He has some rodeo experience. He was the NIRA champion bull rider in 1971, competed at the NFR in 1974 where he finished eighth in the bull riding world standings, and was the first Montana pro-circuit champion in 1975 in the same event. He wasn’t a very good bull rider, but sometimes succeeded because he was too scared to turn loose.
He also entered the bronc riding fairly often and wasn’t usually as scared in that event. His most memorable moment riding broncs was when he was so broke that he thought he might have to go to the bank to see if he could borrow enough money to buy lunch, but then he won a go-round at Calgary. He ate real well for a few days after that.
Life after rodeo found him ranching where many 4-H and FFA range tours stopped by his place for an example of “how not to ranch.” He also spent fourteen years as a deputy sheriff for Custer County in Miles City, Montana. It was during this time the cartoon character “Earl” started to bumble and stumble across the newspapers. The signature, M.C. Tin Star, originated from his cowboy pals referring to him as the Miles City Tin Star. He quit law enforcement because he was tired of people calling him the “Shakiest Gun in the West.”
Wally then coached the Miles Community College Rodeo Team for twenty years while continuing to draw “Earl.” After retiring in 2019, he can now devote himself to Earl and She Who Must Be Obeyed’s yard work.
He never signs his real name to his artwork because several years ago he had his identity stolen, and he doesn’t want it back. You will know it’s his creation when you see the dog and magpie that are a part of every cartoon.