Leon Coffee Finally Makes It Into ProRodeo Hall of Fame
The rodeo world recognized its royalty over the weekend, as the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs opened its doors to the 10-member 2018 induction class.
- Headlining the class were team roping stars Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, who won eight consecutive PRCA world championships together from 1997-2004. Williams qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 15 times (1988, 1994, 1996-2008), and Skelton has 22 NFR qualifications on his résumé (1990-2006, 2009-10, 2013-15).
- Contract personnel recipient Leon Coffee is a PRCA Gold Card Member and is one of only three cowboys to be both a barrelman and a bullfighter at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Leon fought bulls at the NFR twice (1979, 1984) and was a barrelman at the NFR in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Coffee won PRCA Clown of the Year in 1983.
- Gold buckle-winner Deb Greenough qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 13 consecutive years. (1988-2000) He is tied with Joe Alexander for the fifth-most bareback riding NFR qualifications in PRCA history.
- Stock contractor Billy Minick founded the Billy Minick Rodeo Company, which produced top NFR bucking stock from 1968-76. Through the years, Minick helped to produce rodeos such as the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Rodeo Houston, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the Santa Rosa Roundup, and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
- Walt Garrison was two types of cowboy, a fullback with the Dallas Cowboys and a ProRodeo competitor. He combined his stardom with football and rodeo to raise more than $4 million for multiple sclerosis with his Walt Garrison All Star Rodeos for more than 20 years.
- The Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, S.D., started when 15,000 people gathered in a field in Belle Fourche to raise money for World War I in 1918. At the time, the population of Belle Fourche was 1,410. The Black Hills Roundup prepares for its 100th year of the rodeo in 2019
For the second time in the history of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, barrel racers from the Women's Professional Rodeo Association were among the class of inductees.
- The class included Kristie Peterson is a four-time world champion, along with her great horse French Flash Hawk, better known as Bozo. They fittingly went into the Hall together.
- Billie McBride was inducted posthumously, having passed away at the age of 90 on May 10, 2017. McBride first saw barrel racing at an open rodeo event in 1937 and decided at 10 years old that it was the path she wanted to travel. McBride was a charter member of the Girls Rodeo Association.
In addition to the 10 inductees, former PRCA Chief Operating Officer Kay Bleakly received the Ken Stemler Pioneer Award, which honors individuals in recognition of their groundbreaking, innovative ideas and forward thinking.
With the 2018 class included, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame has enshrined 267 people, 34 animals and 29 rodeo committees.