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Guide to the DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs

DeVere HelfrichDeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs, 1941-1970
John DeVere Helfrich (1902-1981). 37,369 Negatives, 1941-1970
Collection: MS040
Accession: 1981.023

Biography
John DeVere Helfrich was a professional rodeo photographer from 1939-1967. He was born on April 16, 1902, in Lamonta, Oregon, and as a child he spent time at his uncle's ranch working with cattle and horses. In 1926, he married Helen Reed, and they worked as small business owners until World War II rationing forced their stores to close. He became interested in rodeos and photography in 1939, and in 1941 he won the World Championship Rodeo Corporation's best picture of the year prize. It was for an image of Gene Pruett on Colonel Dean at the Prairie City Rodeo in Oregon. Helen and DeVere spent most of their time traveling to rodeos, and even transformed a travel trailer into a mobile dark room. The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association used Helfrich's photograph of Bill Ward on Sea Lion at San Angelo, Texas, as inspiration for their official logo. He retired from photography in 1967, and died September 1, 1981.

Scope & Content Note  

The DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs consists of 37,369 negatives and fourteen log books. The negatives range in size from 80x110mm, 62x62mm, and 35mm. The log books, dating 1941-1970, list the negative number, caption or title of image, location or rodeo venue, and date, as well as dark room processing notes. Additionally, there is a small collection of negatives with an associated log book dating between 1951 and 1952 which document horse race finishes and winner portraits at Walla Walla, Waitesburg, Dayton, and Pomeroy in Washington; Pendleton and Union in Oregon; and Red Bluff, California.

Documented in log book 6 are Helfrich's experimental efforts at the first National Finals Rodeo with different film, speeds, cameras, and processing chemistry and procedures ostensibly to produce quality images without the benefits of a flash. Helfrich documented the activities and events of the National Finals Rodeo from 1959-1966.

Over 5,300 rodeo contestants and personalities are represented in this collection. Over 3,000 horses and over 400 bulls are documented and recorded pictorially. Venues for which there are over 1,000 images include Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Los Angeles, Red Bluff, San Francisco, Denver, Sidney, Klamath Falls, Pendleton, Dallas, Ellensburg, and Cheyenne. Over 400 images have been attributed to Helen Helfrich.

Subject Terms  

Personal Names:

Abbott, Buck
Adams, Don
Akridge, Eddy, 1929-
Ambler, Jerry, 1911-1958
Armstrong, Dean
Bausch, Jim
Belyeu, Ray, 1939-1966
Beutler, Lynn, 1905-1999
Bishop, Jerry
Blesing, Wag, 1920-
Boag, Bill, 1933-1958
Bothum, Jim
Bride, Tom
Brooks, Wallace
Brown, Freckles, 1921-1987
Brown, Leo
Bruce, Duane
Bruce, Winston, 1938-
Bryant, Dick
Buell, Ralph
Burnett, Boyce
Buschbom, Jack
Carson, Jack
Charles, Jim
Charters, Harry
Chase, Joe
Clennon, Bart, 1910-
Combs, Willard
Condon, Larry
Conway, Ed
Copenhaver, Deb, 1925-
Crump, Pete
Davis, Jim
Davis, Shawn, 1941-
Decker, Tater, 1924-
Dollarhide, Ross
Dygert, Bill
Edwards, John
Eidson, Bob
Enos, Manuel, 1918-
Fedderson, Bill
Federer, Tuffy, 1929-1971
Finley, Frank
Finley, Luther
Flanigan, Dan
Flynn, Sammy
Fore, Lawson, 1920-1995
France, Bert
Fredricks, Pete
Frost, Clyde
Gore, Les
Green, Joe
Griffith, Mac
Hancock, Bill, 1917-
Hand, Billy, 1933-
Hartman, Bill
Hawkins, John
Helfrich, DeVere, 1902-1981
Hill, Clinton
Hixon, Jerry
Hobdey, Daryl
Holmes, Marvin
Horn, Shorty
Howard, Duane, 1933-
Isley, Mike
Ives, Laurel
Ivory, Buster, 1923-
Ivory, June, 1923-
Johnson, Les
Jones, Malcolm
Kane, Larry
Kornell, Bill
Kunkle, Bill
Lancaster, Leonard
Lawrence, Bill
Like, Jim, 1918-
Linderman, Bill, 1920-1965
Linderman, Bud, 1922-1961
Linderman, Walt
Lowe, George
Maddox, Dwight
Madland, Jim
Madland, Kenny
Martin, Tex
Martinelli, Bill
Mason, Walt
May, Harley, 1926-
Maynard, Bob, 1928-
Mayo, Don, 1939-
Mayo, Paul, 1942-
McCoin, Numa
McCravey, Leonard
McKenna, J. D.
McLean, Kenny
Melinda, Mickey
Mendes, Carl, 1919-1996
Menkenmaier, George, 1927-1958
Miles, Gene
Mitchell, Johnnie
Myren, George
Nafzger, Carl
Nelson, Alvin
Noble, Harry
Oliver, Dean, 1929-
Peak, Buddy, 1933-
Peth, Wick, 1931-
Plaugher, Wilbur, 1923-
Pruett, Gene, 1917-1987
Ragsdale, Bob
Rambo, Gene, 1920-1988
Raymond, Ronnie Wayne, 1940-1994
Reidhead, Dave
Reiners, Dennis
Reynolds, Benny, 1936-
Rinestine, Bill, 1934-
Roberts, Gerald, 1919-
Robinson, Bob
Robinson, Bob A.
Rockabar, Rocky
Roddy, Jack
Rodriguez, Jim, Jr., 1941-
Roeser, Jim, 1933-1997
Rossen, Ronnie, 1937-1991
Rosser, Cotton, 1928-
Rutherford, Buck, 1929-1988
Schricker, Mark, 1939-
Schumacher, Jim
Seeley, Buzz
Sharpe, Bud
Sheppard, Bob
Sheppard, Chuck, 1916-
Sherman, Jack
Shoulders, Jim, 1928-
Smith, Bill, 1941-
Smith, Dale, 1928-
Smith, Lyle
Spurling, Jack
Stanton, Kenny
Stephanson, Slim
Sublette, Joel
Sullins, Walt
Swaggert, Cecil
Swaim, Bob
Templeton, Paul
Tescher, Jim
Tescher, Tom
Thommason, Ike
Tibbs, Casey, 1929-1990
Toelle, Don
Tompkins, Harry, 1927-
Travis, Bud
Tureman, Sonny, 1918-1995
Tyler, Gene
Tyler, Glen
Vamvoras, Clyde
Vold, Wayne
Walker, Enoch, 1932-1979
Ward, Bill, 1923-1992
Warhol, Ted
Watts, Bill
Weeks, Billy, 1926-1988
Weeks, Guy, 1932-
Wegner, Bob, 1934-
Williams, Corinne
Williams, George
Wilson, Don L., 1930-1996
Wise, Jim, 1934-
Wood, Marty, 1933-
Wright, Jackie
Wyatt, Larry

Corporate Names:
National Finals Rodeo
Rodeo Information Commission
Rodeo Cowboys Association
Rodeo Information Foundation

Subject Headings:
Bareback riding
Barrel racing
Bull riding
Calf roping
Cowboys-1940-1970
Group portraits
Portrait photographs
Rodeo clowns
Rodeos-1940-1970
Rodeos-History-1940-1970
Rodeos-United States-History
Rodeos-West (U.S.)
Rodeos-Arizona-Douglas, Phoenix, Safford, Scottsdale, Tucson, Yuma
Rodeos-California-Alturas, Angels Camp, Cedarville, Chico, Clovis, Dixon, Dorris, Dublin, Escalon, Fortuna, Glendale, Hanford, Hayward, Likely, Livermore, Los Angeles, Lower Lake, McArthur, Newhall, Oakdale, Palm Springs, Paso Robles, Porterville, Red Bluff, Redding, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Maria, Saugus, Sonora, Willits, Yreka
Rodeos-Colorado-Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Golden, Gunnison, Pueblo
Rodeos-Idaho-Lewiston, Nampa
Rodeos-Iowa-Sidney
Rodeos-Kansas-Phillipsburg
Rodeos-Montana-Augusta, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Ekalaka, Eureka, Great Falls, Havre, Kalispell, Livingston, Shelby
Rodeos-Nebraska-Burwell, Springfield
Rodeos-Nevada-Fallon, Las Vegas
Rodeos-North Dakota-Dickinson
Rodeos-Oklahoma-Oklahoma City
Rodeos-Oregon-Beatty, Cottage Grove, Crater Lake, Crawfordsville, Dayton, Eugene, Grants Pass, Heppner, John Day, Klamath Falls, Lakeview, Langell Valley, Lebanon, Madras, Medford, Milton-Freewater, Molalla, Pendleton, Poe Valley, Portland, Prairie City, Prineville, Redmond, Reedsport, Roseburg, Sisters, Spray, St. Paul, Tygh Valley, Union
Rodeos-South Dakota-Deadwood, Nemo, Sioux Falls
Rodeos-Texas-Dallas, San Angelo
Rodeos-Utah-Ogden, Salt Lake City
Rodeos-Washington-Arlington, Colville, Coulee City, Dayton, Ellensburg, Goldendale, Grand Coulee, Keller, Mt. Vernon, Okanogan, Omak, Oroville, Spokane, Sunnyside, Tonasket, Toppenish, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima
Rodeos-Wyoming-Cheyenne, Evanston, Greybull, Laramie, Sheridan
Saddle bronc riding
Steer roping
Steer wrestling
Team roping
Trick riding
Wrecks (Rodeo)

Processing Information  

The Helfrich Rodeo Photographs were purchased by the Museum in 1981.

Ownership & Literary Rights  

The DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Restrictions on Access  

The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.

Preferred Citation  

DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs, 1941-1970, MS 040, Box # Folder #, Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Container List  

The images and data in this collection are searchable on the Image Archive Database.

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