by Amy Patterson
Chandler “Feek” Tooke is a name considered to be synonymous with “greatness” by those in the rodeo industry. The mention of his last name alone brings to mind images of heavy boned, feather footed broncs with sweeping manes and tails. These sentiments will be recognized once again in January, as Tooke is honored by the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit as a 2019, “the Year of the Saddle Bronc,” inductee to their Hall and Wall of Fame.
Feek began producing rodeos with his five brothers nearly three-quarters of a century ago, and the industry was never the same. Additionally, Tooke broncs have been revered as the first “born to buck” horses of the rodeo world, doing more than their part to shape bucking stock as we know it today.
“…through DNA research roughly 90% of breeding goes back to what Feek started in the 1930s. That is something that will never be duplicated…because he was the foundation…the first,” explained Toby Tooke, great-grandson of Feek Tooke.
A letter from Bill Williams, president of the MPR Hall and Wall of Fame, details that “Feek will be honored as a 2019 Legend – a PRCA individual that has left their mark on professional rodeo.”
This selection reserves Tooke’s spot on a brick and granite wall near the entrance of the MetraPark Arena in Billings, Mont., where his name will be permanently engraved.
Toby says he will be the one to accept the award from the Montana Pro Rodeo board, no doubt with a number of Tooke family members in his company.
“This one was a total surprise,” he said. “Over the past decade Feek has been inducted to numerous Halls, with me working on the nomination paperwork. But this one was voted on by the elite of Montana rodeo. Recognition for what Feek did never gets old, reminds me that our family has a pretty cool story, that is important to the history of rodeo. I always get a little emotional with these honors.”
In addition to honoring those who have greatly influenced the lifestyle, the Hall and Wall of Fame board pays great attention to ensuring the future of rodeo is in good hands. To date, the group has awarded more than $500,000 in college scholarships to worthy high school rodeo athletes.
A special banquet recognizing all of the 2019 inductees will be held in Billings on January 26, 2019. For more information, please visit www.montanaprorodeo.com.
To learn more about the Tooke family and their brand, visit them on Facebook –facebook.com/