Calf Roping, Team Roping, Steer Roping
Cleo Hearn was born May 3, 1939, in Seminole, Oklahoma. He was a calf-, team- and steer-roper beginning in 1955 at age 16. Hearn joined the RCA in 1959 and won the calf roping at the Denver National Western Stock Show & Rodeo in 1970. The first African American to attend college on a rodeo scholarship, Hearn was drafted in to the U.S. Army in 1961 and was a member of the Presidential Honor Guard. In 1971, Hearn began producing the Texas Black Rodeo; in 1995, the name was changed to Cowboys of Color Rodeo to be more inclusive of all races, including both participarns and audience members. Hearn’s last NFR appearance was in 2010, and he retired from competition in 2017. His honors include: Frontier Times Museum inductee; Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame; recipient of a star on the Texas Trail of Fame in the Fort Worth Stockyards; and he has been recognized with the Cleo Hearn Equestrian Trail at Bear Creek Nature Park in his hometown of Lancaster, Texas. Hearn has enjoyed a 33-year career with Ford Motor Company in sales and marketing.