The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will honor rodeo’s greatest during the 65th annual Rodeo Hall of Fame weekend.
The Rodeo Hall of Fame's 2020 and 2021 inductees and award honorees will be recognized during ceremonies November 12–13 in Oklahoma City. Among those joining the Rodeo Hall of Fame are HatCo. president Ricky Bolin, PBR co-founders Cody Lambert and Tuff Hedeman, and third and fourth generation rodeo producers Bobby and Sid Steiner.
This year's inductees will join other iconic rodeo athletes that have been honored over the past 65 years — including bulldogging inventor Bill Pickett, seven-time all-around champion Ty Murray, and world champion bull rider Lane Frost.
Check out the 2020 – 2021 inductees and award recipients below.
Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 2020 – 2021
Ricky 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 Cavender's Boot City Salesman of the Year Award. Presently, Bolin is President of HatCo.
Bobby W. “Hooter” Brown
Bareback, Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc and Steer Wrestling
Bobby "Hooter" Brown 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.
Richard Neale “Tuff” Hedeman
Richard “Tuff” Hedeman 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 a co-founder of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and served as its President from 1992 to 2004.
Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc and Team Roping
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.
Bareback, Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping
Jerome 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.
Bobby and Sid Steiner (father and son)
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.
John (1887 – 1973) and Thomas (1915 – 1981) Rhodes (father and son)
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.
Jim W. Snively (1911 – 1998)
Calf Roping and Steer Roping
Jim Snively 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.
The Tad Lucas Memorial Award Honoree
Pat North Ommert
Pat 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 Honoree
During a 12-year bull-riding career, Carl 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.
Photography: (All images) courtesy the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Bio information provided by National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum