In the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Garden at 10 AM on Saturday the induction began. After the National Anthem, sung by Janae Hansen of the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and Invocation by Grant Adkission, Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, the Welcome was made by Kent Sturman and Karl Stressman. Master of Ceremonies was Steve Kenyon, PRCA announcer who began his introductions by saying, “We are surrounded by decades of greatness”.
The Redding (CA) Rodeo Association Committee honor was accepted by Bennett Gooch who told that the local Sheriff’s Posse started the rodeo in 1942 and today can boast being part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour as well as the inaugural rodeo on the Champion Challenge Tour. The Spanish Fork (UT) Fiesta Days Rodeo Committee was represented by Steve Money, Director. Their rodeo also began in 1942 when the Diamond Fork Riding Club started it. He also announced that they have had sell out crowds for the last 44 performances which covers 11 years. He also announced that their rodeo will add $20,000 per event at the 2017 Fiesta Days Rodeo.
The animals inducted were both horses. Gray Wolf was inducted because the number of his progeny that have been outstanding buckers and won so many awards in PRCA rodeos and Canadian rodeos. He was owned by Feek Tooke, of Ekalaka, MT, who started in 1931 gathering horses to breed and buck. He almost sold him for $100 in his early years, but the buyer did not like gray horses. Toby Tooke, his great-grandson accepted for Gray Wolf and named some of his progeny; Bobby Joe, Spring Fling, Grated Coconut, Guilty Cat, Kloud Gray, Challenger, and many more. Scottie, a steer wrestling horse, that was ridden by three steer wrestlers who became World Champions; Jack Roddy twice, and Harley May, plus John W. Jones, Sr. who rode him often during the year he became World Champion, but not at the finals. He was also ridden by his owner, Walt Linderman, who was quite a steer wrestler. Many other steer wrestlers rode him and he was used by as many as seven wresters at nine National Finals. Walt Linderman’s wife, Dorothy and son, Jay, said when Walt bought Scottie, for $1,600, Walt’s dad didn’t think any horse should be bought for more than $300. He eventually changed his mind about Scottie, when it was discovered over $2 million dollars was won on this outstanding horse.
Living honoree Myrtis Dightman was the first black cowboy to go to the National Finals. He qualified for 7 PRCA Finals in bull riding starting in 1964. He was called “The Jackie Robinson of Rodeo”, as he opened doors for other black cowboys in rodeo. He also won Calgary and Cheyenne. Although Myrtis began his rodeo career as a rodeo clown, he wanted to ride bulls. He said it took determination and lots of ‘try’. He mentored Charles Sampson, who became the World Champion Bull Rider in 1982, who was also present for Myrtis’ induction. Arnold Felts, World Champion Steer Roper in 1981, and qualified for 20 National Finals Rodeos, said Jerold Camarillo, helped him get his PRCA card. He jokingly said, “I haven’t got much older, but Jerold sure has!” He also admitted he was still roping. Jerold Camarillo, the first Camarillo to become a World Champion, in 1969, admitted this induction was a dream come true. He also thanked all his team roping partners who ‘headed’ for him and the horses he rode. Dave Appleton, All-Around, from Australia, moved to the U.S. to rodeo. He thanked the many people that helped him along the way, beginning with his mother. He also mentioned Neal Gay, who helped him get a visa to be able to stay in the states, plus others that included John Paxton, Bob Doty, T. J. Walter, Jack Ward, Jess Everts and Bud Munroe. He also talked of the loyalty in rodeo and how competitors help one another.
The deceased inductees were Phil Gardenhire, rodeo announcer, represented by his wife, Kay, and son, Tyler. Phil joined PRCA in 1984 and was so outstanding he was hired to announce the PRCA National Finals in 1985. He also announced many other top rodeos in the country and brought back announcing from the back of a horse. His life was ended in a car accident when he was only 46 years of age. John Quintana, a bull rider, whose life ended when the plane in which he was flying crashed in 2013. He was represented by his son, J. J., who said his dad craved riding the ‘unrideable’ bulls, such as V61 (who he rode twice and only 3 other bull riders made the whistle), Double Ought, White Lightning, 777 and Booger Red. He scored 94 points on V61, the highest score anyone had ever received, and later scored a 96. J. J. also said a cowboy told him, “Your dad always made me feel like somebody,” and for that J. J. was very proud. The last deceased cowboy inducted was Bud Linderman, who was represented by Jay and Dorothy Linderman. Bud died at the age of 39 due to pneumonia. His great nephew, Jay said rodeo builds character, and Bud was a character, and known to have the ability to ride rank horses as good as anyone. He was an outstanding saddle bronc and bareback rider but also enjoyed having fun while rodeoing. Bud didn’t take anything to seriously and was known to get in a fight now and then – just for the fun of it! In 1945 and ’46 was the International Rodeo Association Bareback Champion, and 2nd in the All-Around.
Congratulations to everyone that was inducted in to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy!