COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Brian Fulton, a two-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and 12-times the Badlands Circuit all-around champion, died Aug. 28 at Cherry County Hospital in his hometown of Valentine, Neb., after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 52.
Fulton first underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor in September 2006 and had a second operation in January 2009. When the cancer returned again this spring, Fulton underwent a lengthy course of radiation and chemotherapy in North Platte, Neb., enduring the daily 2½-hour commute each way so he could be home with his family.
Fulton, who was born in Pierre, S.D., joined the PRCA in 1984 straight out of South Dakota State University and quickly developed into one of his era’s elite timed-event cowboys. He qualified for the 1991 National Finals Rodeo as a tie-down roper and made it to the 1996 NFR as a steer wrestler, finishing second in the world to Chad Bedell by $14,777.
Fulton placed in seven of 10 rounds at that 1996 NFR, sharing the wins in Rounds 2 and 3. If not for a broken barrier penalty in Round 5, he would have won the average title and the gold buckle.
For nearly 20 years he was a dominant figure in the Badlands Circuit. In addition to the record 12 year-end all-around championships (1984, 1986-90, 1993-95, 1997-99), he also won six year-end steer wrestling titles (1986, 1988-89, 1995, 1998-99) and one in tie-down roping (1994).
From 1986-98, Fulton won 11 titles at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot, N.D., four each in the all-around and steer wrestling and three in tie-down roping. He represented the Badlands Circuit at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo 10 times (1987-91, 1994-96, 1999-2000), winning the RNCFR tie-down roping title in 1995 and the all-around a year later.
He was inducted into the Casey Tibbs Hall of Fame in Pierre, S.D., in 1999.
A knee injury early in the 2001 season forced Fulton to step away from full-time competition.
Since 1995, he and his wife, Lisa, have operated the Fulton Performance Horse business at their ranch in Valentine, Neb., near the South Dakota border. Their 15th annual Fulton Performance Horse & Production Sale was completed one week before Brian’s passing at the Cherry County Fairgrounds.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted on www.prorodeo.com when they become available.