Tarleton Rodeo HOF Induction shifts to Feb. 19
STEPHENVILLE — Induction ceremonies for Tarleton State University’s Rodeo Hall of Fame have been moved to Friday, Feb. 19, due to anticipated winter weather.
Originally scheduled for this Friday, Feb. 12, festivities will celebrate six new members — Cody Horwedel, Clayton Jackson, Bray Armes, Blake Teixeira, Ryan Watkins and York Gill — all part of the 2005 men’s national championship team.
The annual event, which benefits Tarleton rodeo’s scholarship fund, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception followed by the induction ceremony, dinner and live auction.
This year’s dinner and induction will be the first event at Tarleton’s new rodeo facility at 13635 FM 3025 in Stephenville. Tickets are available at (254) 968-1793 or from any rodeo team member.
About this year’s Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees:
• Cody Horwedel grew up on the Central Coast of California in the small town of Parkfield where he competed at junior rodeos with his brother Jake. Cody began riding bucking horses at the age of 13 and after high school moved to Texas on a rodeo scholarship. He competed for the Tarleton rodeo team in 2004 and 2005.
His accomplishments in college and professional rodeo are highlighted by winning the saddle bronc riding crown and being a part of the national title men’s team in 2005.
Since retiring from competition, Cody has worked as a ranching cowboy and invested in real estate with his wife, Jessee. They have two boys, Colt, 4, and 11-month-old Cooper.
• Clayton Jackson grew up in Wichita Falls and graduated from Holliday High School in 2001. A first-generation college student, getting an education was his priority.
He had grown up roping with his dad, Clay, but didn’t compete in high school and, thus, was not recruited to the collegiate level. Though he didn’t rodeo his first year at Tarleton, he met members of the team through his agribusiness classes and earned his purple vest his sophomore year, 2003.
Graduating from Tarleton with a BS in agribusiness in 2005, he extended his education and earned a master’s degree, enabling him to represent Tarleton in his third consecutive trip to the 2006 College Finals.
Today he farms and ranches around Wichita Falls while maintaining a feed store business and helping his wife run a livestock auction in Vernon. He provides steers to youth and 4-H programs and is active in the roping community through jackpots that are geared toward all levels of ropers.
He continues to rope as often as possible and provides practice opportunities for local ropers. He has provided practice cattle to college and universities in the area and supports college rodeo through sponsorships.
•Bray Armes was raised in Gruver, Texas, where he played football and basketball before graduating in 2000. He attended college on a rodeo scholarship at Howard Junior College in Big Spring before transferring to Tarleton.
Bray is one of the few elite cowboys to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo all four years of his eligibility. He was on Tarleton’s 2005 national championship team as a steer wrestler.
He has competed professionally since 2003 and in 2004 was the PRCA Texas Circuit steer wrestling champion. He married former Tarleton teammate and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Neelley Riley Armes in 2006, and the pair welcomed daughter Breely a year later.
Bray took a break from professional rodeo in 2007. He and Neelley had their second child, Drake, in 2008, and they moved back to Gruver to begin farming.
After taking a five-year break from rodeo, Bray competed in his first pro event since his retirement in January 2012, finishing second in Odessa.
Back on the scene from his semiretirement, he qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, winning over $85,000 in 10 days and bumping up to sixth in the World Standings.
He rode that momentum into 2013, again earning a spot in the NFR and taking the steer wrestling average title with more than $100,000 in winnings.
His success continued with a 2014 NFR qualification and the Elite Rodeo Association world crown in 2016 before retiring from rodeo.
He runs a farming and cattle operation in Gruver, where he hauls his kids around to sporting events and stock shows.
•Blake Teixeira was raised in Tres Pinos, Calif., where he grew up in a roping and ranching family. He competed in junior rodeos and frequented local team roping jackpots with his grandpa.
He competed in high school rodeo and in 2001 qualified for the National High School Finals. After graduation he moved halfway across the country to Stephenville to attend Tarleton on a rodeo scholarship.
In 2005 he qualified for the College National Finals in team roping with York Gill. The duo won three go-rounds, set the arena record and finished third at the College National Finals Rodeo while his Tarleton team captured the national crown.
After graduating from Tarleton with a degree in ag service and development, he moved back to California to rodeo and sell insurance. Recently, he and his wife, Brooke, moved to Reno, Nev., to be near her family. Blake now spends his time rodeoing, training horses and giving lessons.
•Ryan Watkins topped his collegiate rodeo career by winning back-to-back CNFR roping titles in 2004, when he also claimed the all-around championship buckle. He was part of Tarleton’s team championship in 2005.
He was previously inducted into the Tarleton Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Alliance, Neb., native began his professional rodeo career in 2007, taking first place at the Colorado State Fair and Rodeo in Pueblo, the Rusk County PRCA event in Henderson, Texas, and the Colby, Kan., Thomas County Rodeo.
One of his best seasons was 2015 when he won rodeos in Sikeston, Mo.; Liberal, Kan.; Coffeyville, Kan.; Wichita Falls, Texas; Mesquite, Texas; and Window Rock, Ariz.
He and his wife, Denver, whom he met while they were both at Tarleton, have two children, Clay and Maggie. Ryan works for the Houston-based oil and gas company Shorthorn Resources and in his spare time enjoys playing golf and racquetball.
•York Gill grew up in Memphis, Tenn., where he began playing polo, roping and competing in Little Britches and high school rodeos.
He went on to compete with teammates Blake Teixeira and Ryan Watkins for Tarleton where he and Blake won three out of four rounds at the 2005 CNFR, finishing third in the average. The duo set a CNFR arena record of 4.7 seconds in Tarleton’s national championship season.
He was the Texas Circuit champion heeler and a Wrangler NFR finalist in 2011. He placed second at the George Strait Team Roping in 2013 and qualified for The American in 2020 after coming back from injuries suffered in a 2015 plane crash.
He graduated from Tarleton in 2007 with a degree in business with a finance emphasis. He sells commercial and ranch real estate in Texas and Tennessee.
For more information about Tarleton’s rodeo program, visit www.tarleton.edu/rodeo.