LOVELAND, Colo. - Joe Chase was a legend in his time, an outstanding
person, a dedicated family man and a hero to many young cowboys, because to
cowboys in North Dakota he was like a rock star.
That's how Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes and president
of the National Congress of American Indians, described Chase.
"The thing I remember about him was that he was a legend and a classy
individual," Hall said.
"I appreciated his advice."
Hall said Chase always talked about the importance of education and usually
asked how the younger generation was doing.
"Our tribes are saddened by the loss of a rodeo legend," Hall said.
Chase was Hall's uncle in the Indian way. "I grew up learning from him."
Chase, whose Indian name was Bear Necklace, passed on Jan. 7 at his home.
Chase will be remembered as a gentle, kind man with an interest in people
and their welfare. But people in the rodeo and ranch circuit will remember
him as a legendary saddle bronc rider.
When Chase was 16 he won the North Dakota High School saddle bronc
championship. And that set him off on a rodeo career. He went on to
college, the only person of his family to do so. He attended Colorado A&M
his freshman year and was then recruited to the Hardin Simmons University
in Abilene, Texas. It was there in 1952 and 1953 that he won the National
Intercollegiate Association saddle bronc championships and finished
runner-up for national all-around cowboy.
He came from a family of ranchers and cowboys. His brother Emanuel, who
preceded him in death, was instrumental in getting Joe into rodeo. Hall
recalled a story told by Hall's father that Joe Chase was not a large man
but wanted to rodeo. Emanuel, Hall said, got angry that Joe always tagged
along and when there was a large group of broncs in a corral, he put Joe on
one of them. Hall said if Chase had fallen off he would have been trampled.
"He wanted to be a cowboy so bad he stayed on and stayed on," Hall said.
"What a great American Indian and great American. He loved family and sport
and education. I hope the younger generation will take the time to learn
more about him," Hall said.
Chase was inducted into the North Dakota Rodeo Hall of Fame along with five
other rodeo legends. The "Six Pack" as they were called were legends as
professional cowboys. The Six Pack gathered together for the last time in
"They had a lot of fun, they were like rock stars. I just hope the young
generation doesn't forget what they stood for.
Chase's crowning achievement occurred when he tied Casey Tibbs, considered
the greatest cowboy of all time, in 1956 for the saddle bronc title at
Dickenson, N.D. Tibbs, from South Dakota, was a nine-time All Around Rodeo
champion. It was in 1957 that Chase laid claim to the title. Chase
qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1961 and 1962.
Chase married Jill Albert in 1962. In 1975, Joe, his wife and their two
children JoAnn Kay and Joseph moved to Loveland.
Always a staunch advocate for the rights of American Indians, in the early
'70s Joe served as the Aberdeen area vice president to the National
Congress of American Indians, the nation's oldest and largest Indian
"I am hoping in his own way, as he passed on that he felt good about his
life. He wanted others to feel good about their lives," Hall said.
Chase was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Emanuel and Emerson,
and son Joseph.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Jill Albert Chase, his daughter
JoAnn Kay Chase and sisters Joanne Hutchinson and Carmen Carroll.