Snowmass history: Meet the Hawk |

Snowmass history: Meet the Hawk

Lester C. Rice, otherwise known as "the Hawk." The photo appeared in the Snowmass Villager on Aug. 15, 1968.
Aspen Historical Society |

On Aug. 15, 1968, the Snowmass Villager introduced “a former rodeo champion, ‘The Hawk.’ … Born and christened Lester C. Rice in St. Johns, Mich., the Hawk says his uncle gave him the nickname when he was 5 years old. ‘It is a family name. My great, great, grandfather was called Hawk Carlson and my uncle has the name of Mark Hawk Carlson.’ Young Hawk lived with his uncle, also a former rodeo rider, from the age of 5 to 19. Hawk says he broke his first horse at the age of 15. He took his first rodeo ride in Missoula, Mont., in 1957 and was disqualified because he did not bring his legs up correctly.” His events included bareback, saddle bronc, calf roping and bull dogging, traveling on the RCA rodeo circuit and winning the championship at Calgary in 1958 and 1959. His career ended in 1960 when “The Twister,” a horse that was truly “loco,” came out of the chute legs bucking, breaking the horse’s neck and Hawk was thrown with the horse landing on him and breaking his ankle. As they pulled off the horse his left leg was broken in three more places and his right leg broken as another rider’s horse stepped on him. “Hawk says he was never able to return to rodeo riding and now rides just for pleasure. Eventually, he hopes to own a dude ranch somewhere in Colorado.” We hope your dreams came true Hawk!

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