John Henry was born in Gonzales, Texas on May 17, 1892. Growing up in Copperas Cove, Texas Henry left home at the age of 12 to begin work on the famous Miller Brothers 101 Ranch in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He was a tamer of wild mustangs.
Henry started his rodeo career as a Saddle Bronc contestant in Dewey, Oklahoma at the age of 15 where he won his first contest.
In 1917 Henry put his rodeo career on hold for two years when he was inducted into the U.S. Army in World War I. The Army took advantage of his skills, and he broke horses as part of his duties.
He won his first title in 1919 and competed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe during his career. Henry won the World Title 18 times and was known for being one of the of the few cowboys to ride the legendary bronc “Midnight”.
In the 1920’s, Henry won at the Canadian Championship, Boston and four years in a row at Madison Square Garden.
In 1924 and 1928 he traveled to England and toured other parts of Europe with the Tex Austin’s Show. Henry said they held a 19-day rodeo in London where he rode a bucking horse on stage.
His career spanned 38 years he competed in the Saddle Bronc riding for the last time in Corsicana, Texas.
He was a quiet and humble cowboy that didn’t care much for the applause that would come with honors given him later in life. In 1975, Henry was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Many of the old-timers on that day claimed Henry as “the best bronc rider that ever lived”. That claim meant more to Henry than the 18 titles he had won.
Henry died at the age of 88 and was buried with Military Honors. He left behind rich stories and a heritage of an old-fashioned cowboy.