By Shannon Geddes
In the early days of rodeo,1940’s, the men that competed in rodeo were also members of the military. One of the many definitions of veteran is “a person who has had long experience in a particular field or old hand”. This definition holds true for the cowboy as well.
One primary example of a veteran/ cowboy was Frank Mendes. Frank was an accomplished bull rider before he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1941. After serving his country and acquiring the nickname of “Captain Cowboy” from his fellow army comrades, Frank returned to bull riding.
Frank won many events including the Cow Palace in San Francisco and Madison Square Garden in New York City. He loved participating in rodeo and was one of the charter members of the Cowboy Turtle Association, now known as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Frank served his country as well as stood up for the rights of the rodeo cowboy.
Frank came from an amazing legacy of rodeo cowboys. All five of his brothers competed in the sport of rodeo and were professional rodeo cowboys. This sport of rodeo passed down through generations of the Mendes Family and his posterity can still be found within the Professional Rodeo Circuit.