Sonny Tureman was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1979.

Born in Prairie City in 1918, Tureman won the world bareback riding championship in 1948, and was known as one of the best.

“Take my word for it, he’s (Tureman) the greatest bareback bronc rider in the world, and I know a few,” said three-time world champion Jack Buschbom.

Gary Gregg of John Day, vice president of the Grant County Ranch & Rodeo Museum, said he knew of Tureman and was once introduced to him.

“He was one fantastic cowboy,” Gregg said. “He could work any position on a ranch and do it well – he always did his job to the top.”

Tureman, who was a horsebreaker, also lived in John Day. He left the family ranch in 1945 to rodeo full time.

He won the rookie saddle bronc riding title at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo., and at the Pendleton Roundup in 1946.

In 1947 he was fourth in the bareback riding world standings.

After winning the championship prize in 1948, he went on to place third in 1951 and fourth in 1953.

Later injured in an vehicle accident and with a permanent hip injury, Tureman competed in team roping, winning three go-rounds with Ace Berry at the 1965 finals in Oklahoma.

He also placed 14th in the world championships with Alan Keller in 1972.

“I wouldn’t take nothing from my life in rodeo,” he said. “I rode to make a living. If I won $500 a year riding rodeo, that was more than I could make earning wages.”

Tureman died Oct. 18, 1995, at age 76 in Oakdale.

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