Horton Alexander "Cotton" Rosser (1928- ) is the owner of Cotton's Cowboy Corral in Marysville and the Flying U Rodeo, the oldest rodeo company in the world and the major supplier of rodeo stock in the United States.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Rosser was nicknamed "Cotton" as a child because his blond hair resembled cotton. He wanted to be a cowboy from an early age, and was captain of the California Polytechnic State University rodeo team while earning his bachelor's degree there. He competed in Madison Square Garden in 1950 and was named All-Around Cowboy at the Cow Palace in 1951.1

Rosser bought a 40-acre ranch on the west side of Forty Mile Road (later expanded with the purchase of an additional 37 acres on the east side of the road) but broke both his legs in 1955 when he got tangled in the auger he was using to dig holes for fence posts on the ranch.2 The accident permanently ended his career as a rodeo rider. He found other ways to make a living by starting Cotton's Cowboy Corral later that same year and, along with his friend Dick Pascoe, his first rodeo company. In 1960, his company's ranch provided the horses used in The Misfits, which was Marilyn Monroe's last movie and also Clark Gable's last movie.

In 1966, Rosser helped form the Golden State Rodeo Company, which provided stock for rodeos on the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver. He soon became the sole owner, and in the mid-'70s, he changed the name to Flying U Rodeo. The Flying U Rodeo currently produces more than 70 rodeos per year throughout the United States.

Rosser was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1995 and into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 2009. In 2007, the Flying U Rodeo company published a book called Million Dollar Memories: Fifty Years with Cotton Rosser and the Flying U, filed with photos and reminiscences from throughout Rosser's career.

Rosser and his wife Karin have three sons (Lee, Brian, and Reno) and two daughters (Katherine and Cindy). They also have several grandchildren. From 1999 to 2001, the Rosser family was embroiled in a legal dispute with Yuba County and real estate developer Frank Arciero, Sr., because when Forty Mile Road was widened to accommodate increased traffic when the Sleep Train Amphitheatre was built, the Rossers felt they were not offered adequate compensation for the 2.4-acre portion of their ranch that was turned into roadway. They settled in 2001 for an undisclosed amount of money.


http://www.flyingurodeo.com/cotton.htm "Is a Rodeo Mafia Covering Up Evidence of Animal Abuse in California? by Matt Coker, The Orange County Weekly Vol. 8 No. 24, February 14-20, 2003 "Stampede Thunders into Marysville" by Nancy Pasternack, Appeal-Democrat, May 25, 2010 "Rosser Says There Is a Reason for Helmets", Appeal-Democrat, January 29, 2008 "Road Dispute Settled: Rosser, Yuba County Agree on Land Price" by Harold Kruger, Appeal-Democrat, February 16, 2001 "Rosser Family Feels Lost in Hoopla Over Projects" by Harold Kruger, Appeal-Democrat, March 15, 2000


1. "Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Ranch" by Dana Hubbard, Territorial Dispatch, May 26, 2010
2. "Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Ranch" by Dana Hubbard, Territorial Dispatch, May 26, 2010