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Sam Houston State University’s National Champion teams, and Coach Sonny Sykes, were inducted into Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame under Rodeo Events & Organizations. The teams won the 1968 NIRA National Finals held in Sacramento. The men’s team consisted of Ronnie Williams, Bob Smith (deceased), Carl Deaton, Dan Harris, Bill Burton and Jimbo Daniels. They competed in steer wrestling, calf roping, and bareback riding. The women’s team was Kay Williams, Willie Little and Becky Bergeron, and they competed in barrel racing and goat tying. Photos courtesy of SHSU, Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame

Special to the News-Standard

FORT WORTH — Sam Houston State University alumni, including Trinity’s own Bill Burton, were among the inductees in the 2022 class of Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The alumni were part of 1968 Sam Houston State University Men’s and Women’s national champion rodeo teams, and they were inducted into the hall of fame in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District on April 9.

The 1968 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Finals, held in Sacramento, California, was very successful for SHSU, coached by Sonny Sikes at the time. While the women’s team fought to earn the title by 15 points, the men’s team dominated and claimed the title 127 points over the second-place team.

Kay Williams, Willie Little and Becky Bergeron competed on the women’s team; and the men’s team consisted of Ronnie Williams, Bob Smith, Carl Deaton, Dan Harris, Bill Burton and Jimbo Daniels. In 1968, Ronnie Williams won second in the tie-down roping and the ribbon roping, and he placed fifth in the all-around. Carl Deaton took first in the steer wrestling that year.

“To be on the team, you had to be one of the top six on the men’s team and top three on the women’s team. To be selected to be one of the team members was already an honor, much less to be go on to win our region and the national championship,” Williams said. “Later in life, I continued to rodeo as an individual for many years, but we all stayed in touch and stayed very close. I am so pleased that so many of us will be at the reunion to be inducted into this hall of fame, and I’m tickled that Sonny Sikes will be able to share it with us.”

The 1968 men’s and women’s teams are part of a continued and lasting legacy at SHSU. The university’s current rodeo teams are growing and finding success in and out of the arena, just as the hall of fame inductees did over 50 years ago.

“The success that the 1968 teams had is a great example of where hard work and dedication can take you,” said SHSU Head Rodeo Coach Bubba Miller. “The Sam Houston State rodeo team continues to grow, and it’s a great thing for our kids to be able to look up to these former rodeo athletes who set the stage for our growth and success.”

Dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the Texas rodeo cowboy and cowgirl, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame serves the state’s rodeo community by honoring trailblazers for the sport and continuing the rodeo legacy by providing scholarships. Located in Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, the hall is lined with more than 300 award plaques showcasing cowboys, cowgirls, animals, event personnel and events.

“Started in 1975, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame is lined with plaques that reflect the history and heroes in rodeo arenas across the U.S.,” the TRCHOF board of directors said. “Considering the achievement of dual national championships in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association by the 1968 men’s and women’s rodeo teams from Sam Houston State University, they surpassed the qualifications for induction. Very seldom in the NIRA does any university win dual national championships. The teams were voted for induction by the membership of the hall of fame.”

For more information on the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, visit https://texasrodeocowboy.com/shop/rodeo-reunion-induction/. To keep up with the current SHSU rodeo team, check out their Facebook page.

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