Ervin Watson, Chippewa Cree, was born April 5, 1941 on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation in Montana where he has lived all his life. Ervin and his wife of 53 years, Sharon has five children, Kenny, Eric, Darrel, Lisa and Renita. He remembers having a rope in his hands at all times and when his father, George Watson Jr. was Tribal Range Rider, he believes this is where he honed his skills to rope. His dream always was to be a successful calf roper. A family friend, the late Charlie Dog Sleep, inspired Ervin to take up calf roping.
Ervin began to practice calf roping in the late 50s with a relative, Joe BigKnife. Ervin started competing in amateur rodeos around Montana. Ervin was fortunate to acquire good calf horses beginning with one Sorrel horse, which belonged to Lisa. His late brother, Harold Watson, was instrumental in training and starting this horse in calf roping, which gave him confidence.
In the early 70’s Bud Connelly of Browning approached Ervin to inform him that they were going to have an All Indian Rodeo in Browning. This was the beginning of the All Indian Circuit.
In 1979 he was the INFR World Champion Calf Roper. He’s proud of his sons, grandsons, Eric Paul, Marty, Preston and Mervin Whitford Jr. (5 years old) and great grandson, Marty, (6 years old) who are all following his path on the rodeo trail. Eric C. is the 1985 INFR World Champion Team Roper and 2010 IIFR All-Around World Champion.
At 72, Ervin is content to watch his sons, grandsons and great grandsons compete in roping. He supports and encourages them to be good sportsmen in and out of the arena; although rodeo life will test their character.
- Levi Black Water Sr.
- Ed Holyan
- Julis Y Begay
- Traci Vaile
- Dee Keener
- Dave Best
- Sam Bird
- Kelvin Fox
- Carole Jackson-Holyan
- Jerry Small