Media Relations


Oct 01, 2007

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The Board of Directors of the Rodeo Historical Society announces inductees into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum® Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Recipients of the Tad Lucas and Ben Johnson Memorial Awards also will be honored. Rodeo Weekend at the Museum is scheduled for October 19-21.

Induction into the Rodeo Hall of Fame is one of the top honors that can be bestowed on a rodeo cowboy or western performer. Inductees are chosen annually by a vote of the RHS membership. Four living and four deceased honorees will be recognized at a special ceremony and brunch on Sunday, October 21.

Living inductees for 2007 include: Winston Bruce, Calgary Stettler, Alberta, Canada, who competed in saddle bronc riding and was a 10-time qualifier at the National Finals Rodeo. He won the Canadian Saddle Bronc Championship in 1957 and 1958 and the World Champion Saddle Bronc title in 1970.

Bruce joined the management staff at the Calgary Stampede in 1969 and was the division manager of the Stampede from 1980 to 2002. He also served on the board of the PRCA and was Director for the Association of Rodeo Committees in Pendleton, Oregon. Bruce was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1989, Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995, and named the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association's Cowboy of the Year in 2005.

Duane Howard, Scheyenne, North Dakota, is an all-around champion cowboy who has been involved in rodeo for more than 50 years. He competed in three events, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding. His titles include PRCA All-Around Champion runner-up in 1957; PRCA Bull Riding Champion runner-up 1955, 1957, 1960; and NFR Bull Riding Average Champion 1960.

He was ranked many years in the PRCA World Standings in three divisions including; saddle bronc riding 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960; bull riding 1955, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961; and the All-Around 1958, 1960. Howard was forced to retire early due to an injury at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, but went on to serve as PRCA Pro Official from 1982 through 1994 and a NFR judge for 11 years. Howard also was a PRCA pick-up man for stock contractors Bob Aber and Beach and Marvin Brookman.

Wilbur Plaugher, Sanger, California, held two world records for the fastest time in steer wrestling and was the All-Around Champion Cowboy in 1946 at Madison Square Garden; the same year he began his career as a bullfighter. He has numerous honors that include 1961 PRCA Man of the Year, 1982 PRCA Clown of the Year, 1990 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee and more. Plaugher also is the cofounder of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys.

Plaugher was known as one of the funniest clowns in the business. His acts included ducks and dogs that doubled as rabbits and fighting bulls and monkeys on dogs running a competitive barrel pattern. Steer wrestling was his competitive event and it was not unusual to see him wrestle in baggy clown britches and grease paint.

Bob Tallman, Poolville, Texas, has dedicated the past 40 years of his life to the rodeo industry as both a contestant and announcer. He competed in calf roping and steer roping. He first stepped behind a microphone in 1970 and started an announcing career that has spanned nearly 15,000 rodeo performances in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He has announced the NFR more than 20 times.

Tallman has been named PRCA Announcer of the Year a record seven times: 1982, 1987, 1997, 1999-2001 and 2004. He served on the Miss Rodeo America board of directors from 1996-1997, the Reno Foundation scholarship committee, and the PRCA Hall of Fame selection committee. His honors include: 2004 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductee; 2005 St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductee; 2006 Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee; and 2007 Miss Rodeo America Hall of Fame Inductee. Tallman also is a recipient of the Lane Frost Memorial Award and the Western Wishes Award.

Deceased inductees who competed after 1960 include George Paul (1947-1970) who earned the AJRA World Champion Bull Riding title in 1965, AJRA World Champion Bareback Rider in 1966 and AJRA All-Around Champion in 1967. Paul was considered by some to be the strongest man to ever ride bulls; he was the only man to ride 79 consecutive bulls in a row in competition. He was the 1968 RCA World Champion Bull Rider, riding eight out of nine bulls, tying the record for most bulls ridden at the NFR at that time. Paul was killed while flying between rodeos in 1970. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.

Clyde Vamvoras (1948-1985) began riding broncs at the age of 13, in Lake Charles Louisiana, paying a local farmer to let him ride. He went on to win the Louisiana High School Rodeo All-Around Championship at age 18. In 1963 his name began appearing regularly in the RCA top 15 and he won back-to-back World Champion bareback titles in 1967 and 1968. He qualified for the NFR 11 straight years from 1963 through 1973, a streak that would have been longer, but injuries kept him out of the top 15 in 1962 and 1974. Vamvoras was known as a free spirit and stories about him have become legendary. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2002.

Deceased inductees who competed before 1960 include Frank McCarroll (1892-1954), who from 1911 through 1930 was one of the premier cowboys during the "golden age" of rodeo. In 1915, he met and married Bonnie Treadwell and together they traveled the rodeo circuit where they were crowd pleasers everywhere they performed.

McCarroll won steer wrestling championships in Cheyenne, Pendleton, Fort Worth, Chicago and Madison Square Garden. In 1923 at Yankee's Stadium, he defended his World Championship title with two broken ribs. Called the best bulldogger of the times, he threw a steer in six seconds at Madison Square Garden and bested 10 more steers in a total of 124 seconds, a record that stood in New York City for more than 10 years.

Royce L. Sewalt (1914-1974) competed in all of the major rodeos in the country. In 1945 he was third in the world standings in both steer wrestling and calf roping. In 1946 he earned the World Champion Calf Roping title.

Long before rodeo schools and college rodeos, he was one of the few who would teach young ropers the "tricks of the trade." He furnished horses, trailers, vehicles, practice and entry fees, as well as housing to his "kids." An excellent horse trainer, Sewalt invented the "jerk-line" used today. The late Lanham Riley stated that, "Royce Sewalt was a great horse trainer and could get a horse to do more than anyone."

To support RHS in its role of helping the National Cowboy Museum preserve the history of rodeo, a benefit auction will be held Saturday evening, October 20, preceding the presentation of the prestigious Ben Johnson and Tad Lucas Memorial Awards.

The Ben Johnson award specifies that a recipient must be living, been involved with the sport of rodeo for many years-usually a lifetime. Perhaps most importantly, it is given to someone who has given back to the community through service or work with young people. The 2007 recipient is multi-time world champion cowboy Larry Mahan, who has spent more than three decades mentoring young people, including inner city youth.

The Tad Lucas Award was established in 1990 to recognize outstanding Western women. The recipient is someone who has been a champion in her chosen field and demonstrated the same creative spirit and zeal for promoting Western values that Tad Lucas demonstrated throughout her life inside and outside the rodeo arena. The 2007 recipient is Berva Dawn Taylor, who was born into a ranching and rodeo family, and in adulthood was selected as one of rodeo's Sponsor Girls, before becoming a rodeo secretary who worked for many top producers.

Presenting Sponsor for the 2007 Rodeo Weekend is Langston's Western Wear with addition support from Ariat International. The Rodeo Historical Society of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum encourages annual membership to support its mission of preserving rodeo history. For more information, call (405) 478-2250.

Editor's Note: For photos related to the Rodeo Hall of Fame inductions and awards, visit Click on Rodeo Historical Society 2007 Inductees & Directors. After accepting Use Agreement, select photo and follow the instructions at the top of the page.