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Pete Kershner

Nathan Pierce (Pete) Kershner (1903-1958)

Pete was born March 10, 1903 at Vale, Oregon to George W. and Martha Pierce Kershner. There were seven boys and two girls in the Kershner Family. Pete was the fourth child in this large family. He received his education in Vale and Ontario, Oregon. Pete spent his summers on the family ranch. The family moved to Homedale, Idaho in 1916.

Pete was the best rider in the family. Ranch work and rodeoing came naturally to him. Pete had a love for horses and he liked working with them, whether it was running them or riding them.

WidowMaker, Nampa, 1916
Pete on Widow Maker, Nampa ID, 1916

In 1916, at the age of 23, Pete won the Idaho State Championship Cowboy at the Nampa Harvest Festival. The Nampa Harvest Festival was the forerunner to the Snake River Stampede. Pete was presented with a saddle made by Hamley Saddle Company of Pendleton, Oregon. Pete made his winning ride on a horse called “Widow Maker”, the most famous bucking horse in the Northwest for several years. The following year Pete was making his winning ride for the Championship in Winnemucca, Nevada when he was injured. He was in a coma for about a month. After this accident Pete discontinued his rodeo career.


Pete on the left receiving saddle and awards for bronc riding, Nampa, ID 1916

In the 1920’s Pete worked various ranches at Paradise Valley, Nevada. Lay Land and Livestock Company owned by Albert Lay, Deer Creek Ranch, 96 Ranch, William Stock Land and Livestock Company and for Able and Curtner, which is known as the Circle A Ranch.

Pete’s Grandfather George W. Pierce was a Blacksmith in Paradise Valley, Nevada from 1874 to 1883. The family had roots in Paradise Valley before Pete worked there. Pete also helped Arthur Drummond run wild horses on the Owyhee Desert. He made several trips to Winnemucca, Nevada trailing chicken feed horses to be shipped on the train.

On December 13, 1943, at the age of 40, Pete enlisted into the U.S. Navy. He served in the South Pacific theatre; this was shortly after Pearl harbor. He was injured in the New Hebrides Campaign in 1944. Pete was on a ship that was being unloaded when a crane fell on him. He was paralyzed from the waist down and had very little use of his left arm. He was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Pete married Josephine Fox of Oreana, Idaho on September 1, 1947 in Winnemucca, Nevada. The couple made their home in Van Nuys, California until 1952, when they returned to Homedale, Idaho. The couple had two children, Jack Melvin and Linda Jo.

After Pete’s injuries he learned how to do leather craft. He did this as a hobby to occupy his spare time. Pete owned a gravel operation in Homedale, Idaho during this time. Pete’s enthusiasm for rodeos never waned and he attended all of the local rodeos, viewing them from a “ringside seat” in his wheelchair. Pete enjoyed going downtown, in Homedale in his motorized wheelchair and visiting his friends. One person that he liked to visit with was Leo Coc, a bronc rider. They would relive their rides and discuss the different horses that they had ridden.

Pete Kershner passed away at the age of 55 in March of 1958 at Boise, Idaho. He was an honorary member of the Homedale American Legion and an honorary member of the Owyhee Wranglers.

Pete Kershner was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 1995.


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