COLORADO SPRINGS – Five world champions representing gold buckles earned in four different decades headline the 2016 induction class for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
The world champions include Dave Appleton (all-around, 1988), Arnold Felts (steer roping, 1981), John Quintana (bull riding, 1972), Jerold Camarillo (team roping, 1969) and Bud Linderman (bareback riding). Also voted in by the selection committee were rodeo notable Myrtis Dightman, announcer Phil Gardenhire, renowned steer wrestling horse Scottie, celebrated saddle bronc horse and sire Gray Wolf, and committees for Spanish Fork (Utah) Fiesta Days Rodeo and the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo.
They will be enshrined Aug. 6 during ceremonies in the sculpture garden adjacent to the Hall. The induction week will kick off with the 29th annual ProRodeo Hall of Fame Golf Tournament on Aug. 4, the Cowboy Ball on Aug. 5, and then culminates with the Commissioner’s Classic Team Roping competition on Aug. 7.
“I’m honored, and I’m almost speechless,” Camarillo said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Camarillo followed his 1969 world championship by winning the average at the 1975 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Okla. He was the first in the family – he grew up roping with older brother Leo and cousin Reg – to win a gold buckle.
“My brother and other guys who are in the Hall told me I’d be next and that I deserved to be in there,” said Camarillo, who turned 69 April 1.
The Camarillo brothers learned to rope from their father, Ralph, a champion roper in California rodeos before he turned to raising stock.
“He made us what we are,” Camarillo said.
Jerold is 15 months younger than Leo Camarillo, a 1979 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee and a five-time world champion (team roping, 1972-73, 1975, 1983; all-around, 1975).
Appleton, an Australian-born cowboy, was a standout bareback rider and saddle bronc rider. His talents helped him reach the ultimate pinnacle of rodeo success when he won the 1988 all-around championship. He defeated reigning three-time all-around champ Lewis Field by $644 to claim the coveted title with $121,546. He also became the first Australian-born cowboy to win a PRCA world championship.
Appleton also won the 1988 National Finals Rodeo bareback riding average and finished second in the world standings.
“To be able to get a phone call to say you’re going into the (ProRodeo) Hall of Fame, when your quest was to win a gold buckle, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Appleton, a native of Queensland, Australia. “It’s just pretty damn awesome. I’m flattered. I’m honored and I’m humbled.”
Appleton qualified for the NFR in bareback riding eight times (1982-88, 1990) and three times in saddle bronc riding (1984-86), highlighted by him winning the NFR saddle bronc riding average crown in ’86.
Felts qualified for the National Finals Steer Roping 20 times, highlighted by his 1981 world championship. He was surprised at being selected for the Hall of Fame.
“That’s a great honor, and I don’t know if it has really sunk in or not,” Felts said. “I did this because I loved it, and I never really thought about (getting in the Hall of Fame).”
Felts’ NFSR qualifications spanned three decades (1978-84, 1986-90, 1992-99), and his 20 appearances are second all-time, behind only the legendary Guy Allen (32 appearances, 18 world titles). Felts was the steer roping reserve world champion in 1980 and 1993, losing both times to Allen. Felts finished in the top five in the world standings 10 times.
“Absolutely, winning the world championship was my biggest highlight,” he said, “because that puts you in a pretty elite group.”
Additionally, Felts was the NFSR average champion in 1992 and 1994-95. Felts also qualified for the NFR in 1973-74 and 1976 as a team roping header. He finished fifth in the team roping standings in ’76.
“I kind of picked steer roping so I could be at home more and still be a competitor and be successful at it,” he said.
Quintana qualified for the NFR from 1969-74, winning the gold buckle in ’72. He set the bull riding record twice – with 94 points in 1971 on Billy Minick Rodeo Company’s V61 in Gladewater, Texas, and with 96 points on Beutler Brothers & Cervi Rodeo’s No. 17 in Las Vegas in 1974.
ProRodeo Hall of Famer Donnie Gay, talking about Quintana to Kendra Santos in the April 12, 2013, ProRodeo Sports News, said, “One of his famous quotes that he told Bill Kornell was, ‘The only reason that bull hasn’t been ridden is because I haven’t drawn him yet.’ He had that attitude. Quintana was quiet and never really said much. He let actions speak louder than words.”
Linderman competed from 1940-57 and was a great all-around cowboy, like his older brother, Bill, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1979. When Bud won the bareback riding world championship in 1945, he was also third in saddle bronc riding and third in the all-around.
He was reserve world champion in bareback riding in 1946-47 and third in ’48. He was fifth in saddle bronc riding in 1949-50. He also competed in bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping.
ProRodeo Hall of Famer Gene Pruett once said of Linderman, “Probably one of the best bareback riders that ever lived. Most of the cowboys who competed against him figure Bud was potentially the greatest contestant they ever saw in action. A tough, rugged competitor, and loaded with ability, he was perfectly capable of winning any event on the rodeo program.”
Dightman, sometimes referred to as the Jackie Robinson of bull riding, made history in 1964 when he became the first black man to compete in the National Finals Rodeo. Dightman actually finished 17th that year, but went to the NFR as an injury replacement for Carl Nafzger.
In 1966, Dightman made history again by becoming the first black man to qualify for and compete at the NFR. He finished eighth in the world standings that season.
“I think what made me a good bull rider is I had a lot of try,” he said in the Aug. 28, 2015 edition of ProRodeo Sports News. I really wanted to be the first black bull rider to make it to the Finals. When I qualified for the Finals in 1966, I was on top of the world. It was unbelievable.”
Gardenhire was a five-time announcer at the NFR, and early in his career helped reintroduce the “mounted announcer” to ProRodeo while working astride his handsome paint horse.
The Oklahoma native died April 14, 1999, as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in his home state. He was 46.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer Hadley Barrett praised Gardenhire just after his death in a PSN article.
“I think, without fail, anyone in the business would say he’s one of the best.”
Scottie, who was owned by Walt Linderman, carried three different cowboys to four world championships – Harley May in 1965, Jack Roddy in 1966 and ’68, and John W. Jones in 1969, when he rode Scottie as one of his mounts.
The chestnut gelding was also responsible for winning five average titles at the National Finals Rodeo between 1964 and his final appearance in 1973. He also helped Linderman finish second in the average three times.
For good measure, Scottie carried Lynn Perry to the College National Finals Rodeo championship in 1971 and the horse helped win the high school national title in 1977 for Troy Yetter.
Linderman bought Scottie in 1964 as a hazing horse, but when his bulldogging mount, Mama, was injured, he rode Scottie to a win in his first rodeo.
Jones, a ProRodeo Hall of Famer who died in 2013, said in a 1973 Hoofs and Horns article, “Scottie is the all-time great steer wrestling horse in my book. He’s the best horse to mount people because he can take so many runs without tiring. It seems like the more runs he makes, the stronger he gets. There’s no horse I’ve ever seen that was in his class.”
Gray Wolf never went to the NFR but he was among the best sires owned by the legendary Tooke family. Gray Wolf produced the most award-winning horses that can still be seen today in strings from Vold to Beutler to Sankey to Rosser. Horses that go back to Wolf are: Lunatic Fringe (Burch), Miss Congeniality (Powder River Rodeo), Grated Coconut (Calgary), Chuckulator (Sutton), along with many others that you see in arenas today go back to this horse. Zone Along (Calgary/daughter), Zane Gray (Calgary/daughter), Kloud Gray (Calgary/granddaughter), Challenger (Calgary/grandson), Eruption (Rosser/Son), Mr. T (Suttons/grandson) are all direct descendants of Gray Wolf.
Guilty Cat (sired by Gray Wolf & Tooke mare), owned by Calgary Stampede, was voted the PRCA Reserve Bareback Horse of the Year. Guilty Cat went to 12 NFRs and 17 Canadian Finals. He was a four-time Canadian Bucking Horse of the Year, twice in the bronc riding (1982, ’85) and twice in the bareback (1981, ’89), and won silver at the Olympic Games rodeo in 1988.
Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo joined the PRCA in 1942, and is home to one of the finest venues in the sport. Thanks in part to the great work of the committee, the rodeo has enjoyed 40 consecutive sellouts. It’s also been home to a Wrangler Champions Challenge event since 2014, which also sells out.
Both Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo and the Redding Rodeo are long-standing members of the Wrangler Million Dollar Silver Tour. The Redding Rodeo will celebrate its 68th year in 2016. They were the site of the inaugural Wrangler Champions Challenge on May 18, 2013.
Brothers Earl and Weldon Bascom are the recipients of the third annual Ken Stemler Pioneer Award, which honors individuals in recognition of their groundbreaking, innovative ideas and forward thinking. They were known for inventing new and improved rodeo equipment, including the hornless bronc saddle, the one-hand bareback rigging and high-cut riding chaps.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of former contestants and rodeo experts. More than 150 individuals are nominated each year and selection is based on contributions to the sport of professional rodeo in any one of seven categories: contestant, stock contractor, contract personnel, rodeo committees, livestock, media and notables/lifetime achievement.
Including this year’s inductees, 250 people, 31 animals and 27 rodeo committees have been selected for enshrinement in Colorado Springs since the Hall opened in 1979.
Courtesy of PRCA