Rocky Gibbons Peterson

The character of Big Buckaroo was inspired by my real-life cousin, AC Ekker; cowboy, river runner, gold miner, pilot, back country guide, descendant of Utah pioneers, and Man-Of-All-Trades!


AC was born Arthur Cornelius Ekker on March 16, 1945 in Grand Junction, Colorado, the 5th and last child of Arthur and Hazel Biddlecome Ekker.  He grew up in Green River, Utah, and also at the family ranch, Robbers Roost, where he learned the cowboy life.  AC graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Business Management, and won the All-Around Cowboy National Intercollegiate World Title in 1967.  AC became the proud dad of three children, Janie Marie, Shawn Arthur, and Natili Anne.


AC’s rodeo accolades are too numerous to mention, but include awards in steer roping and calf roping, even Senior Pro Rodeo awards in the ‘90’s.  In 1975, AC and his father Arthur guided Robert Redford through the Robbers Roost territory, after which Mr. Redford published his account of this adventure, “The Outlaw Trail,” and AC was featured on the November, 1976 cover of National Geographic magazine.


AC died tragically at the Roost he loved, from injuries sustained in a plane crash, in November of 2000.  When he slid into HOME plate, he probably exclaimed “What A Ride!”  In concert in The Netherlands, Chris Odekerken posthumously dedicated to AC and sang Garth Brooks’ Rodeo.  AC is survived by his three children, 4 grandchildren, brother Eddyjo, and sisters Evelyn and Gayemarie.  We miss you, buddy, and hope you’re getting a kick out of Big Buckaroo!


-Rocky Gibbons Peterson and Gayemarie Ekker

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