by Christine Mahorney
Last Saturday, Kremmling native George Culbreath was inducted into Colorado State University’s Rodeo Wall of Fame.
George was born in Kremmling in 1936, and began his early life at the Otter Creek Ranch alongside the Blue River near Heeney. Later his family moved to a dairy farm on the north side of Silverthorne. It was on the family farm where he was inspired to rodeo — by riding the milk cows out of the barn.
The family moved to Breckenridge when George was a teen, and after high school, he went on to attend Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) to study Agriculture, but mostly to rodeo.
As a member of Colorado A&M’s Rodeo team, George competed in four events: saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding and bulldogging. He won All Around Cowboy at three rodeos in 1961, including for the Great Plains Region — which scored him a trip to the National Finals in Sacramento.
“We (the Rodeo team) used the Durrel arena, located on southwest side of campus,” George recalled. “We purchased stock for practice. It was convenient after class to ride bucking horses, rope and bulldog. I competed in all the events, but loved bareback.”
While at Colorado A&M, George also competed on the ski team, and was a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity, which was honored for having the highest Grade Point Average amongst all fraternities during his tenure — despite George’s claim that his grades suffered every spring quarter during rodeo season.
“At that time, seven or eight states made up the Great Plains Region from Utah to North Dakota,” George said, recalling the Rodeo Club’s travel schedule. “There were no interstates at that time, so trips were long between rodeos, especially pulling our horses.”
“I have so many good memories of this place,” George said about his time at Colorado A&M. “I’m reminded of Ed Pickerings comment, ‘I spent six years at Aggies, and wished it was 16!’”
Following his days as a Colorado Aggie, George and his wife Suzy cashed in Suzy’s retirement fund from teaching, and purchased a D2 bulldozer to start Culbreath Excavating in Silverthorne.
“My wife (of 58 years), Suzy and I have had a great life in the mountains of Colorado,” George said. “We raised three kids, ran cattle and put up hay on our ranch on the lower Blue River where we still live.”
George and Susy’s three children are scattered throughout the West: Daughter Cathy lives in Sandy, Ore.; son Bill resides in Salt Lake City; and daughter, Brenda, calls Grand Junction home. Both Cathy and Brenda followed in dad’s footsteps and attended CSU. George and Suzy also have nine grandchildren, and still reside near the lower Blue.
On behalf of the West Grand community, we’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to George for his induction into the CSU Rodeo Wall of Fame!
by Christine Mahorney