Norman D. Cotton, 73, of Pinedale, Wy, passed away November 6, 2020, in Wittmann, Arizona. Cremation has taken place and memorial services in Arizona are pending for mid-January, to be followed by a graveside service at Ash Hollow Cemetery near Lewellen, Nebraska, with definite plans to be announced at a later time.
Norm was born at Lewellen, Nebraska, on December 16, 1946, to Cecil (Buck) and R. Alveda (Tippetts) Cotton and grew up on a ranch in the sandhills. He learned to rope at a young age and traveled many miles to rodeos and jackpots with his uncle Sid. Their other favorite pastimes were trapping on the sandhills lakes and hunting coyotes with hounds. Norm attended Well Valley School and Garden County High School where he was active in FFA and GC Club and excelled in football and track. Norm and Debbie Meier married in 1968 and two children were born to that union. He initially worked on the ranch where he had grown up and eventually moved to Torrington WY, where he and lifelong friend Joe Grote formed a successful cattle processing business. He also lived and worked at different times in Kansas, Montana, and other locations in Wyoming, finally settling in Pinedale. For many years now, he has divided his time between there and Arizona.
Norm was a free spirit and had many, many friends all across the county. He was first and foremost a cowboy and horseman, a fierce competitor in the arena. He was an early member of the NSRA and accumulated an extensive array of trophies, saddles and belt buckles from both calf roping and team roping, including the NSRA team roping championship in 1971. In the 1990s, Norm began competing within the Senior Pro Rodeo Association. He won back-to-back heeling world championships in 1994 and 1995, followed by four heading world championships in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He shares only with Jerold Camarillo the unique distinction of having won senior world titles as both a header and a heeler.
Obviously, Norm loved rodeo, roping, ranching, and wide open spaces. He was a collector of arrowheads and antiques, forever an outdoorsman who also enjoyed bird and big-game hunting, playing cards, and a game of pool. He was always willing to help a friend and was generous in sharing his knowledge with the kids who were invariably drawn to him. His grandsons held a special place in his heart and he was so very proud of them.
Norm is survived by his children and their families, Gretchen, Barry & Cody Nye and Jeff and Amanda Cotton, Hunter, Tyler & Jake all of Alliance, NE; his sister Karen and Jerry Eggers, Hiedi and Justin and their families; Aunt Alice Cotton and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and older sister; Uncle Sid; and two great rope horses, Red and Reno. In Norm's own words, he had lived a good life and done everything he ever wanted to do; hunted everything he ever wanted to hunt and won everything he ever wanted to win in the arena. Amen, Cowboy. Rest in Peace.
Gretchen and Jeff would like to acknowledge Beth and Frank Board, who went far beyond caring for Dad in his final days. You are angels on earth, along with so many other of his extraordinary friends. We may not know all of you, but you know who you are. We are forever in your debt.