He’s a man who, in his younger years, rode bodacious bulls and bucking broncs. He’s got a good sense of humor, too.
Doug Brown, who lives in the Evergreen district outside of Silverton, was in fine form at the dedication ceremony Oct. 3 of Silverton’s newest mural.
Brown was the World Champion Bull Rider in 1969 at the age of 23. He rode professionally starting in 1966, left for a few years – at that point he built and operated the Home Place Restaurant in Silverton – and went back for more rodeo life, finally retiring from competition in 1988.
Brown said he feels honored by the mural.
“Overwhelmed would closely describe what’s going on today,” he said before the dedication. “My heart sank when I came down the hill and saw all these people and I knew I would have to say something.” He was embarrassed, then proud, and last, scared, he said.
Sandy artist Roger Cooke’s painting shows Brown on a bucking horse. Taken from a photograph of Brown during a rodeo event, the photo was among rodeo programs and newspaper clippings saved by Doug’s mother, Lucille Brown.
The Brown family donated her scrapbook to Silverton Country Historical Society’s museum last year upon her death. It was museum curator Carolyn Hutton’s suggestion to the mural society’s President Vince Till, that started the wheels turning to bring about the Brown mural.
Till said the process includes preparing the wall, painting the mural, and the last step – which he says the public usually forgets – maintaining it. Ellen Snow was the chief fundraiser for the Brown mural.
Molalla Buckaroo announcer Grant Sharp described Brown as “one of the most classic bull riders you’d ever like to meet.” He told how after Brown injured his severely injured his “he went on to bucking. Today his ride (on a horse named Jambalaya, the one in the mural) would be a 98-point ride.” Brown was named all-around cowboy at no fewer than 10 rodeos throughout the West, Sharp said, adding, “He was an outstanding athlete and cowboy.”
Described as a “wiry, 5-foot 7½-inch, 140-pounder” in a 1969 newspaper article, Brown said then his size was an advantage. “I have good reflex action and I’m not as prone to serious injury as the bigger guys who ride bulls.”
Nowadays he owns a horse farm, still rides and ropes horses and still judges barrel-riding events.
The rodeo mural located at C Street and Silverton Road has a larger meaning, Brown says.
“I think the mural is a symbol of our Western heritage,” Brown said at the ceremony, “and that’s how America got built.”