Rose Johnson Webb. Photo via Springer/WPRA
By Ann Bleiker WPRA.com
Rose Johnson Webb, a six-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier (1968, 1985-88, 1990), passed away on her 81st birthday on July 31 from liver cancer. Webb, of Perris, Calif., had suffered from liver problems the last few years but only learned of the cancer a year and a half ago.
Webb, first qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1968 as Rosy Johnson, where she finished 10th. That was the same year she was the California State Champion Barrel Racer. It would be 17 years before she would return to rodeo's "Super Bowl" in 1985, the first year it was held in Las Vegas. Webb had been riding an 11-year old sorrel gelding by the name of Flite, that was purchased from 1983 NFR qualifier Jacque Woolman. In April of 1985, Webb purchased Dandy Poo from Shaunna Wright of Walla Walla, Wash., and began a steady climb in the standings. Webb and Dandy finished that year ranked third with $60,752 behind Charmayne James and Janet (Powell) Stover.
Webb was quoted in a press release saying, "Having Dandy is like a dream come true, because he is one of the truly great barrel horses." That same year, the top 15 voted Dandy as the Horse With the Most Heart.
Webb also competed as a member of the Winton Pro-Rodeo Tour on the 7-Eleven team.
Webb returned to the NFR in 1986 - finishing fourth in the world; 1987 - 15th in the world; 1988 -seventh in the world and her last qualification was in 1990 - finishing 10th.
Prior to joining the WPRA in 1965, Webb competed in the California Horse Show Association. She also served as president, vice president and spokeswoman of the California Chapter of the WPRA. She won the California Circuit title in 1968, 1985-88.
She was born in Mattoon, Ill., and was a music major in College at Eastern Illinois and the University of Illinois. She won several beauty contests and sang professionally. When asked why she decided to rodeo she said, "It looked like fun." She learned to barrel race by reading books and studying film of the top ladies. She tried to pattern her style after Sammy Thurman, who helped her get Bandit MC Cue "Roany" and coached her on riding him until they got it right.
She is survived by her husband, Charlie Webb and son, Chris.
Those wishing to send a card of condolences can send to Charlie Webb, 20390 Christo Court, Perris, CA 92570. The family is not planning a funeral or memorial service.
California Circuit Director Marguerite Happy is taking donations to put Rose's name on the granite wall of honor at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Anyone interested can make their check to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and mail to Marguerite Happy, 30370 Bouquet Cyn. Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91390.