Larry Collins from Wheatland, Wyoming passed on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 after a long battle with congestive heart failure. Larry was born on Thursday, June 8, 1939 in Denver, Colorado to Ed and Arva (Metz) Collins. Larry’s father was one of the thousands of young men that landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. Larry’s mother and stepfather moved from Colorado to Wyoming in 1946 where they bought a ranch near Wheatland, Wyoming. The first four years they were there, they did everything with the horses, they hayed and pulled ditches. In that time, Larry came to love horses. He broke his first horse to ride when he was nine years old. Larry’s mother passed away in May of 1953 when he was 13 years old. A month later, when Larry turned 14, because he and his step father didn’t get along, he left the ranch and got a job on a ranch in Big Horn, Wyoming. He worked there for two years. In that time, he took boxing lessons four nights a week. When he got home in 1955, he started climbing poles at the age of 16. In 1962, he passed his Journeyman’s test in the I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Union. Larry loved three things in life, being a cowboy, whether it was rodeoing, trading cattle, or training horses; being a lineman, building power lines, flying, and especially loved stringing tension wire on the powerlines; and watching football. His favorite players were Joe Namath and Ken Stabber. Larry said he thought they had all had the same mentality. They all dance to a different beat and sang a different song.
Larry loved rodeoing. He joined the rodeo cowboys’ association in January of 1960. His R.C.A number is 7434. During that time, he rode bareback, saddle bronc, bulls, and did steer wrestling. He was a true all-around cowboy. He rode some great bareback horses but he said two stuck out in his mind. He rode the great bucking horse, Come Apart, four out of five times. He also drew the four-time bareback horse of the year, Necklace, two times and won first place both times. He said she was the rankest horse he had ever ridden. He won the bareback ridding at many of the top rodeos including Denver, San Antonio, Phoenix, Baton Rouge, and many smaller rodeos. On the saddle broncos, in 1962, he rode Jesse James, bucking horse of the year in 1960 and Jake, the bucking horse of the year in 1961, and the bucking horse of the year in 1962, Big John. In the bulls, he rode Christian’s brother, Tommy; Harry Knight, N.F.R bull 241; N.F.R. bull 306; and Alsbough’s bull, Charles. He won the steer wrestling at El Paso, Texas, Billings, Montana and places at some of the bigger rodeos like Denver, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. He won many all-around titles at prominent rodeos including Omaha twice, Puyallup, Washington three times in a row, San Angelo, Texas in 1965, Grand Junction, Colorado in 1974, Casper, Wyoming three times, retiring the Ben Roberts Memorial Trophy. In 1978, he had the most money won for the all-around in the Rocky Mountain region but he didn’t go to the regional finals so they gave his saddle to a timed event man. He was Wyoming’s all-around cowboy in 1973 and 1974. He never went to the National Finals Rodeo. He said when he was going it didn’t pay enough to go that hard. He said as a general foreman for a construction company, building power lines, he could make more during the week and fly to the weekend rodeos.
He built many big power lines across this country of ours. In New Mexico, he was General Foreman on two 345,000-volt lines from Farmington to Albuquerque. He was General Foreman on two 500,000-volt lines with three conductors on each phase near Chicago, Illinois. He was the superintendent when he built two 425-foot towers with helicopters, one on each side of the Mississippi River close to New Orleans and strung over 3,800 feet of wire across the Mississippi River. He was the General Foreman on a power line from Page, Arizona to Tucson. In 2001, he started his own construction company building power lines but in 2008 he had enough and sold out. He bought a place in Alaska and sold it in December 2011 and came back to Wheatland, his home town.
Larry first took flying lessons in the fall of 1963 and got his private license in 1964. He took twelve hours of aerobatic lessons and he studied for this instrument rating, passing his written test but he never took the flight test. He hunted coyotes for some sheep men one winter near Rawlins, Wyoming with a supper cub. He mounted two automatic 12-guage shot guns on the wing struts with an electrical device to pull the triggers, and a P51 sight out of a Work War II fighter plane mounted on the dash. He flew in the bush in Alaska with his supper club, ending with over 3,300 hours of flying time. Larry was a life-time member of the American Quarter Horse Association and a life-time member of the National Riffle Association.
Larry was preceded in death by his mother, father, and three sisters.
The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland are in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.gormanfh.com
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