Ropers Sports News • August 2023

3 x 6.5” APRIL 2020 RSN AUGUST 2023 ROPERS SPORTS NEWS PAGE 9 Cha$e N Money Arena 3131 Tori Trail Templeton, CA Info: (805) 459-1181 ACTRA Members Only CASH ONLY — Roping All Muleys — WEDNESDAY NIGHTS: AUGUST 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 & SAT., SEPTEMBER 2 Sign Up 6:00, Rope 6:30pm #6½ Hdcp Down ................3 for $20 Capped a #4.5 roper #7½ Hdcp Up/Down No Cap ...2 for $20 $8 Cattle Charge • Pick 1/Draw 1 or Draw • Enter Up ____________________________ THURS., AUGUST 10 Sign Up 6:00, Rope 6:30pm All Girl .................................3 for $40 2023 ProRodeo Hall Of Fame... From Page 7 rian Church on Auburn Road. The rodeo was held annually during the County Fair until 1938. World War II caused the rodeo to be put on hold until 1955 when Howard “Baldy” Harris, Stoney’s son, came back from the University of Idaho carrying the 1954 National Intercollegiate All-Around Rodeo Championship saddle. Cowtown Rodeo was – and is – known nationwide due to live national TV exposure in 1958 & 1959 and taped exposure nationwide in 1969 and 1970. The rodeo outgrew the original arena and in 1967 built the present 4,000 seat arena. Barrel racer Sherry Combs Johnson joins her sister, her horse in HOF Combs Johnson joins the Hall of Fame alongside her world champion horse Star Plaudit “Red,” who was inducted in 2017 and her sister Florence Youree, who was inducted as a notable in the 2019 Class.“When my horse Red went in it was great because I knew he was so worthy,” Combs Johnson said. “People have called me a legend this weekend, I’m not a legend. I’m just a person that did what they wanted to do and was able to do. “I’m tickled beyond words and blessed to be included in this Hall, but I never thought I’d be here. Now, to join my horse and my sister, it’s truly special, it really is.” Born Aug. 16, 1938, in Duncan, Okla., Johnson has made her home in Addington, Okla. During her career she qualified for 12 National Finals Rodeos, the first coming in 1959 at the first GRA (predecessor to the WPRA) Finals in Clayton, N.M. and the last in 1991 under the bright lights of Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, a span of four decades (1959-68, 1970, 1991). She won her first WPRA world title in 1961 in the allaround category, but the highlight of her career would come in 1962 when she won the barrel racing world title aboard Star Plaudit “Red.” Johnson made her mark in the National High School Association as well, winning the all-around title, barrel racing and breakaway roping titles in 1955. Johnson gave back to the WPRA, serving on the Board of Directors from 1963-1971, including a stint as the Vice President. She was named Coca-Cola Woman of the Year in 1997 and was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 2005. “When I got my card and went to the first NFR in Clayton (N.M.), I would have never dreamt of this day and what the Association has become,” she said. Fay Ann Horton Leach’s years of dedication to rodeo put her in Hall Fay Ann Horton Leach was one of the founding members of the Girls Rodeo Association. Leach’s devotion to the sport has not gone unnoticed as she was inducted as a notable in the 2023 ProRodeo Hall of Fame class in Colorado Springs. Leach led the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA-now WPRA) as a founding member, competitor, and board member. One of the 38 women who met in San Angelo, Texas, on Feb. 28, 1948, to form the very first professional sports association created solely for women by women. “It didn’t set in for a long time that I was going to be a Hall of Famer,” she said. “I can’t really understand why I’m being inducted because all I’ve ever done is just work hard in my everyday life. But I’m really thankful for it I can tell you that. I think one of the things that I appreciate the most was getting to travel the country and meeting a lot of wonder people that are still really close friends of mine.” Leach never won a world title in the barrel racing, but she qualified for nine consecutive NFRs (1959-1967). She would finish third in the world in 1962 behind Sherry Johnson, a fellow 2023 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee, and Wanda Bush. Like many cowgirls during this era, they competed in many different events with calf roping being one of Leach’s favorites. In fact, she broke her mentor’s streak of six consecutive titles in the calf roping when she beat Bush for the world title in 1957. She would add three more of those titles in 1959, 1963 and 1971. She won the all-around in 1960, the flag race world title in 1964 and one that might surprise everyone was her bull riding title in 1966. In 1967, Fay Ann married Billy Leach, who competed in the RCA roping calves and steer wrestling. Together they founded Billy Leach Ropes. In 2011, she was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame under the category of Trailblazers and now she is immortalized in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame for her dedication to building a strong foundation for women in rodeo.

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