By the WPRA and PRCA
Forty years ago the doors were opened to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and on Saturday, August 3, 2019 twelve more members earned enshrinement into the Hall including three outstanding ladies of the WPRA. This marked the third year for WPRA members to be recognized.
Headlining the WPRA 2019 class was 11-time NFR qualifier and 1975 world champion Jimmie Gibbs Munroe. Munroe initially made a name for herself in the rodeo arena, winning a world title but her love and commitment to the association cemented her legacy in the sport.
“It’s just a tremendous honor to be included in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame because it’s the only hall that’s solely dedicated to the sport of professional rodeo and I’m just so excited that women have a place now and can be included in the Hall thanks to the PRCA,” Munroe said.
In addition to her success in the rodeo arena she has had as much or more success outside serving as the WPRA president from 1978-93 and again 2011-12.
“I spent a lot of years in the sport of professional rodeo and it was certainly good to me,” Munroe said. “I was very fortunate in what I was able to do and achieve in the sport.
On Saturday, she joined her husband Bud Munroe (a 2007 inductee) in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame becoming the first contestant couple to be inducted into the Hall.
“It’s exciting to be able to join my husband who was inducted as a competitor in the Hall (Dan “Bud” Monroe, a 12-time NFR qualifier, 1986 PRCA World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider and 2007 inductee), that’s really something and means a lot,” note Munroe.
Joining Munroe, who also had an impact inside and outside the arena was Florence (Price) Youree. Youree is the first notable inducted under the WPRA umbrella into the Hall of Fame.
Youree was among the Top 15 six times and won the WPRA all-around title in 1966. But it was her services to the GRA/WPRA in an administrative capacity that landed her induction.
Youree served the association as a director, then president from 1960-64 and then secretary-treasurer, where she made the biggest impact. It was during that time that Youree worked to get the barrel racing included at the NFR as it is today.
“This is the biggest honor I could ever receive,” Youree said. “I couldn’t believe it (when they told me I was going to be inducted). When you do things that you really enjoy doing, you really don’t think you’re doing anything. I’ve had fun since I joined what was then the Girls Rodeo Association in 1951.”
And, Youree truly appreciated when the NFR added barrel racing.
“We were very grateful. It was like a dream come true,” she said “… I met with Mr. Stanley Draper that day and convinced him that they (the NFR) needed the girls, they needed some color.”
And like they say, “the rest is history.”
The third WPRA inductee for 2019 and one of the more colorful was Sammy Thurman Brackenbury. An all-around talent, even roping and winning money in PRCA rodeos. Brackenbury qualified for the NFR 11 consecutive times, winning the world title in 1965.
During her career she served as the California Circuit Director, All-Events Director, vice president of the Association and in 1975 served as the president of the Girl’s Rodeo Association.
“I’m very proud to be honored, and I’m glad to be here,” Brackenbury said. “Everyone has been really good, and I’m proud to be inducted with the other barrel racers.
“My dad rodeoed, and my grandfather even rodeoed. It was a way of life for me. I grew up going to rodeos with my dad and mom – it was my life, it always has been my life, and I was very proud to win the world.”
On the PRCA side four-time world champion team roping heeler Allen Bach (1979, 1990, 1995 and 2006) was among the headliners.
“I’ve just been reflecting on how cool our sport has been,” Bach said. “Everything about my life is based around rodeo. The team roping schools I do, the business that I do. Had it not been for rodeo, I would not have anything. I’ve just been doing a lot of reflection on how cool it was to live this kind of life.”
Bach holds the PRCA record for most qualifications (including invitations) by a team roper to the National Finals Rodeo with 30 (1978-96, 1998-2008).
“I’m not the most talented, but I loved what I did,” Bach said. “I probably outworked most of the people I roped against. A lot of talented guys didn’t make it as far as guys like us just because we loved it and we didn’t mind working hard at it. My deal was the work ethic I learned, not just in the arena, but driving all night and persevering through dry spells in July and August. Everybody likes to hear about the winning, but you have to learn to accept losing to get to the winning.”
The rest of the 2019 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees included Commotion, one of the greatest bucking horses of all time; stock contractors Elra Beutler and his son, Jiggs, posthumously; two-time world champion steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch (2006, 2010); world champion bull rider Doug “Droopy” Brown(1969); world champion bareback rider Larry Peabody (1984); notable Jerome Robinson; the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede Rodeo; and contract personnel Tommy Lucia, posthumously.
WPRA ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductees
2019 – Jimmie Munroe, Florence Youree, Sammy Thurman Brackenbury
2018 – Billie McBride, Kristie Peterson, French Flash Hawk “Bozo”
2017 – Charmayne James, Wanda Bush, Star Plaudit “Red”