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.
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,
In the 1920s 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.
Petes 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 Petes 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. Petes 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
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