Chosen via popular vote by Rodeo Historical Society (RHS) membership, the Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 2020 in both the Living and Deceased categories includes.
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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 President of 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.
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.
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 (Bobby) and 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.
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.
Tad Lucas Memorial Award
Tad Lucas Memorial Award 2020 honoree PAT NORTH OMMERT was born October 12, 1929, in Bell, California. From 1941 – 1962 Ommert wowed audiences coast to coast with her trick riding, Roman riding and specialty acts while appearing at venues such as the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Rodeo, Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden and Bobby Estes’ Wild West Show in Mexico City, to name a few. In 1969 Ommert was a Rancho California Horsemen’s Association founding leader, with a mission to develop a network of safe equestrian trails for future generations. A National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee, Ommert and her veterinarian husband, Will, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Professional Horsemen’s Association.
Ben Johnson Memorial Award
Ben Johnson Memorial Award 2020 honoree CARL NAFZGER was born August 29, 1941, in Plainview, Texas. During a 12-year bull-riding career, Nafzger qualified for the NFR three times in three consecutive years. After retiring from bull riding in 1972, Nafzger focused his energies on horse training and soon found success in that arena as well. Nafzger has trained three champion horses — Unbridled, Banshee Breeze and Street Sense — and has won the Kentucky Derby twice (1990 and 2007). Recipient of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 1990, Nafzger is a member of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the PBR Ring of Honor.
New Board Members
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.