Historical Highlights

Representative Clem McSpadden of Oklahoma

November 09, 1925
Representative Clem McSpadden of Oklahoma Image (detail), courtesy of the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives Representative Clem McSpadden of Oklahoma continued to work as a rodeo announcer throughout his political career.
On this date, Clem McSpadden was born in Rogers County, Oklahoma. A great–nephew of Will Rogers, McSpadden spent much of his early life on ranches while attending public schools. He enrolled at Oklahoma State University, but dropped out to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, McSpadden worked as a radio broadcaster and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1948. He was elected to the Oklahoma state senate in 1954 and served for almost 20 years. Elected to the 93rd Congress (1973–1975), McSpadden was a founder of the Congressional Rural Caucus. He also was the first Member from Oklahoma (and one of only a handful of Members in House history) to serve on the Rules Committee as a freshman. Throughout his political career, McSpadden maintained his activities as a rodeo announcer, “I was in session through the winter and announced rodeos in the summer.” In 1974, McSpadden gave up his House seat to run for governor of Oklahoma. He lost the Democratic primary to David Boren. After he left Congress, McSpadden started a lobbying firm and continued to moonlight as a rodeo announcer. In recognition of his accomplishments, McSpadden was inducted into several rodeo halls of fame. He also authored “The Cowboy’s Prayer,” which is used at rodeos, weddings, graduation ceremonies, and funerals. In a speech, McSpadden once compared his careers in politics and rodeos: “There’s an amazing correlation . . . in that there’s bull in each profession.”

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