Born: March 13, 1922
Died: Jan. 2, 2018
Occupation: Rodeo cowboy, clown and rancher; Fellowship of Christian Cowboys co-founder
Survivors: Wife Ruth Plaugher; children Randall Plaugher, Zoe Ann Pope, Shelly Cotter and Wesley Plaugher; nine grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
Services: Celebration of life service, 10 a.m. Jan. 12 at Peoples Church, 7172 N. Cedar Ave. Fresno, followed by burial service at historic Academy Cemetery, 10880 Mendocino Ave., Clovis.
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“The Apostle Wilbur” is what the PRCA cowboys back in the late 1960s called Wilbur Plaugher.
The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys (back then, Cowboy Chapter of the Fellowship of Cristian Athletes) was just getting started and churches around the country started asking for some of these “Christian Cowboys” to come speak during the big rodeos held in their area. It was pretty novel to have Cowboys professing to be Christian back then, folks wanted to hear what they had to say. So Wilbur, the well-known PRCA rodeo clown got together with Mark Schricker, PRCA calf roper and steer wrestler, to launch the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys.
First impressions of Wilbur were always grand. He was a big man, standing some 6’5” tall and had a voice to match. He commanded attention just by being in the room and the charisma would roll off of him. As he would start talking about Jesus, his dynamic personality would mesmerized people. You couldn’t help but want to have some of what he had. He never knew a stranger, young or old, he loved talking to any and all of them about the Lord. His energy and strength carried him in grand fashion through decades of rodeo competition along with his ever present evangelism for Jesus.
He was an icon of our times and though we will miss him, I’m sure there is a party going on in Heaven as they welcome the rodeo clown evangelist into their ranks. I remember his saying, “I just want to know I’m going to Heaven. I don’t care what kind of mansion God gives me, it can be an outhouse, and I just want to be there.” Amen Wilbur.
Celebration of life service, 10 a.m. January 12th at Peoples Church, 7172 N. Cedar Ave. Fresno, followed by burial service at historic Academy Cemetery, 10880 Mendocino Ave. Clovis.