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Ervin Otto Korkow

Canning, SD

1933, 1793, Pine Creek, S-1

An exchange between The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum of South Dakota and CCC Man Erv Korkow's son Don led to the compilation of the following information from various sources.

Ervin Otto Korkow, 79, of Blunt and formerly of Pierre died Thursday, Nov. 25, 1993, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre. He was born Nov. 24, 1914, in Wishek, N.D., to Otto and Lucy (Cory) Korkow.

He moved to a ranch south of Canning in 1929. When the depression hit, he quit school to take a job driving a horse-drawn school bus. On June 25, 1939, Erv married LaFola Shouse in Huron. They purchased the ranch where his parents had once lived in 1941.

In 1946 he established Korkow Trucking in Blunt. He and several friends formed the South Dakota Rodeo Association in 1948. He was elected the first president of the association. He produced amateur rodeos until 1958, when he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He and his partner, James Sutton Sr., produced professional rodeos until 1968, when the partnership was dissolved.

Fort Pierre’s legendary Casey Tibbs won his first saddle bronc championship in 1949, the year he turned 20 in March. That was before there was a National Finals Rodeo.

Jim Korkow of Pierre says his father, Erv Korkow, convinced Tibbs during a rodeo in Fort Pierre about 1958 that the professional rodeo cowboys should pattern the national competition on the way the South Dakota Rodeo Association held a sort of tournament to determine the state’s champions.

That same year (1958), he started producing professional rodeos under the Rodeo Cowboys Association banner. He provided bucking stock for their first National Finals Rodeo in 1959 and did so annually. Erv was also instrumental in starting South Dakota's youth 4-H rodeo series.

  • 1970--"Award of Merit" by the PRCA
  • 1979--"Stock Contractor of the Year" in the PRCA's Badlands Circuit
  • 1982--"Stock Contractor of the Year" presented at the NFR in OKC by International Rodeo Fans
  • 1982--"Erv Korkow Day" proclaimed by South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow
  • 1982--Plaque from PRCA for "Many Years of Participation and Support of ProRodeo"
  • 1983--"Heartland Saddle Award" recipient at South Dakota State Fair
  • 1984-- "Contributor of the Year" awarded by National High School Rodeo Association
  • 1984--Inducted into the Rushmore All-American High School Rodeo Hall of Fame, Rapid City, SD
  • 1985--Inducted into the South Dakota Association of Fairs & Conventions Hall of Fame
  • 1986--"Man of the Year" by South Dakota High School Rodeo Association
  • 1991--State 4-H Rodeo Finals dedicated to Erv
  • 1992--Inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame for 'Rodeo'
  • 1993--"Erv Korkow Day" proclaimed by South Dakota Governor Walter D Miller
  • 2009--Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs, CO
Erv Korkow's sons

Erv's sons Ken, Jim and Don accepting the Hall of Fame awards in honor of Erv

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