COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Harlem native Bob Ragsdale and the late Enoch Walker of Cody, Wyoming, highlighted this year’s ProRodeo Hall of Fame class.
The induction ceremony was Saturday.
Ragsdale was a 22-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping, while Walker was the 1960 world saddle bronc champion and NFR average winner.
Other inductees were: Randy Corley, announcer; the late Buck Rutherford, all-around; Tommy Puryear, steer wrestling; Mike Beers, team roping; Cody Custer, bull riding; Smith & Velvet, bareback horse; Ogden, Utah Pioneer Days rodeo committee; Wanda Bush Harper, barrel racing; Charmayne James, barrel racing; Red, barrel racing and steer wrestling horse.
Corley, a 12-time PRCA announcer of the year, is a Miles City native.
This was the first time in ProRodeo Hall of Fame history that barrel racers from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association were among the inductees.
Ragsdale became the first and only left-handed roper to qualify for the NFR 15 consecutive years, from 1961-1975. He lived in Wilder, Idaho, and Chowchilla, California, during his NFR seasons.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Ragsdale told the PRCA. “It’s been just a great experience. Kind of the last of the big events probably for me. I’m not rodeoing anymore, so I’m reminiscing like we used to in the old days.”
Ragsdale also served as both the vice president and president of the PRCA in the early 1970s. He is credited as the one to propose the association include “Professional” to the organization’s formal title.
Walker, who passed away in 1979, was a 10-time NFR qualifier in his 20-year career.
Walker had placed third in 1957, second in 1958 and third in 1959 when he took to the skies in 1960. He teamed up with Paul Templeton who flew Walker from one rodeo to the next when the trips got too hectic.
During the 1960 regular season, he placed at 56 rodeos, winning 21. Walker rode all 10 horses at the NFR, placing on five of them, to win the average and world title.
"I think it would have been great if he could have been here," said Jack Walker, one of Enoch's sons, in a PRCA press release. "It would have meant everything to him because of the caliber of people in the Hall of Fame; he would have thought it was really cool.
"These guys were all the top of the world in their day and I was on the bottom looking up, it's humbling for me to be here but it would have been special for him to have seen it."
James won 10 consecutive world barrel racing titles (1984-93) aboard her horse Scamper. She won her 11th world championship in 2002. James was the first barrel racer to reach $1 million in career earnings.
Scamper is already a Hall of Fame inductee.
Custer won the PRCA world bull riding title in 1992, while Beers won a world team roping championship in 1984. Puryear was the 1974 world steer wrestling champion and 1976 NFR average winner. Rutherford won the world all-around title in 1954.
Bush is one of the most decorated cowgirls in the history of the WPRA (former the Girls Rodeo Association). Bush won 32 world titles: nine all-around, two barrel racing, two cutting, one flag race, 11 calf roping and seven ribbon roping.
While Bush's barrel racing titles came before the NFR, she was a seven-time qualifier.