initiated into the Navajo Indian Tribe of Arizona with the name “Acalthe Binantai” which translates in English “Mr. Head Cowboy.”

In 1954 the Rodeo Cowboys’ Association presented Elliott with a plaque at the Denver National Western Rodeo, “In recognition of his many years if producing fine rodeos, his success over the years in helping to raise the standard of Rodeo as an American competitive sport, and his generosity in helping the cowboys.”

In 1962, Verne Elliott at the age of 71 died from a heart attack while working in the pasture of his St. Vrain Ranch near the same town he was born, Platteville, Colorado. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum inducted Verne Elliott into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1973, for being a rodeo producer and livestock contractor.


0.16 Linear Feet (1 oversize flat box)

Language of Materials



The Verne Elliot Collection is a scrapbook containing photographs of rodeo contestants and events.

Processing Information

The Verne Elliot Collection was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1980 by Verne Elliot.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States