Ed Echols

Inducted Class of 1999

Ed Echols was born in Wilson County, Texas in 1879, and received his education at Big Foot, Texas. Though he didn’t receive a great deal of formal schooling, he once commented, “We didn’t get much schooling in those days, but what we got, we learned real good.” After working as a cowboy in Texas, he came to Arizona via covered wagon in 1902. After punching cattle in the Sulphur Springs Valley, he left Arizona to tour as a performer with the famed Miller Brothers 101 Wild West Show. He later won rave reviews for his roping skill while performing in London with Tex Austin’s Wild West Show. In 1912, Echols won the World Calf Roping Championships at the Calgary Stampede. For his efforts he won $1,500 and the World’s Champion saddle. In 1960 he donated the saddle, along with numerous other awards and tack to the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society. Mr. Echols returned to Tucson in time to help launch La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in 1925. He served as the arena director of the Tucson Rodeo for more than 20 years, and chaired the Tucson Rodeo Committee from 1946-1950.

Due to his expertise, Echols is considered the driving force behind the beginning and growth of professional rodeo in Tucson. Echols also served five terms as Sheriff of Pima County. As a sheriff, he was the first person on the scene of the accident on the Florence Highway that killed western actor Tom Mix in 1940. Mix, along with Will Rogers were two of Echol’s best friends.

Ed Echols died at the age of 89 in 1968, but will remain a Tucson legend.