By Robbie Robertson
And a “Good Time” was had by all!
When Bill “Good Time” Feddersen, 86, is inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, in September, everyone present is sure to have a good time.
“This is like winning the lottery. I never dreamed I would make it. All the family and everybody is real happy about it,” Feddersen said.
Bill was born in Union City, and carved his hall of fame niche as a rodeo cowboy. He was a champion saddle bronc rider and steer wrestler.
The nickname came from Marty Woods, a world champion saddle bronc rider from Canada. Feddersen was always quick to laugh and always had a joke or two to share with his rodeo buddies. Woods even had the nickname inscribed on a pair of chaps he gave to Feddersen.
“In my lifetime, I’ve never met anybody I couldn’t make laugh,” Feddersen said, with a laugh.
Feddersen started riding horses when he was four years old. It’s all he ever wanted to do. Feddersen competed in his first rodeo in 1943, at the age of 15. He was destined for stardom.
“I’d ride in some rodeos, but I didn’t really compete until I got out of the Army. It wasn’t until 1950 that I became serious about the rodeo circuit,” Feddersen said.
In 1948, Feddersen married his wife, Donna. From their El Reno home, the Feddersens’ raised two daughters, Vicki and Deborah. During the summers, when the girls were out of school, the rodeo circuit became a family affair.
“We would travel with Bill. We had good friends on the rodeo circuit. We would all stay at the same hotel. We would eat together. It was really a good time.” said Donna.
From 1950-1968, Feddersen, on average, competed in 55 rodeos a year. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo six consecutive years, 1959-1964. The National Finals Rodeo is the premier championship rodeo event in the United States. It is the super bowl of rodeo. It is the biggest event of the year.
Feddersen was the first saddle bronc rider out of the shoot, in the first ever national finals, in Dallas, in 1959.
Feddersen was one of five boys. His youngest brother, Don, was also a top notch rodeo cowboy. In 1960, Bill and Don were the first brothers to make the National Finals Rodeo together, in the same year.
“We were just thinking about the finals and the money. We didn’t realize we were the first brothers. It was just a special moment,” Feddersen said.
The sport has changed over the years. Feddersen’s best year on the rodeo circuit was 1960, when he earned $27,000. Today, a cowboy can earn that much money at one rodeo.
Feddersen did all this rodeo work while holding down a job with the Rock Island Railroad back in El Reno. He didn’t have to show up for work everyday.
“I was sort of like their spokesperson. They would give me a leave of absence so I could rodeo. I worked for them from 1950 until I retired in 1980,” Feddersen said.
Undoubtedly, the audience at the hall of fame induction ceremony will learn, first hand, much more about the legendary career of Bill “Good Time” Feddersen. The ceremony will be held September 27-28, 2013 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City.
“This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. There is no comparison. There a lot of people who have done this, but not everybody gets in the hall of fame,” Feddersen said.
Have a good time, “Good Time.”