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Hey Buckaroo’s, Do You Remember the Buckaroo Rodeo

It’s a Blast from the Past, but I thought it would be fun to see who remembers Buck Barry and the Buckaroo Rodeo. He was the singing cowboy of WOOD TV in the 50’s and 60’s, dominating local children’s TV, and a man I worked with and admired as I began my career at TV8 in 1969.

Little did I know that in his early career, Buck appeared in small roles in several movies starring Gene Autry, and was a featured performer in a touring Wild West Show. He was offered a radio job here in Grand Rapids on WOOD AM, and did a “really early” morning show, at 5:30 a.m. We all know Bruce Grant followed at 6 a.m.

A little “useless information” here: when the Buckaroo Rodeo began, he was as popular as Buffalo Bob or Captain Kangaroo. Initially he hosted the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday shows while Don Melvoin as Fireman Freddie covered Tuesdays and Thursdays. In time, Melvoin stepped away from his role and Barry became the Monday through Friday host. Buck’s horse Thunder was always a part of the show.

There were always kids in the studio bleachers to watch Popeye cartoons and the 3 Stooges. Buck would sing a cowboy song, do a rope or whip trick, or twirled his twin six guns.

Ah, the good old days of local television.


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