Marty Wood (1933- )
Although he gained fame as a saddle bronc rider, Marty Wood’s original burning ambition was to play professional baseball. When a shoulder injury diverted his attention from the baseball diamond, the youngster turned next on bareback bronc and bull riding. Indeed, it was not until he had rodeoed a year or two that Marty Wood focused exclusively on becoming one of professional rodeo’s all-time great saddle bronc riders.
Martin “Marty” Roy Wood was born
Rodeo historian Fred Schnell stated in his book, The Suicide Circuit (1971) that Marty Wood’s “friends are many, but they admit he is a tough man to know.” Marty’s friend Arland Calvert, a ProRodeo Sports News writer, concurred, describing Wood the “dark, handsome Canadian” as a “dedicated loner” who “picks his own company.”
Calvert also described Wood’s
famed bronc riding technique: “Marty’s slashing style---nobody reaches out
front [in spurring] any farther or uses the full spread with more vigor---has
been compared to the late Pete Knight by many old-timers.” Knight, a famed
Marty Wood qualified for the
National Finals Rodeo (NFR) fourteen times and won three World Saddle Bronc
Championships (’58, ’64, ’66). He was Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
(PRCA) Saddle Bronc runner-up four times and won the Canadian Saddle Bronc
championship three times. Among his many event and all-around championships
were multiple victories at the
In Ellensburg, Marty Wood was a dominant force for a decade. Following the heyday of ERHOF bronc riding Inductees Casey Tibbs and Deb Copenhaver, Wood won a great deal of day money and averages in Ellensburg. He won ‘the Saddles’ outright three times (’57, ’58, and ’67), placing him among the Ellensburg Rodeo’s greatest bronc riding competitors.
At the peak
of his career, Marty Wood began to diversify his professional endeavors,
exhibiting a business sense that equaled his bronc riding skills. He trained
horses and became a pioneer in organizing, marketing, and teaching “bronc
riding school.” Wood ran his school in partnership with ERHOF Inductee stock
contractor Harry Vold on Vold’s famed Fowler,
Marty Wood competed and won consistently for two decades, evincing impressive longevity in the brutal roughstock game. It was only because of severe injuries that Wood retired in 1974. Throughout the 1953-1973 period he suffered through seven broken legs, three fractures of each of his feet and ankles, plus broken ribs and a broken collarbone. A multiple break in 1974 proved to be the last straw.
In the three decades since his
retirement Wood has divided his time between the
Marty Wood now adds membership in the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame to an impressive resume, which includes induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame (‘92), Canadian Hall of Fame for Rodeo (’93), and Alberta Hall of Fame for Sports (’94).