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Tom Minor

Thomas F Minor & Son

Thomas F Minor (1871-1937)


Thomas F. Minor was born in Steubenville, Ohio, March 13, 1871. His family moved to Nevada when Tom was one year old. At the age of 11 he herded mares for the DH outfit in Paradise Valley, Nevada.

In 1882 Tom moved with his family to Willow Creek Ranch, near Orovada, Nevada. There his parents raised eight children. At age 12 Tom went to work for the Hoppin Brothers on Quinn River as a horse wrangler until 1886.

At age 16, Tom hired out as a full-fledged bronc rider on the Spur outfit at Trout Creek, Oregon. Tom with two other riders, rode the rough string. In one year they turned out 100 head of broncs. Top bronc riding wages then was $50.00 per month. During the four and a half years he worked at the Pee Bench, Tom was bucked off only three times.

Leaving the Pee Bench, he returned home for a visit where he met and married Blanch Lamb on July 19, 1894. Shortly after his marriage he moved to Modoc County, California, where for two years he rode colts for $12.00 a head, in addition to which he rode every bad horse within reach, from different spreads for purses.

It was in Cedarville, California, that a first child, a daughter was born to the Minor’s. (The first of five). After leaving California he finally landed in Idaho where he handled large numbers of horses, making a business of buying, selling and riding them. In some districts he was known as Si Thomas for about six years and in others as, Tom Minor, his correct name. He started much excitement and many arguments as Tom Minor sending challenges to Si Thomas, and again, as Si Thomas sending challenges to Tom Minor.

In 1905 Tom Minor entered the Cheyenne, Wyoming contest under the name of Si Thomas and drew the number 16. A man by the name of Frank Stone told the committee that Si Thomas was Tom Minor. Then despite the fact that Tom had entered as Si Thomas and rode the horses assigned under the number 16, he was called to ride as Tom Minor. The decision was that Thad Sowder was first. After protest in favor of Minor, the Judge decreed Minor, the wonder rider, was not entered as a contestant, but was merely giving exhibitions rides.

A month later after the Cheyenne contest, Tom rode in Denver against about the same bunch of riders as in Cheyenne. He won first and under the rules governing it, gave Tom the right to meet Thad Sowders for the championship title. Thad Sowders was awarded the championship. There was much dissatisfaction over the decision of the judges and a list of some 600 names was given to Tom asking to sue for the championship. This he refused. The next year in Denver, Thad Sowder refused to ride against Minor. Harry Brennan and Tom Minor split first for the 1906 championship. After the 1906 Denver contest Tom retired as a contest rider.

He passed away May 5, 1937.

Thomas F. Minor was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 1990.

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