Adjust story text size:
Prior to WWII, the November and early December rodeos at the Boston Garden and in New York’s Madison Square Garden ended the professional rodeo season. The national men and women champions in each event were crowned in Madison Square Garden.
A belt buckle Shorty was “mighty proud of reads: Presented to Shorty Creed, by Madison Square Garden Rodeo for record time bulldogging, October 20, 1939.” His time of 4 3/5 seconds held up for 17 years.
“For many years when the Madison Square Garden rodeo ended, teams of cowboys and cowgirls were selected to tour Europe and/or Australia during December and January. Being selected for one of these teams was a prestigious event and provided the contestants a unique opportunity to travel overseas on a ship. The promoters provided the contestants with nice accommodations and their meals. The contestant’s skilled horses were also transported and cared for.”
In 1934, Gene had a black horse, Tom Thumb that she trained and took to London for the tour. She rode him for 10 years total. She later trained a white flashier horse for the rodeos but he was never as dependable—eventually ending her career.
Gene and Shorty Creed were selected to compete against the Australian professional cowboys and cowgirls for four months in early 1939. They broke the horses they needed there-in only six weeks. “The Creeds were good friends with Ray Talbot because of his long tenure as President of the Colorado State Fair. The City Park Zoo was a major WPA project and one of Talbot’s favorites. When Shorty Creed learned he was gong to Australia he promised Talbot that he would bring back a pair of kangaroos for the zoo. Creed also brought back at least one emu.”
“In (late) 1939, Shorty and Gene started a show of their own. Rodeo stock proved more profitable than competing as it was hit and miss. Rodeo stock came with a contract—guaranteed money. They put a string of bucking horses, bulls, calves and steers; bulldogging steers and rodeo horses under the brand of Quarter Circle LD. They made a business out of it; when they could sleep on a bedroll to save $1.50 they did. In the winter they had land and ranches to manage.”
Gene was badly injured at Madison Square Gardens in New York in 1940. “I had a contract to trick ride and between the 1st time I went in and the 2nd time a lady threw her white fur coat over the rail. When my horse saw that coat it stopped just like a calf roping horse would do. I was standing up and he threw me off on the right hand side of him, which is the wrong side ‘cause you get up on the left hand side. The cowboy that was watching knew I needed help but he ran up to that horse instead of walked and spooked him and he swung around and hit my head on the concrete wall, knocked me out and then ran off with me. They couldn’t catch him and I was unconscious for a long time and in the hospital for six weeks. That’s when I hurt my back.”
She never recovered her balance “it was off afterwards—it was time to quit.” They both did, after a total of 38 years ‘riding’—Shorty for 20 and Gene for 18.
Gene and Shorty sold out in Rye and established a ranch in Pleasant Valley near Bellvue, Colorado. Shorty’s parents lived nearby. In 1945, “they bought a house in town and stayed there for three years; the only three years Gene claimed to have ever lived in a city.”
In 1952, Gene and Shorty built a house in LaPorte, Colorado where they raised cattle, horses, and Lonnie—their adopted son, who also went on to become a rodeo cowboy.
When he was 75, Shorty “still looked like the athlete he had been at 25, compact, narrow at the hips but broad in the shoulders, with a six-foot frame.” Unfortunately, Gene continued to suffer from the back injuries she sustained and became crippled by the pain. Shorty passed away on July 13, 1992 and Gene a few months later on February 15, 1993. They are both buried in the Grandview Cemetery in Larimer County, Colorado with his parents.