The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.
Navigation: Home > Athletes > Billy Etbauer

Billy Etbauer



The middle of three brothers who grew up in Ree Heights and went on to star on the pro rodeo circuit, Etbauer was a five-time world champion saddle bronc rider.

The Miller High grad competed on the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit for parts of four decades. Etbauer qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in his second year as a professional in 1989 and went on to make the field a record 21 consecutive years, win an NFR-record 51 rounds and earn more than $1 million at that season-ending championship alone. The 5-foot-5, 140-pounder set the NFR record with a 93-point ride on Cool Alley in 2003, then tied it a year later on a 10th-round ride on the same horse that clinched the last of his five gold buckles and made him – at 41 years, 11 months – the oldest roughstock world champion in rodeo history.

Etbauer followed Trevor Brazile as the second cowboy to surpass $3 million in career earnings and was the first to reach that figure in a single event, finishing with $3,015,377 in total earnings. His five saddle bronc riding world championships (1992, 1996, 1999-2000, 2004) is just one short of the event record shared by Dan Mortensen and legendary South Dakotan Casey Tibbs. He also was second in the world standings in 2008 and third in 2005.

Etbauer was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.

When he and brothers Robert and Dan started competing professionally, they shared a bank account. When one won money, they would share it so they could compete at the next rodeo.


















« Back to Athletes