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Posted on Sep 18, 2014
Empty Saddles

Jack Hannum 1943 -2014



Jack Hannum, a five-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo and a longtime administrator with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, died early on Sept. 16 in an Ogden, Utah, hospital of organ failure, just hours after his wife of more than 45 years, Lynn, a two-time NFR timer, died at their home after a six-year battle with colon cancer. Jack was 70 and Lynn 68.


Jack Hannum suffered a burst pancreas during the Fourth of July week and had been in hospitals or rehab facilities in St. George, Utah, and Ogden for the past 10 weeks as his health steadily declined, compromising his gall bladder, liver and lungs. He was able to go home briefly on Sept. 13 to see Lynn for a few hours before returning to McKay-Dee Hospital.


“They had one last Diet Coke together and got to say goodbye,” said longtime family friend Tim Parker.


All five of the Hannum children – Jane, Amee, Emily, Olin and Jake – were at the hospital with their father when he died.


A star football player at Utah State University, Jack Hannum worked as a match teacher and football coach at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, and Clearfield (Utah) High School for more than a decade and didn’t fill his Rodeo Cowboys Association permit until 1972, at the age of 29.


He made his big breakthrough in his first year of full-time competition when he won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days all-around title in 1977 on his way to qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo as a tie-down roper.


Hannum made it to the NFR four more times as a steer wrestler (1978-80, 1983), enjoying his best season in 1979 when he finished third in the world behind Stan Williamson and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Byron Walker.


In 1981, Hannum was hired by the PRCA Board to serve as the head of rodeo administration, dealing with rodeo sanctioning applications, rule infractions and all things related to membership.


It was the start of more than 25 years of service to the PRCA as Administrator, Circuit Coordinator and Chief of Officials. He is largely credited with taking the judging program to a major league level.


“Jack wrote the judging handbook, he started the judging seminars we still do today,” said longtime PRCA official George Gibbs. “He just raised the bar. He had everybody’s respect. He was always fair, always dedicated to making things better.”


The viewing will be 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Myers Mortuary, 845 Washington Blvd. Ogden Utah, and funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 22 at the Wilson Ward Church, 2333 South 2700 West in West Haven Utah.

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