Fort Worth’s Billy Minick was short on words when he received the phone call that he was being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
“It took my breath away at first,” said the 79-year-old Minick. “I got a few tears. To be among those guys, even the past and the present and future cowboys, it’s kind of like that famous old quote that’s been said by all the cowboys, and even in song. ‘All I ever wanted to be was a cowboy.’”
Minick received his honors on Aug. 4 in Colorado Springs during an induction ceremony, part of a weekend fundraiser for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Among the others being inducted are team roping stars Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, gold buckle-winner Deb Greenough (bareback riding, 1993), contract personnel recipient Leon Coffee, rodeo notable Walt Garrison and the committee for the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
Minick, born and raised in Fort Worth, began his professional rodeo career in 1959, enlisting in the Rodeo Cowboys Association after winning titles in both high school and college. Minick qualified for the National Finals Rodeo as a bull rider in 1966. In 1968, Minick purchased the Harry Knight Rodeo Co. from Knight and legendary entertainer Gene Autry.
The Billy Minick Rodeo Co. eventually produced top NFR bucking stock, including the bucking horse Streamer in 1972 and the bull Tiger in 1973. Tiger would also win Bull of the Year in 1974.
Through the years, Minick helped to produce such rodeos as the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Houston Rodeo, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the Santa Rosa Roundup in Vernon, and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
In recent years, Minick, along with his wife Pam, have been known for their management of Billy Bob’s Texas. After founding owner Billy Bob Barnett lost Billy Bob’s to bankruptcy in 1988, Steve Murrin and investor Don Jury recruited Holt Hickman to invest in the club so it could reopen several months later. The new owners brought in Billy and Pam Minick as the management team for the club which has become an iconic symbol of Fort Worth’s Western heritage to the world.
Denton-born Garrison was two different types of cowboy, a fullback with the Dallas Cowboys and a ProRodeo competitor. He went on to combine his stardom with football and rodeo to raise more than $4 million for multiple sclerosis with his Walt Garrison All Star Rodeos over the 20 years.
“I think that dad played football as a career, but he got really fortunate when he retired from the NFL and Copenhagen/Skoal hired him to be a spokesperson,” said Walt Garrison’s oldest son, Marty.
The Texas cowboy was instrumental in the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco and Winston sponsorships in ProRodeo and the programs those sponsors provided – such as the Winston Scoreboard, sponsorships for individual cowboys and helping with scholarships for college rodeo athletes.
“His first love was rodeo, no doubt, ever since he was really young,” Marty Garrison said. “That’s what he would have done had he not played football in college and then got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. His whole life, his love was rodeo.”
With the 2018 class included, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame will have enshrined 267 people, 34 animals and 29 rodeo committees. – FWBP Staff, ProRodeo Hall of Fame