To vote on nominees for the Rodeo Hall of Fame, purchase a membership to the Rodeo Historical Society by July 10, 2020 to receive a ballot for this year’s nominees. One ballot will be sent per membership. All ballots will need to be postmarked by August 1 to be counted. We hope to see you at the 2020 Rodeo Hall of Fame Weekend! Members will receive member pricing for all weekend events. We look forward to welcoming you to the Rodeo Historical Society!
MIKE “BANDO” BANDY (Living)
Bareback, Bull Riding and Calf Roping
Mike “Bando” Bandy was born November 8, 1950, in Meridian, Mississippi. He began his rodeo career at his parents’ home in Adkins, Texas, here his dad, Marion, had jackpots two nights a week. In 1966, he joined the Texas Youth Rodeo Association (TYRA), where he competed in bareback, bull riding and calf roping. In 1968 he became the TYRA Bull Riding Champion. After a brief college career, Bandy bought his RCA (PRCA) card in 1972, beginning a professional rodeo career that lasted 21 years. He placed or won at all major rodeos across the U.S. and Canada, and was the bull riding champion at Denver, Albuquerque, Dodge City, Lubbock, El Paso, Dallas and nearly a dozen other rodeos. He came in second in the bull riding at New York City, San Antonio, Denver, Las Vegas and Cheyenne – where he rode Little Custer the first time he was ever ridden – among other venues, and placed in Phoenix, Tucson, Amarillo and elsewhere. The Texas Lone Star Circuit Bull Riding Champion in 1979, Bandy was a six-time National Final Rodeo (NFR) bull riding qualifier, winning more than 10 go-rounds. Bandy was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2003, and currently lives in Weatherford, Texas.
JERRY BEAGLEY (Living)
Bareback, Bull Riding, Calf Roping and Steer Roping
Jerry Beagley was born October 2, 1954, in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Valedictorian of Medicine Lodge High School Class of 1972 (with a GPA of 3.96), Beagley was the Kansas State High School Calf Roping Champion and National Little Britches All-Around Champion (1972). Beagley began his collegiate rodeo career at Fort Hays State University competing in bareback, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping and bull riding. He won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Bareback Riding Championship (1974) before transferring to Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU), where he was part of the 1976 NIRA Men’s Championship Team and, in 1977, the NIRA Bull Riding Champion and College Finals All-Around Champion. He graduated with a B.S. in business administration. Known as “Milemarker,” Beagley traveled extensively during his professional rodeo career, competing in the bareback, calf roping, bull riding and, later, in the single steer roping, winning go-rounds or the average at many rodeos including Cheyenne, Denver, Fort Worth and Pendleton. In 1982 alone, he placed 124 times in bull riding. A four-time NFR bull-riding qualifier (1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982), Beagley was the Reserve World Champion Bull Rider in 1979. After competing in his last PRCA bull riding in 1990, Beagley competed in single steer roping until 2010. He has taught bull riding schools throughout the United States and around the world, and won the 2003 Oklahoma Business Exporter of the Year Award for exporting horse and rodeo products, along with the Western lifestyle, throughout the globe. A 2016 NIRA Alumni of the Year and 2017 SEOSU Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductee, Beagley serves as an NIRA Alumni Board Member. He lives in Calera, Oklahoma.
RICKY BOLIN (Living)
Ricky Bolin was born November 24, 1958, in Dallas, Texas, and competed from 1975 to 1989. He always wanted to be a cowboy and growing up in Mesquite, Texas, made it easy. A high school bull riding champion at 15, Bolin turned professional shortly after, competing primarily as a bull rider from 1975 – 1989. He qualified for the Texas Circuit in bull riding from 1978 through 1989, becoming the Texas Circuit Bull Riding Champion in 1988. He served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Circuit Finals for 10 years. Bolin made the NFR in 1978, 1979, 1983 and 1985, and was one of the first rodeo athletes to receive a major sponsorship, with Coors Beer Distributing in Temple, Texas. He was instrumental in raising $2.5 million for the Dallas Area Boy Scouts from 1997 –2008. Bolin was Salesman of the Year for four years at HatCo. Inc. (makers of Stetson, Resistol and Charlie-One-Horse hats) and won their Western Image Award and Cavenders Boot City Salesman of the Year Award. Presently, Bolin is General Manager for HatCo. He was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2011, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2017 and received the Professional Bull Riders Ring of Honor in 2017. Bolin lives in Sunnyvale, Texas, with his wife, Melanie.
BOBBY W. “HOOTER” BROWN (Living)
Bareback, Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc and Steer Wrestling
Bobby “Hooter” Brown was born January 1, 1952, in Amarillo, Texas, and competed in all three roughstock events and steer wrestling from 1970 to 1991. He was part of the winning team from Eastern New Mexico University in the 1974 NIRA Finals competing in every event but calf roping. Brown went to the NFR 11 years in the saddle bronc event, becoming Reserve Champion in 1982 and taking third place in 1983. He held the highest-marked saddle bronc ride at Cheyenne for 25 years and won the $50,000 at Calgary the first year it was given. He was also one of the Budweiser Six Pack Team, the first to be sponsored by a corporation. Brown was Texas Circuit Saddle Bronc Champion twice, and was President of the Texas Circuit. He also served on the PRCA Board for eight years, including the tumultuous year of 1985 when the NFR moved to Las Vegas. A former television stuntman, today Brown is a corporate pilot who often carries teams of surgeons and nurses to pick up organs for organ transplant, regardless of the weather, and sometimes waits hours to fly the organ team to another hospital to save a life. He lives in Newcastle, Oklahoma.
RICHARD NEALE “TUFF” HEDEMAN (Living)
Richard “Tuff” Hedeman was born in El Paso, Texas, on March 2, 1963. He began bull riding, team roping and winning All-Around titles in 1980 and 1981 while in high school. He was on the Sul Ross NIRA Championship Team in 1982 and competed in team roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and bronc riding. Hedeman competed professionally from 1983 to 1998 in bull riding and qualified 11 years for the NFR. He was the World Champion Bull Rider in 1986, 1989 and 1991, and won the NFR Average in 1987 and 1989. Hedeman was going for his fourth championship when Bodacious (the world’s most dangerous bull) injured him so badly – breaking every major bone in his face – that Hedeman’s own son did not recognize him. Hedeman was a co-founder of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and served as its President from 1992 to 2004. He was Bull Riders Only World Champion in 1993 and became the first bull riding millionaire. Hedeman was a PBR ProDivision Champion and World Champion in 1995, and was president of Championship Bull Riding (CBR) from 2005 – 2011. Inducted into too many halls of fame to list, Hedeman returned to Sul Ross to complete his degree and helps coach the Sul Ross Rodeo Team. He lives in Morgan Mill, Texas, with his wife, Tracy.
CODY LAMBERT (Living)
Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc and Team Roping
Cody Lambert was born December 2, 1961, in Artesia, New Mexico. A saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping and team roping cowboy, he began in the American Junior Rodeo Association (AJRA), then attended Sul Ross State University where he won the Men’s All Around at the 1982 NIRA Finals. Lambert joined the PRCA in 1980 and the following year qualified for the NFR after only going to 29 rodeos. He went to the NFR in saddle bronc competition in 1981, 1990 and 1991 and in the bull riding in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993. Lambert was a PBR co-founder and went to the PBR Finals in 1994, 1995 and 1996. A Texas Circuit Finals champion twice in bull riding, twice in saddle bronc and 3 years as the All-Around, Lambert designed the protective vest for rodeo in 1992. He retired from competition in 1996. Lambert received the PBR Ring of Honor and has been the Director of Livestock for PBR since 1997. He has mentored many young cowboys including Jess Lockwood, who became a PBR World Champion. Today Lambert ranches near Bowie, Texas, and has his own arena where most days a number of cowboys stop by to train, rehab or just say hello.
BOB MARSHALL (Living)
Born March 11, 1942, in San Jose, California, Bob Marshall was raised in the Sunnyvale/Campbell region of California, where he was a high school and college baseball and rodeo athlete. Marshall joined the Army National Guard and, at age 23, by chance met a bulldogger in Oklahoma who invited him to a practice session. Though Marshall had never even been on a horse, he soon bought one of his own and began practicing evenings and weekends. In 1966 he joined the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CCPRA), winning the CCPRA Steer Wrestling Championship in 1970. The following year, Marshall bought his RCA (PRCA) card. Though things started out slow, Marshall began traveling with 2016 Ben Johnson Memorial Award recipient Jack Roddy. Roddy’s encouragement and Marshall’s continued practice led to Marshall’s first NFR appearance in 1972. He won both the World Championship and NFR Steer Wrestling in 1973, and won the NFR Steer Wrestling again in 1974. During the mid-1970s, Marshall served two years as the PRCA’s Steer Wrestling Director and on the NFR Committee. In 1982, he joined the National Old Timers Rodeo Association (NOTRA, today the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association), and continued competing in NOTRA and PRCA rodeos until 1996, when he retired to focus on his construction business. Today, Marshall lives in Madera, California, with his wife, Carol.
BILL NELSON (Living)
Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc
Bill Nelson was born April 2, 1944, in San Francisco, California, and competed from 1966 – 1982. As an NIRA competitor Nelson was the West Coast Region Saddle Bronc and All-Around Champion. As an RCA (PRCA) member, Nelson competed in both saddle bronc and bull riding at Cheyenne, Calgary, San Francisco, Houston, Reno, Pendleton, Denver, Fort Worth, Ellensburg and Lewiston, qualifying for the NFR a total of four times – twice in bull riding and twice in saddle bronc. The 1971 Bull Riding Champion of the World, Nelson was the All-Around and Saddle Bronc Champion at Reno and was the Saddle Bronc Champion (1980) and Bull Riding Champion twice (1972 and 1976) at the St. Paul (Oregon) Rodeo. He won the bull riding at the Houston, Calgary, Cheyenne, Cow Palace, Lewiston and Chicago rodeos, the saddle bronc riding at Prescott and the saddle bronc riding and All-Around at Salinas. A two-time recipient of the Harley Tucker Award at Chief Joseph Days in Joseph, Oregon, Nelson was inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2009. A longtime ranch manager, Nelson lives in Whitmore, California, with his wife, Cindy.
TOMMY PURYEAR (Living)
Tommy Puryear was born January 20, 1950, in San Antonio, Texas. He got his start in rodeo from his father, who was also a steer wrestler. Puryear went to college at Lamar Junior College and competed at Southwest Texas State. He joined the RCA (PRCA) in 1970 and qualified for the NFR the following year, coming in third in bulldogging; he won the eighth go-round with a 4.4-second run. He became the Steer Wrestling World Champion in 1974. The next three years at the NFR, he was the reserve world champion. In 1976 he won the average with 87.1 seconds on 10 head. He also had the fastest steer wrestling time at the 1973 and 1977 NFRs with 3.8 seconds, and in 1977 a 3.5-second run. Also a Texas Circuit Steer Wrestling Champion, Puryear trained Mickey, his bulldogging mount, and due to superstition ate a hotdog before each competition. A fourth-generation ranchland owner, Puryear and his wife, Peggy, live in Burnet, Texas.
JEROME ROBINSON (Living)
Bareback, Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping
Jerome Robinson was born October 16, 1947, in Ogallala, Nebraska. At age 3 he announced to his grandmother that he wanted to be a bull rider. At 13 he began practicing by riding cows in a make-shift chute at home. Robinson competed in bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding and team tying. He made the top ten in bull riding during college, then joined RCA (PRCA) in 1969 and competed until 1982. Since then, he’s been in rodeo production. Robinson qualified for the NFR 11 years. As RCA bull riding director, Robinson helped develop the PROCOM system, which vastly improved the system for entering rodeos. He was also on the committee to build PRCA’s facility and hall of fame at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Robinson was Production Coordinator for the PRCA Winston Tour, and has taken rodeos to Finland, Japan, France and Venezuela while producing rodeos in the U.S. with his Western Trails Company. Since the mid-1990s, Robinson has been the PBR Logistics Coordinator. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his wife, Dorya.
BOBBY AND SID STEINER (Living)
Bareback, Bull Riding (Bobbyand Steer Wrestling (Sid)
Bobby and Sid Steiner are the third and fourth generation of legendary rodeo producers Buck and his son Tommy of Steiner Rodeo Company. Bobby was born November 27, 1951, and son, Sid, December 8, 1974, in Austin, Texas. Bobby competed as a bull rider and bareback rider from 1968 to 1973, qualifying for the NFR three years and becoming the 1973 RCA World Champion Bull Rider. Bobby then became part of Steiner Rodeo Company. Sid competed as a steer wrestler from 1995 to 2002, when he became the PRCA Steer Wrestling World Champion. He got the nickname “Sid Rock” because he competed as such a distinct rebel in the spirit of showmanship. He was sought constantly by media for his new twist in cowboy legacy. His dad, Bobby, also had the knack for showmanship in his era and himself received the PBR Ring of Honor. They both presently ranch and are helping Sid’s young son, Rocker, become a bareback competitor and daughter, Steely, a barrel racer. The duo own top-rated Steiner Steakhouse on Lake Travis and Vaqueros, a Mexican restaurant in Austin. Both actively continue to support rodeo and rodeo competitors in many different ways.
CHIP WHITAKER (Living)
Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc and Steer Wrestling
Chip Whitaker was born in 1949 and competed in calf roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding. His first rodeo was in Chambers, Nebraska, where he placed in both the steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding. He won go-rounds at the 1966 National High School Rodeo in both steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding, and finished third overall in the saddle bronc riding. Whitaker attended the University of Nebraska, where he received a degree in animal science while competing in the NIRA. He served as the NIRA Great Plains Regional Director from 1969 — 1970. In 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1979 Whitaker won the Bill Linderman Award, given to the cowboy best able to perform at both ends of the arena and who wins at least $1,000 in three events, including one timed event and one roughstock event. He was the Prairie Circuit All-Around Cowboy in 1981, the Great Lakes Circuit All-Around Cowboy in 1982 and the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Champion Steer Wrestler in 1997. He placed in his last PRCA rodeo, in calf roping, in 2011; he competed and placed in rodeos over a span of six decades. Whitaker’s son, Kyle, has continued the family tradition, winning his tenth Bill Linderman Award during the 2018 season. Whitaker ranches in Chambers, Nebraska.
BEN H. BATES (1933 – 2017)
Calf Roping, Steer Wrestling, Stunts, Team Roping
Ben H. Bates was born September 4, 1933, in Mexia, Texas, and died October 4, 2017. He was a professional cowboy, stuntman, coordinator and stunt actor in TV, movies and commercials who qualified for the NFR in 1968 and 1970. In 1962 Bates set an arena record in steer wrestling (7.9 seconds) at Cheyenne Frontier Days that lasted 12 years. In 1968 he set a steer wrestling record of 8.2 seconds on two head at the Denver National Western, which still stands today. Ben was a Navy Sea Bee for four years during the Korean War, and in 1967 became the Marlboro Man. In 1972 he became James Arness’ stunt double in television’s Gunsmoke, and performed stunts in other movies including How the West was Won. He lived the Western lifestyle that he personified on the screen, and was still team roping when he was 83 years old. Bates supported young people in rodeo from the smallest through high school and college level organizations to the professional level. He received the Silver Spur Award and was inducted into Dodge City’s Trail of Fame and the Little Hollywood Walk of Fame in Kanab, Utah.
JOHN (1887 – 1973) AND THOMAS (1915 – 1981) RHODES
Calf Roping, Steer Roping and Team Roping
John and Thomas Rhodes were father and son excelling in roping events. John was born on October 3, 1887, and died November 25, 1973. Thomas was born July 24, 1915, and died September 15, 1981. Both were born in Arizona and became cattle ranchers there. John competed from 1919 to 1968 and Thomas from 1933 to 1960. John was a 1936 and 1938 World Champion Team Roper, a 1944 Champion Steer Roper and a 1947 Champion Team Tyer. Thomas was a World Champion Steer Roper in 1943, Champion Team Roper in 1944 and World Champion Team Tyer in 1945 and 1946. The two competed at many of the same rodeos: Cheyenne, Pendleton, Salinas, Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott, Reno, Los Angeles and Pecos, plus many more. John innovated healing from the right side in team roping, and was instrumental in founding the Tucson rodeo, where he served as arena judge for the first ten years. He entered the Tucson rodeo in team roping at age 80. Thomas taught riding and roping while in high school at an exclusive boys’ boarding school. One of his students was Willard Porter, well-known rodeo author. Both John and Thomas were Cowboys’ Turtle Association members, #46 & #56.
JIM W. SNIVELY (1911 – 1998)
Calf Roping and Steer Roping
Jim Snively was born September 17, 1911, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and began his career in Oklahoma City in 1929. He was a top calf roper from 1935 until the 1950s, then he began excelling in steer roping, too. Snively’s first big win was at Treasure Island, near San Francisco, California, in 1939, and his best calf-roping year was 1942. He won or placed at all the large rodeos — Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden, Chicago, Cheyenne, Calgary and more. He was the All-Around at Cheyenne in 1949, also winning the steer roping average and coming in second in the calf roping average. Snively won the Calgary Stampede calf roping in 1951. He was among the top 10 steer ropers in the RCA from 1952 — 1962. Snively was the World Champion of the Rodeo Association of America (changed to IRA) in 1954 and won the RCA Championship in 1956. He was the Reserve RCA Champion in 1952 and 1958. He won the average at the first NFR with 170.4 seconds on six head. Snively was also a Cowboys Turtle Association charter member. Snively died September 18, 1998.
GARY TUCKER (1945 – 2019)
Gary Tucker was born March 28, 1945, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He began competing in the AJRA where it was said he was better than most his age. He bought some “practice broncs” and rode three a day for months. In 1965 he became the AJRA Bareback Champion, and that same year bought his RCA (PRCA) permit and drove to Chicago to his first RCA rodeo. Jim Houston signed for Tucker’s RCA card in 1966. His rookie year he qualified for the NFR and won the average. He traveled with various partners including T. J. Walters, George Paul, Tony Haberer and Jack Ward. Though a quiet man, Tucker’s competitors quickly realized he was a natural bareback rider. He won the World Championship in 1969, even though he was injured and had to draw out of the last go-round. At the 1970 NFR he won 4 first places, tying with two, and became Reserve Champion. In all, he qualified for the NFR seven years in a row. Tucker retired from rodeo after the 1973 season and died December 9, 2019, in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Tommy Combs, a lifelong resident of Checotah, Oklahoma, has been a member of the PRCA since 1965. He served as the Steer Wrestling Director on the PRCA Board and as the Timed Event Director for the NFR Commission. Combs made it to the NFR in Steer Wrestling in 1974 and has hazed and mounted for numerous world champions. His father, Willard Combs, and uncle Benny Combs were both World Champion Steer Wrestlers (Willard in 1957 and Benny in 1955). Currently the co-owner/operator of Combs Ranch in Checotah, Combs has four daughters and five grandchildren.
Don Graham grew up in Mesquite, Texas, and in 1964, at age 12, began competing in junior rodeos in roping events and steer riding. In 1968 he acquired his RCA (PRCA) permit when he entered – and placed – in calf roping at three rodeos. A childhood friend of Pete and Donnie Gay, Graham secured his first bull-riding check in 1969 and joined the RCA as a full member. In 1972 and 1973, Graham was a member of the Texas A&M University Rodeo Team, reaching the NIRA finals both years and winning the bull riding average and becoming the Reserve All-Around Champion in 1973. Graduating with a bachelor’s in marketing in 1974, Graham qualified for his first NFR the same year; he would qualify for the NFR bull riding again in 1975 and 1977. In 1978, after earning an invitation to the U.S. Tobacco Copenhagen/Skoal Rodeo Superstars Competition, Graham retired from competition and joined the Justin Boot Company as a sale representative. In 1998 he was elected to the Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo Committee, on which he still serves.
Gary Parli was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma, in 1945 to parents who were farmers. Though he began his rodeo career riding bulls, his mentor, Buck LeGrand, convinced him to become a rodeo clown and barrelman, which he did for 38 years (1964 to 2001). Parli joined the RCA (PRCA) in 1967 and worked for Jiggs Beutler, Marvin Brookman, Calgary, Korkow, Shoulders and Sutton in 38 states and three Canadian provinces. He worked the NFR as a barrelman in 1976 and as an alternate in 1974 and 1975. Aside from coaching rodeo at LaBeck Community College for two years and conducting rodeo clown schools for five years, Parli graduated from Oklahoma State University with a master’s degree in 1984 and taught Agriculture Education at Caney, Kansas. He was Rookie of the Year in the Ranch Sorting National Championships in 2007, winning his first saddle when he was 62 years old.
Rob Smets was born September 11, 1959, in Palo Alto, California. He joined the PRCA in 1978 and became one of the best bullfighters in the business while working with Harry Vold, Neal Gay, Jim Shoulders, Cotton Rosser and Christensen Brothers. Smets was chosen to bullfight at the NFR six times (1983, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 2000). He is a nine-time PBR Bullfighting World Champion, and received the nickname the “Kamikazi Kid” because of his daring. Smets received the Wrangler NFR World Bullfighting Championship five times. He was inducted into the National Cowboy Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2019 and received the PBR Heroes & Legends – Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award. An ordained minister, Smets and his wife, Carla, live in Ross Hill, Texas.
James H. Sutton produced his first rodeo at the home ranch in 1926, and began producing amateur rodeo in the 1940s. In the 1950s he joined with Erv Korkow for 10 years, then in the late 1960s Sutton Rodeos Inc. was formed with James H. and Jim Sutton as partners. Today, Sutton oversees operations and his wife, Julie, is the rodeo secretary, publicity manager and timer. Sutton Rodeos Inc. produces 25 – 30 rodeos a year in an eight-state region. In addition to producing rodeos, Sutton has also been a National Quarter Horse Director since 1970 and holds a rodeo school in Onida, South Dakota. They raise approximately 50% of their own stock. A new venture for the Sutton Rodeos for 1995 included all 10 Openings at the NFR in Las Vegas. Sutton Rodeos Inc. raises approximately 50% of its own stock, and has provided stock to the NFR since 1959.
Jack Ward Jr. was born May 21, 1948, in Caldwell, Kansas. A bull and bareback rider, he won the NFR bareback title in 1977 and 1978. Winning or placing at all major rodeos during his career, Ward won the All-Around and the bareback riding at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1978; he won Salinas Rodeo bareback riding twice; the San Francisco Rodeo bareback championship; and the Albuquerque bareback title. Ward also won the All-Around at San Angelo, Texas; the 1970 Calgary Stampede bull riding; and the bull riding title at the Tulsa Rodeo. Ward was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1995 and the National Cowboy Museum Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2019. Ward is retired and lives in Weatherford, Texas.