Gila County History Highlights - Joe Bassett - Cowboy, Horse Trainer and World Champion Team Roper

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Joe Bassett (1911-1973) was a top cowboy both on the range and in the arena. The highlight of his career came in 1942 when he won the title of World Champion Team Roper. The following year he was privileged to perform at Madison Square Garden, New York as a World Champion Team Roper. He stayed in the top ten in the Rodeo Cowboys Association team roping standings from 1945 to 1952. Again in 1952, he was named World Champion Roper, along with his partner, Asbury Schell.

Joe was known as the dean among trainers of racing Quarter Horses in Arizona. In 1969, he won the $100,000 Invitational Quarter Horse Stake Race at Los Alamitos, California, the top Quarter Horse meet in the nation.

Joe participated and won many Payson Rodeos. In the famous hotly-matched race of 1952, between Brown Bomber and Cindy McCue, Joe Bassett bull-dogged Wayne Ewing off his horse after the finish line because Ewing had batted Bomber in the face with his whip. Joe lost the race but won the fight. Many had bet on this horse race, and when they saw the fight start, they put down bets on the fight. Once again proving this was a WILD and rough place. For more great stories from the past, visit this page to learn more about the amazing history of Gila County!

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