For the first time in history of the Victor Valley College Foundation Hall of Fame event, one of the Alumni categories is awarded the honor posthumously.
We know the Victor Valley is steeped in rich Western history, however, reflecting on Earl W. Bascom's life, you could say this legendary cowboy made a tremendous impact on the High Desert's art culture and on the professional rodeo circuit.
Bascom and his wife Nadine made their way to the Victor Valley in 1957. When the college opened in 1961, Nadine began taking classes at the newly formed institution and became the first graduating female earning her Associate Arts degree in 1963. Although he had already earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Brigham Young University in Utah, Earl's love of art led him to take more classes at VVC over the next three years.
Today, he has been declared the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional artist and sculptor. After his youngest son John graduated from BYU in art and sculpture, they started Bascom Fine Arts, the first bronze foundry in the Victor Valley. Earl drew upon his vast experience to make his creations absolutely accurate. Notwithstanding the popular, well-promoted "commercial" cowboy artists of the day, Bascome was quoted as saying, "It is simply not a great work of art if it is not authentic."
You can also add the title "inventor" to Bascom's resume. In 1916, he invented the rodeo's first side-delivery bucking chute, 1922 he invented the first hornless rodeo saddle, in 1924 he invented rodeo's first one-handed bareback rigging, and in 1926 he invented the first modern rodeo chaps. All of these innovations and inventions are now standard equipment used at rodeos around the world.
Bascom's western "bootprint" on the Victor Valley didn't stop there. In 1966, he worked weekends at the Roy Rogers Riding Stables in Apple Valley driving the hay wagon and also worked with Roy as one of the cowboys in TV commercials for the Roy Rogers Restaurant chain. And yes, there is more! In 1954, Bascom was one of the outlaw characters in the Hollywood western movie, "The Lawless Rider."
It is without question, the High Desert communities were proud to recognize Bascom as one of its own. All honored Bascom as Grand Marshall and Legendary Cowboy at the Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victorville rodeos.
Bascom died in 1995, he was 89.