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The Class of 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005

Class of 2005 ProRodeo Hall of Fame

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The ProRodeo Hall of Fame celebrated its 26th annual induction ceremony on Saturday, July 16, with six individuals receiving the ultimate honor in professional rodeo. Walt Garrison, former member of the Dallas Cowboys and vice president of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., served as the emcee for the induction ceremony with more than 1,400 in attendance.

The six gentlemen enshrined contributed to the sport of rodeo with their remarkable efforts in and out of the arena. Headlining the Class of 2005 was the late Chris LeDoux (Kaycee, Wyo.), who not only won the 1976 world bareback riding title, but also brought attention to rodeo through his music.

Joining LeDoux was 1981 World All-Around Champion Jimmie Cooper (Monument, N.M.), 1978 World Saddle Bronc Riding Champion Joe Marvel (Battle Mountain, Nev.), late team roper Charles Maggini (Hollister, Calif.), stock contractor Marvin Brookman (Wolf Point, Mont.), and late rodeo clown Slim Pickens (Kingsburg, Calif.).

"The inductees today truly represent the cowboy icon and the Western way of life," PRCA Commissioner Troy Ellerman said. "We appreciate all the families, friends and fans of rodeo who helped make today possible."

The Class of 2005 is a diverse group with an endless list of accomplishments.

LeDoux won the 1976 world bareback riding championship and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo five times, while stepping into a sensational career as a rodeo and country music legend. He sold nearly 6 million albums in his career and contributed to successful hits by Garth Brooks, Toby Keith and Jon Bon Jovi. LeDoux lost his battle with cancer on March 9, 2005, in Casper, Wyo., saddening the hearts of all who knew him. LeDoux became the first person in the history of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame to be inducted into two categories, bareback riding and notables. Accepting on his behalf was Bill Larsen.

"Chris truly loved rodeo, the land, the dust, the smell of horses and everything Western," Larsen said. "My only regret is that Chris is not here to accept this award. Knowing him like I do, I know he is looking down and listening."

Jimmie Cooper is known for his dedication to those around him and his deep love of rodeo. He earned the Overall PRCA Rookie of the Year in 1980 and backed that title up with the world champion all-around title in 1981. After participating in three straight NFRs as an all-around roper, Cooper called it quits to watch his children grow up and be a constant presence for his wife. Today, Cooper is known as a husband, father, mentor, partner and legend.

"It is an honor to be her today and I never expected or dreamed about this day," said an emotional Cooper. "I believe if you want to put enough effort into something you can be successful. I put my effort into rodeo."

It began in 1973 with the obtaining of his PRCA card, and Joe Marvel has not slowed down since. In 1974, the 19-year-old rookie from Battle Mountain, Nev., won the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average title. Four years later, Marvel became a world champion saddle bronc rider. After finishing fifth in the world standings in 1979, he returned to ranching life with his family. He joined 19 other saddle bronc riders already inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame's wall of legends.

"It is an honor to be standing in front of you today," Marvel remarked. "Being inducted with this class is a humbling experience and I am very honored to be inducted into the ProRodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame."

His legendary horses and humble spirit are what justify Marvin Brookman's induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Beginning in 1950, Brookman equipped rodeo with the best broncs anyone had to offer. He hosted numerous rodeos and holds a 46-year streak of his animals earning a place at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It is an honor to have such an outstanding gentleman as a part of an elite group of individuals.

"This is the highest honor of his stock contracting business that has spanned many years," said Cathy Wieferich, on behalf of her grandfather.

Louis Bert Lindley, Jr. was born on June 29, 1919, in Kingsburg, Calif. From the age of 12, he charmed rodeo cowboys and fans around North America. He changed his name to Slim Pickens so that his father wouldn't know of his participation in rodeo. The late Pickens was discovered at a rodeo by a film producer and left the rodeo world for Hollywood. He starred in such movies as Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, The Getaway and numerous others. His roles as rodeo clown, well-known actor and justifiable cowboy earned him induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

"My dad lived a very colorful life but the main part of his life was being a rodeo cowboy," said Maggi Whittman, Slim's daughter who accepted on his behalf. "Being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame would make him so proud and honored."

The late Charles Maggini began making his imprint on rodeo long before the Cowboys' Turtle Association was formed in 1936. His first rodeo was in 1913, and he won world titles in team roping and steer roping in 1929. He worked at several world-famous ranches and learned the tricks of the trade from Mexican vaqueros. The legendary great is known by young and old as a prestigious horseman and cowboy.

"To have my dad inducted with this class of individuals, who we have so admired for all they have done for the sport, makes it even more special," said Karen Maggini, who accepted on his behalf of her father.

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs,Colo., opened in 1979 and since that time 182 people, including this year's inductees, and 23 animals have been inducted.

The facility features many treasures from the inductees and regalia dating back to the sport's beginnings in the Old West. The complex has a courtyard that features bronze sculptures that recognize each of the seven rodeo events and an entertainment pavilion.

Photo: (from left to right) PRCA Commissioner Troy Ellerman; 2005 All-Around inductee Jimmie Cooper; Peggy LeDoux, wife of 2005 Bareback Riding and Notable inductee Chris Ledoux and Bill Larsen who accepted the award on behalf of the LeDoux family; (in wheelchair) Stock Contractor inductee Marvin Brookman; Saddle Bronc riding inductee Joe Marvel; Karen Maggini, daughter of Team Roping inductee Charles Maggini; Maggi Wittman and Daryle Ann Lindley, daughters of Contract Personnel Slim Pickens; and ProRodeo Hall of Fame Executive Director Larry McCormack.