William Dale (Bill) Crowder, Jr was born in Eastland, Texas on September 27, 1920 and remained a true rodeo cowboy until his passing on February 13, 2007. He grew up in west Texas, working at the 6666, Waggoner, Matador, and Pitchfork ranches, before marrying his wife, driver, coach (calf turner-outer) and biggest supporter in life and the rodeo arena, Pat. They were married for 59 years. He had 3 children who are all still involved in rodeo, Judy Jackson (PRCA timer), Brenda Crowder (PRCA secretary/timer and former NFR timer), and Dale Crowder (calf roper). He was “PawPaw” to 7 grandkids and 4 great-grandkids.
Bill started his long rodeo career at the age of 12, riding steers and bulls before moving on to roping calves. He changed the sport of tie-down calf roping in 1948 in Midlothian, Texas when he started getting off the right side of his horse, instead of the left side (which was the norm). When he started winning with this unorthodox method, the rest of the ropers started to take notice and decided “if we can’t beat him, we’d better join him”. The rest, as they say, is history.
He was a member of the Turtles’ Assn and later, the RCA (PRCA). He was also a member of the IRA and CRA (now known as the UPRA). He was a director of the NOTRA, a Charter member of the OTRCA, and co-founder and secretary (for 8 years) of the Cowboys’ Association, an association for calf ropers. He won 26 trophy saddles in his rodeo career, as well as countless buckles and spurs. Bill was featured in a Marlboro ad while working at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas in 1972. He was a breeder of top grade Quarter horses that were raised and trained for calf roping horses and racing.
Bill Crowder earned the respect of many young up-and-coming ropers by teaching them his craft. He always had a roping pen behind his house and was eager to have novice ropers come rope with him and he had a way of helping them without them even knowing he was teaching them – he always made it fun. He was known as “Uncle Bill” by most of his friends and protégés. Bill Crowder was a true trailblazer for Texas rodeos and the rodeo cowboy way of life.