Author Anita Waggoner presently resides near Coeur D Alene, Idaho. She’s a gutsy entrepreneur with an extensive marketing and writing background. An outgoing, strong independent woman Anita has lived an exciting life most may only dream of.
Anita is blessed with the creative ability to show readers how to overcome hurdles and disappointments in their own lives. Her books are all based somewhat on personal life experiences. She has an uncanny propensity to move the story forward. Once a reader opens one of her books, they can't put it down.
After going through a difficult divorce, Anita walked away from a privileged lifestyle in the city and bought a 3400 acre ranch near a small country cow town in Oklahoma… Freedom... population 285. She raised rodeo bulls with her partner Marvin Nixon and built and exclusive western guest ranch where she entertained guests from around the world.
You might say that “rodeo is in her blood”!
Anita met Marvin Nixon an ex-bull rider and Oklahoma cowboy at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and went from living the life of a socialite to being an owner of one of Oklahoma’s largest ranches. Anita credits her success and ability to carry on the family rodeo tradition to the examples of greatness her grandfather instilled in her.
Anita and her partner Marvin Nixon raised world-class rodeo bulls on the Freedom ranch. Their branded Rocking A bulls performed at PBR and PRCA rodeo events in many cities around the United States from 1996 through 2009.
When Hank Williams sings It’s a Family Tradition it strikes accord in a lot of families for different reasons. Many other family members have followed the Leo Moomaw rodeo tradition by competing in various rodeo events throughout the country.
Partners Marvin Nixon and Anita Waggoner
A FAMILY TRADITION
GRANDPA LEO MOOMAW
Anita’s grandfather Leo Moomaw was no stranger to rodeo fans and contestants throughout much of the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
Leo’s life was not easy, but it was rewarding! He was riding and breaking some of the toughest horses in the country by the age of 16.
Leo was 19 years old when he contracted to supply bucking horses for a rodeo at Davenport, Washington at $1.00 per head. With three friends they rounded up 75 head of wild horses and drove them cross country to the show as there was no such thing as hauling your stock in those days. Ranching and rodeo was Leo’s entire life. He hauled bucking horses by rail cars to faraway places like Madison Square Garden in New York, Fort Smith, Arkansas and other cities across the country.
Leo ran his stock contracting business alone from 1927 to 1933 when he teamed up with Tim Bernard of Loomis, Washington. This partnership worked out well for the next several years as they suppled some of the top bucking stock of all time to rodeos throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Leo sold out to Ring Brothers in 1949 and worked for them for some time after the sale. In 1953 Leo Moomaw and Joe Kelsey of Tonasket, Washington, formed another rodeo stock contracting partnership. Their well-known string represented some of the toughest bucking stock in the nation.
During his lifetime, Leo Moomaw was the owner or partner in some of the greatest bucking stock in the world, including: Badger Mountain, Blue Blazes, Snake, Devil’s Dream, Treasure Island, Whizzbang, Davy Crockett, Little Wonder, Zombie, Shake ‘em Down Sally, Widow Maker, Two Spot, Sky High, Black Widow and many others.
The growing pains and knocks and bruises that went along with the game… together with the years that invariably piled up, brought Leo to sell his share of the partnership to his partner Joe Kelsey, who did a great job of carrying on their reputation. Joe Kelsey had some of the top horses bucking in the country: Snake, Sky High, Lightning Creek, John Doe, Hot Seat, Hell to Set, High Skip and Cariboo.
A favorite Moomaw Family photograph taken on the Moomaw Ranch in the 50's.
Back row lef to right: Grandpa Leo, wife Marge, Aunt Sade Peasley, behind her husband Ed Peasley, Aggie Moomaw, behind her husband Wade Moomaw, Eddie Moomaw and his wife Dorothy, Duane Moomaw.
Middle Ros: Edith Moomaw Stevens, Richard Moomaw, Marie Moomaw Fry, Ida Moomaw Waggoner
Cousins - First Row: Shirley Spence, Beverly Peasley, Fred Spence, Aunt Peg Moomaw, Gary Peasley, Cousin Dick Spence, Uncle Ted Moomaw, Anita Waggoner, Patricia Waggoner and Janice Moomaw
Story and poem by Uncle Ted Moomaw - 1998
Badger Mountain and Blue Blazes were two of Leo Moomaw’s great horses. Badger was acquired in a trade and bucked his way to fame as the second best bucking horse in the world in 1942. Blue Blazes was born on Leo Moomaw’s old ranch east of Monse, Washington in the year of 1925 to a bucking mare named Maude.
Blue Blazes started his career as a yearling. He bucked bareback with a bull rigging until he was five years old and he was never ridden. About the third jump he would pull a suck back and if he did not lose his rider, he would jump the opposite way and suck back again. Blue’s tricks were always successful. His mother Maude bucked the same way.
Blue Blazes matured into a great saddle bronk and bucked off many of the great saddle bronk riders of the day. He continued to perform well into his thirties. At the 1942 Pendleton Roundup Ed McCarty and Vern Elliott, the owners of Midnight and Five Minutes to Midnight, offered Leo $2,000 for Blue Blazes and Badger Mountain. To Leo Moomaw those good horsed were worth more than money. He declined the generous offer and that weekend Blue and Badger bucked off three or four of the world’s best bronk riders.
When they were loose in a pasture Blue Blazes and Badger Mountain always were found together.
Ted Moomaw - Author
They bonded together with an outlaw pride.
Blue Blazes and Badger were impossible to ride.
Blue was born on the ranch in twenty five,
thirty years later he was still alive.
He was a mighty bronk, as I have been told.
He started bucking when he was one year old.
Blue Blazes went unridden, even at that time.
On him few good riders could win a dime.
He bucked bare back until he was four.
By then he certainly knew the score.
He would jump to the right and suck back hard,
then to the left and it would be, “So long, pard!”
The pictures show him twisting about.
Blue Blazes was very quick and stout.
One of Frank Van Meter with cig in mouth,
shows Blue’s head go north and shoulder south.
Deb Copenhaver told me with pride,
he drew him once and he was hard to ride.
All the champions tried him at one time
and he got them all when in his prime.
Along with his partner’s famous name,
Blue is honored in Pendleton’s hall of fame.
Just as they always gave the crowds a thrill,
Blue and Badger Mountain are together still.