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Posted on Jul 13, 2021
Empty Saddles

Norman Cotton 1946- 2021


Norm was born at Lewellen, Nebraska, on December 16, 1946, to Cecil (Buck) and R. Alveda (Tippetts) Cotton and grew up on a ranch in the sandhills. He Learned to rope at a young age and traveled many miles to rodeos and jackpots with his uncle sid. Their other favorite pastimes were trapping on the sandhill lakes and hunting coyotes with hounds. Norm attended Well Valley School and Garden County High School where he was active in FFA and GC Club and excelled in football and track. Norm and Debbie Meier married in 1968 and two children were born to that union. He initially worked on the ranch where he had grown up and eventually moved to Torrington, WY, where he and his lifelong friend Joe Grote formed a successful cattle processing business.  He also lived and working at different times in Kansas, Montana, and other locations in Wyoming, finally settling in Pinedale. For many years now, he has divided his time between there and Arizona.

                  Norn was a free spirit and had many, many friends all across the country. He was first and foremost a cowboy and horseman, a fierce competitor in the arena/ He was an early member of the NRSA and accumulated an extensive array of trophies, saddles and belt buckles from both calf roping and team roping, including the NSRA team roping championship in 1971. In the 1990s, Norm began competing within the Senior Pro Rodeo Association. He won back-to-back heeling world championships in 1994 and 1995, followed by for heading world championships in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2003. He shares only with Jerold Camarillo the unique distinction of having won senior world titles as both a header and heeler.

                  Obviously, Norm loved rodeo, roping, ranching, and wide-open spaces. He was a collector of arrowheads and antiques, forever an outdoorsman who also enjoyed bird and big game hunting, playing cards, and a game of pool. He was always willing to help a friend and was generous in sharing his knowledge with the kids who were invariably drawn to him. His grandsons held a special place in his heart and he was so very proud of them.

                  Norm is survived by his children and their families, Gretchen, Barry & Cody Nye and Jeff and Amanda Cotton, Hunter, Tyler, and Jake, all of Alliance, NE; his sister Karen and Jerry Eggers, Heidi and Justin and their families; Aunt Alice Cotton; and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and older sister Hazel Boyd; Uncle Sid; and two great roper horses: Red and Reno.

                  In Norm’s own words, he lived a good life and had done everything he wanted to do; hunted everything he ever wanted to hunt and won everything he ever wanted to win in the arena. Amen, Cowboy. Rest in peace.

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