COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Courtesy PRCA – Gold Card member John Walter (July 3, 1942 – Jan. 3, 2015), a PRCA stock contractor for parts of five decades who sent animals to the National Finals Rodeo every year from 1979-2000, died in his sleep Jan. 3 at a Kansas City hotel. He was 72.
Walter, the oldest of 13 children – a family that included 10-time NFR qualifier and former PRCA President T.J. Walter – co-founded the Mid States Rodeo Company in 1972 with Bill May and Charles Cannon, after years of competing as a roughstock cowboy and selling horses as a sideline.
Walter bought out his partners a year later and produced amateur rodeos under the Mid States banner for a few years before securing his PRCA card in 1979.
It was always a family operation on 600 acres of hill land 17 miles southwest of Kirksville, Mo., near the Chariton River. Walter’s late wife, Mary, was a rodeo secretary and a timer – she was the NFR secretary in 1986 and 1993 – and daughter, Lex Ann, was in charge of the grand entry and chasing calves and steers out of the arena.
At its peak, Mid States produced about 20 PRCA rodeos a year, along with several college and high school competitions.
Over the years, the company sent 109 animals to the NFR – 42 bareback horses, 38 bulls and 29 saddle bronc horses – including broncs Home Brew (nine appearances) and Joe Kidd (six). From 1981-84, the company averaged 10 NFR animals per year.
Walter was honored as the Great Lakes Circuit Stock Contractor of the Year in 1985.
Walter sold the company to Van Flaherty in January 2011, with the agreement that he would continue to help produce the company’s rodeos.
Visitation is scheduled from noon-2 p.m. on Jan. 7, with services to follow immediately at the Travis-Noe Funeral Home in Kirksville, Mo.