Rodeo great called New Mexico home

By Don McAlavy: CNJ Columnist

Robert Anderson Crosby was born to ranching parents in Midland, Texas,Feb. 27, 1897. Called “Bob” Crosby, he was one of four other youngsters when the family moved to a ranch near Kenna eight years later. From a very young age a horse was his mode of transport whether it be school, work, or his faithful church attendance.

Bob took up rodeo, as many did during those hard times, to add income to the family budget. His love and knowledge of horsemanship led him to raise and train these animals. Through out his life some of the roping and cutting quarter horses he owned were Reservation, Addle Foot, Powder Horn, Bullet, Junebug, Comet, Scarface, and Jelly Bean.

Bob made his Cross B brand famous in his day. He won the title of “World Champion Cowboy” three times and the Teddy Roosevelt Trophy that is awarded only to three-time winners.

Bob completed in rodeos for newly 30 years. Business ventures included a chain of sherbet ice cream parlors in Arizona and the green Lantern Saloon in Roswell, among others.

One of the most incredible tales is of the famous rodeo performer “Wild Horse Bob” Crosby of Roswell and Kenna, who reportedly broke every bone in his body, except his spine and left leg, at least once. In 1930, Bob broke his right leg five times and, because of a medical complication, developed

gangrene. When “Mayo Clinic” doctors advised amputation, Bob refused, reportedly walking right out of the operating room. Back at the ranch, to arrest the gangrene, he wrapped his leg in an inner tube packed with cow manure for two days. It did the trick, according to Bob: “the red centipedes plumb disappeared,” he said.

Bob returned to the circuit a few months later and achieved even greater fame as a steer roper. Bob participated in the rodeos that Homer Bennett, at his arena, started in Clovis in 1946.

Bob formed a band to play at dances, etc., probably after WWII, but he himself wasn’t a musician. He just wanted to entertain people at different occasions. One of the musicians was Lloyd Jordan, of Clovis and Farwell.

On his way to the Cross-B Ranch from his home in Roswell, his jeep missed the bridge at Acme Draw and he was killed. Acme Draw was renamed the “Bob Crosby Draw” in his honor. His trophies and awards are on display in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He was inducted as a Rodeo Hall of Fame Honoree, in 1966, 19 years after he died.


Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:

dmcalavy@telescopelab.com