Carmel Moore Ellerman was a natural when it came to doing tricks on her horse, and it was a talent she passed on to her children.
Ellerman and five members of the trick-riding group The Flying Cossacks, who performed during the 1970s and 1980s, put in a special appearance at the Stonyford Rodeo last weekend.
Ellerman is the daughter of Sharkey Moore, who along with his brother Earl and sister Beulah started the annual parade in 1939, and the Stonyford Rodeo in 1943.
The Stonyford Rodeo celebrated its 75th year May 5-6.
“Carmel became interested in trick riding as a little girl when her dad took her to the Willits rodeo and she saw Monte Montana perform,” said Stony Creek Horseman Association spokesman Roy Stewart. “Carmel’s uncle Louie and aunt Bernadette Cabral were rodeo performers, famous for pyramids and Roman riding. They then lived in Salinas and asked her to come and learn Roman riding with them. She was a natural and was soon performing at the Stonyford Rodeo – first with her friend Jerry Spence in 1948, then as a single in 1957.”
Ellerman eventually because a teacher in Elk Creek and Stonyford. She and her husband Denny had five children, whom she taught trick-riding.
The Flying Cossacks were comprised of the five Ellerman siblings, Mette, Tami, Troy, Fawn and Jozell; their cousins, Debbie and Karen (Gay) Moore; and their friend Casey Weston.
Their first show was in 1974 at the Maxwell High School Rodeo, and then the Red Bluff Junior Rodeo, where some members of the Red Bluff Round-Up committee saw them perform and wanted them back for the big event.
“It exploded from there when Cotton Rosser either saw them at Red Bluff, or heard about them, and signed them to perform at the “California Run” for his rodeo stock contracting business,” Stewart said. “The California Run included the California State Fair, The Cow Palace Grand National Rodeo, Oakdale, and others.”
The group performed all over the United States, and also performed in Stonyford 11 times.
“They have thrilled audiences everywhere with their daredevil show, being the first to do tricks while galloping full speed in a circle around the rodeo arena,” Stewart said.
Their last performance at the Stonyford Rodeo was in 1897. All five Ellerman children performed at the National Finals Rodeo two or three times. Troy, Tami, Fawn, and Jozelle performed at the Belmont Stakes in New York. Additionally, Tami and Fawn went to Kuwait and performed with Monte Montana Junior’s Wild West Show, and Troy went on to perform stunts in many movies and TV shows.
Ellerman and her family rode in the Stonyford Rodeo Parade on Saturday, and were at the rodeo both days. ■