by ProRodeo.com | Jan 03, 2017
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Thomas Joseph “T.J.” Walter, a 12-time NFR qualifier (1970-79, 1981 and 1983) as a bareback rider and a PRCA director of rodeo administration, a board member and a president of the PRCA for part of 1986, passed away Jan. 1 in Stephenville, Texas, after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
Walter’s best years as a competitor were 1977, when he finished third in the world by finishing third in the NFR average, and 1971, when he finished fourth in the world standings. He finished in the top five in the NFR average three times (1974, 1977, 1981). Walter, who won thebareback ridingTexas Circuit year-end bareback riding championship in1977, was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. Walter was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and grew up on a farm in Watkins, Iowa, the sixth of 13 children. He began his PRCA career in 1967 and competed until the mid-1980s. At one time, he also rode saddle bronc horses and bulls as well as competing in steer wrestling and team roping.
Prior to his PRCA career, Walter won numerous state high school bareback riding and all-around crowns, including the National High School Rodeo all-around and bareback riding titles in 1967 in Elko, Nev. He graduated from Ranger (Texas) Junior College with a 3.9 grade-point average and also helped establish a growing rodeo program for the school.
As Walter’s professional rodeo career was winding down, he became involved in rodeo administration. For 10 years, Walter served on the PRCA board of directors in various capacities. He was vice president of the PRCA for five years and also served as the bareback riding director on the contestant executive council. Walter then served as director of rodeo administration from 1987-2001.
There will be a Celebration of Life ceremony for Walter later this month in Fort Worth, Texas. When more details of the Celebration of Life become available they will be published on prorodeo.com.
Walter is survived by his daughters, Shawna Slaughter and Julie Carrillo, and son, Raymond Walter.
In lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of the following: Iowa State High School Rodeo Association, Mercy Hospice of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and St. Luke’s Hospice of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Courtesy of PRCA