Tarleton 2016 Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees

Tarleton 2016 Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees


Tooter Waites competed on the Tarleton State University rodeo team from 1969 through 1973. His events were calf roping and steer wrestling. Waites won the calf roping title twice. He was the first person to qualify for the CNFR and the pro national finals rodeo in the same year. Just being inducted into the hall of fame is such an honor because you’ve probably been put there by by old-timey friends from a long time ago probably had a little bit to do with it. It’s just a great honor. All my old rodeo buddies from the junior rodeo days were at Tarleton and and I’m not sure why they wanted me to come up there but they told me they did. And so by golly I just obliged them and we had a had a great time here greatest time of my life. I’d like to thank Carl Chumney, our old rodeo coach, he still checks on us all the time and I can say I’ve been to his 80th birthday party. He did so much to keep us all together and keep us kind of towing the mark. I’ve very blessed to to be able to make my living riding horses roping I still loved in this and I’m going to go to my grave doing it. Ronnie Ray was a first official head coach of the Tarleton rodeo team. He served from 1982 to 1989. Ronnie’s teams made it to the national finals on multiple occasions. His individual team members also won national championships. With the help of school president, Dr. Barry Thompson, Ronnie Ray built the rodeo team to over 100 athletes. It’s a great honor. I’m excited that they started that program few years ago and you know with the tradition that Tarleton had and the number of cowboys it came thru was going on to the NFR exceeded well in life it’s it’s great to see him come back and honor those people and I’m proud to be part of it and be selected. I can remember back at it I think it was 1982 that Dr. Ken Dorris and I we’re pretty good friends and I was actually working going to work for helping me as a teacher and he was telling me that Tarleton was going to hire a part-time rodeo coach and I need to go talk to Dr. Thompson. So I set up an appointment went up there and visited Dr. B and went several times and we had great conversations and offered me the job and you know we had some great individuals and actually had some people go to the finals and first year so I was really excited and it was an honor for me to be that that one person selected for that position. We have that we had a lot of fun I had a lot of good guys you know and and they knew there wasn’t a lot of money here and they wanted to live in Stephenville they wanted to rodeo over Tarleton and and that’s that’s a great thing that happens they’re not here just to see how much money you’re gonna give them. I personally like that time at this moment to thank Dr. Barry Thompson and Dr. Ken Dorris for instigating that back there in the early eighties and you giving me that opportunity and kind of become part of the Tarleton family and I I can’t do anything to wish it the best of success and love from this point forward. Levi Garcia was a national champion team roper in 2000. He was coached on the Tarleton rodeo team by Bob Doty and played a key role in the success of the team. Levi graduated with a business management degree before turning . Levi Garcia also won the Turquoise Circuit Team Roping title in 2006. Being inducted into the Tarleton State rodeo hall of fame I guess just makes me feel grateful and thankful first of all to my parents for hauling me around and sacrificing you know all their time and and stuff whenever I was younger and they hauled me around all those junior rodeos and got me going and then Bob Doty and Tarleton State gave me the opportunity to go over there and rodeo for them and that’s pretty special to you think about all the good cowboys and cowgirls that have been at Tarleton into to be in the Hall of Fame over there probably one of if not the greatest rodeo school ever pretty special deal, but that’s what it means to me. The highlights of my career in Tarleton I guess in I won the region first off in like ’99 and that was a good deal and pretty good deal and highlight for me and then then obviously when Kurt Kiehne and I won the college national championship in 2000 that was probably that the biggest highlight of my career. I see a rodeo growing and increasing there’s a lot of people that have gotten into team roping you know that’s what I do that you can do team ropers kinda like golf you can do it well on in while you’re older and kids can also do it and have it have it set up to where everybody can compete and have a chance. Kurt Kiehne was a Tarleton student from 1998-2001. Competing in calf roping and team roping. He qualified for the national finals all four years of his college rodeo career. In the year 2000 Kurt and teammate Levi Garcia won the national team roping average. Kurt graduated from Tarleton with a degree in communications. It’s an honor I mean it’s it’s way cool Tarleton in rodeo in the southwest region I mean it’s the best of the best and it’s that’s cool I mean you mentioned Tarleton in rodeo it’s like Alabama and college football you know Duke college basketball it’s it’s a it’s a neat deal. You know winning the college finals my senior year with Levi Garcia that was that was that was a big honor one of the highlights of making the college finals every year you know back then the top two in each event so it’s you know from each region so that that was neat. I’ve always told people man the hardest job in the world is making a living rodeoing or unemployed and when you’re unemployed you got about five different gigs going on and none of them really amount to nothing and and got married and got my job the job I’m currently with HI about the same year nine years ago and it’s worked out really good we have a blessed life. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. Debbie Garrison competed in the barrels and goat tying her freshman and sophomore years for Tarleton State University rodeo. Always a competitor Debbie went on to become Miss Rodeo America. She’s been a lifelong promoter and supporter of Tarleton rodeo program. Her public support and donations were instrumental in building Tarleton’s outstanding practice facilities. Well being inducted in the Tarleton rodeo hall of fame is just it it was quite a shock when they called me to let me know, but I’m truly honored. I decided to go to Tarleton due to my high school rodeo experience and Tarleton was getting a lot of press at that time for the their champion rodeo teams that they were sending to the college finals and really making a name for themselves in that respect. Well in 1979 I was elected Miss Rodeo America which I was the the Queen representative for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. And the great thing about that for me was I was promoting rodeo but a lot of the contestants at that time that were going to the national finals and competing and PRCA Rodeo were a lot of the contestants that I’d met through college rodeo and had been on our team at Tarleton you know Tooter Waites went to the national finals. So I think that was the most special thing was because I had those friendships with everybody through college rodeo and it just continued on into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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