All Inductees

Bob Sheppard

Robert Owen Sheppard was born on May 4, 1934, and his family relocated to the El Paso area in 1940, which became his home until 1958. Sheppard’s rodeo journey began in 1947 at a junior rodeo in El Paso, and by 1956, he had joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association, embarking on a professional rodeo career primarily as a roper. Interestingly, before he was old enough to drive, he transported his rope horse to competitions using a farm tractor.

At just 14 years old, Sheppard clinched the all-around title at a junior rodeo in Pecos, Texas, in 1948. While he initially focused on roping, it was his bull riding skills that garnered significant recognition. Among his notable achievements were victories in Cheyenne in 1956 and both Phoenix, Arizona, and San Angelo, Texas, in 1957. He also triumphed in prestigious events such as Madison Square Garden, Calgary, and Klamath Falls, Oregon. Remarkably, he dominated the Reno, Nevada, rodeo for six consecutive years from 1962 to 1967.

Sheppard’s performance at the inaugural National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959 earned him a seventh-place world ranking, and he made additional NFR appearances in 1960, 1961, and 1965, with the 1965 season being his most successful, finishing fifth globally.

Despite his success, Sheppard’s career was frequently interrupted by injuries, including a fractured skull and broken ankle in 1957 and a severe ankle injury in 1964. Transitioning from competition, he later contributed to rodeo as a judge, officiating at significant events like Houston and the NFR, as well as the National Indian Finals in Gallup, New Mexico, during 1974 and 1975. Known for his kindness and popularity on the rodeo circuit, Sheppard remained a beloved figure throughout his career.