On July 19, more than 2,000 people who loved and respected Cotton Rosser paid tribute to rodeo’s “King of the Cowboys” and a true local legend in Marysville and the Yuba-Sutter region.

The tribute, a celebration of life service held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain in Wheatland, came a few weeks after Rosser’s passing on June 22. He was 93.

“For decades Cotton Rosser has been a legend in the sport of rodeo,” the Flying U Rodeo Company said on the day of his death. “His name is synonymous with the great family entertainment of the Flying U, but beyond the well known exterior was a man that loved his animals, his family and entertaining generations of families and creating memories that will last them a lifetime. Cotton peacefully tipped his hat for the last time this morning, June 22, 2022. His legacy will live on through his wife Karin, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Long live the King of the Cowboys, Cotton Rosser.”

The Rosser family said the celebration of life service that happened on July 19 drew not only locals who knew him, but those from around the nation that wanted to pay respect to the rodeo legend.

“The celebration of Cotton Rosser received nationwide attendance from the rodeo and western sports world in addition to an outpouring of love to Karin and the entire Rosser Family from Cotton’s hometown and local community,” the family said in a statement to the Appeal on Wednesday.

Those who spoke at the event included Steve Hearst, vice president and general manager of Hearst Western Properties; Pat Christensen, president of Las Vegas Events; Randy Bernard, former CEO of Professional Bull Riders and current co-manager of Garth Brooks; Sen. Shannon Grove; Bob Tallman, the voice of rodeo; Charlie “Too Tall” West, rodeo entertainer; Tina Tonascia, CEO of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo; and Katharine and Reno Rosser with remarks from Lee, Cindy and Brian Rosser.

The event was presented live on the Cowboy Channel and was followed with a syndicated encore presentation on the RFD Channel.

“The celebration highlighted countless hall of fame inductions, awards and honors that Cotton received in his lifetime,” the family said. “It also featured the institutions that were important to Cotton, including the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the Cal Poly Rodeo program which recently renamed the Cal Poly rodeo complex as the Cotton Rosser Rodeo Complex.”

In line with the entertainment value provided by Flying U Rodeo, the event also featured live performances by top Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association specialty acts. Those who performed included: Tomas Garcilazo and his 7-year-old son Louis; Mustang Millionaire  Cowboy Poet Bobby Kerr; and musical performances by Bobby Englebert, Kurt Rumens and Ashtin Lopeman. 

The event also included video clips of Cotton Rosser giving speeches, interviews, and “celebrating his dynamic impact on rodeo over the years.”

All five of Rosser’s children spoke during the celebration of life with a special thanks to his wife of 44 years, Karin Rosser, the family said. 

“Several millionaires and billionaires were in attendance with an unprecedented number of private jets present at the Yuba County Airport,” the family said, highlighting the impact Cotton Rosser made on so many influential people. 

“(The) Rosser family would like to extend a special thanks to the performers, speakers and production team that volunteered their time and talents in tribute to Cotton, and especially the team at Hard Rock Sacramento, located within viewing distance of Cotton’s Flying U Ranch and his beloved bucking horses,” the family said. “Cotton was a lifelong, proud resident of Marysville, California, and worked his life to help put Yuba and Sutter counties on the map.  Prior to Cotton’s passing, the Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture Center began fundraising to erect a bronze statue in his honor. The family is honored to continue this effort and allowed the organization to participate at the celebration.”

To view the entire celebration of life service, visit https://watch.cowboychannelplus.com/playback/item/rVFs1mHP.

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