LEWISTON – Jackson Sundown is remembered fondly for his horsemanship, and his prestige is being posthumously honored with his induction into the Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Sundown, a Nez Perce man famous for his 1916 saddle bronc win at the Pendleton Round-Up, will join the ranks of many other famous cowboys in the hall of fame during a ceremony Oct. 20 in Twin Falls.
Charmy Leavell, secretary-treasurer of the nonprofit hall of fame, said in a written statement that 300 people are expected to attend this year’s ceremony.
Famous deceased and living cowboys are nominated to be inducted, and Sundown was picked this year — partly for the myth of his personality and partly for his renowned riding.
Leavell said Sundown’s name has come up often as being worthy of the rodeo hall of fame during board meetings, but recently the board’s director had been in contact with Nez Perce Tribe officials and plans were made to add Sundown.
“He’s just so amazing,” Leavell said. “The board director had actually been working with the folks up at (the Nez Perce Tribe) and he came back and he said we just need to induct Jackson.”
Sundown earned the world championship at Pendleton at age 53, and common folklore suggests other riders refused to compete if he was set to ride against them.
He was marked by his flamboyant attire, which included long boot-cut chaps made of wooly angora, with bombastic colors and numerous tassels. Sundown died in 1923 and was buried near Jacque’s Spur near Culdesac, though his grave went unmarked for 40 years before Nez Perce tribal members rectified it by putting a granite headstone at his grave in 1967.
His birth name was Waaya-Tanah-Toesits-Kahn (Earth Left by the Setting Sun), according to a 2016 article in Cowboys & Indians magazine. Several of Sundown’s descendants and other tribal members intend to attend the ceremony.
Sundown was added to the Idaho Hall of Fame in July 2014. He was the second member of the Nez Perce Tribe to achieve the honor, joining his uncle, Chief Joseph.
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