All Inductees

Curtis Burlin

Do you know a “real” cowboy? Well, if you do, you must know Curtis Burlin. He not only physically personifies the true definition of a cowboy but lives this tradition daily in his heart, soul, and profession. Curtis’ rodeo career spanned 21 years and won him many honors. The notoriety he gained never impressed him much, but instead, the competition, cowboy brotherhood, and education made him the successful cowboy he still is today.

Curtis participated in his first rodeo in 1953, where he competed in the bareback and bull riding events. In 1954, he joined the Rodeo Club at Texas A&M University. Curtis then made the Rodeo Team for A&M in 1955, where he remained until his graduation in 1957. He won his first trophy buckles in 1955 in the bull riding and bareback events and also placed in the bull riding at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1956 and 1957. The Houston folks were so impressed with his talent that they selected Curtis to be one of the 5 bull riders to compete in the first televised performance of their rodeo in 1957. During his membership in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Curtis finished 5th in the bull riding and 8th in the bareback nationally in 1955. In 1957, he finished 3rd in bareback nationally and 1st in bull riding in the Southern Region.

After graduation, Curtis got a job with the State and Federal Governments but continued to participate in rodeos as a second career. He was a member of the Southwestern Rodeo Association and placed in 50 of 60 rodeos during the 1962-63 competition year. In 1964, Curtis earned the all-around title in Gatesville and placed second overall in the bull riding event for the year. From 1953 to 1974, he won a total of 29 trophy buckles and 2 saddles, which, in those days, was quite an accomplishment. Throughout his rodeo career, Curtis worked with top-notch rodeo producers including Pop Racker, Frank Harris, Sloan Williams, Son Lide, Logan Huffman, Roland Reed, Lloyd Woodley, Don Miller, Wayne Barrett, and Lawrence Winfree. Because of the mutual respect that developed between the producers and Curtis, many of them remain business associates and personal friends today. His last competition was in the bareback event in Anderson, Texas in 1974. Curtis successfully ended his rodeo career by winning all of his last five bareback competitions.

In 1965, Curtis moved into the livestock auction business where he could continue to work in the cowboy industry. In 1974, after owning and managing more than five different auction barn facilities, he decided to retire from the rodeo part of his career and concentrate on the two livestock auction markets he currently owned along with his extensive ranching business. Through the rodeo industry, Curtis had learned the importance of commitment and earned the respect of his peers. While implementing these two attributes along with his dedication to be the best he can be, Curtis built the Navasota livestock auction to be one of the largest one-day livestock markets in Texas. Within the past 27 years, he has also accrued more than 3000 acres of land across the Brazos Valley on which he has built a very successful livestock business of his own. Curtis not only possesses a productive herd of cattle but also owns a brood of nationally recognized horses within the Cutting and Reining industries. He currently resides in Navasota, Texas with his wife Betty of 30 years and has two wonderful children.

Curtis Burlin feels extremely lucky to have never sustained a serious injury during his rodeo career. He continues to support all facets of the rodeo industry mainly because it is and has been such a large part of his identity throughout his life. At any given moment, if you ask Curtis Burlin what his feelings are on the rodeo industry today, his reply will be, “The greatest sport of all is rodeo.” For him, this is not just paying lip service to the sport but it comes directly from his heart and soul. If Noah Webster would have known Curtis Burlin, his picture would be the definition of “rodeo cowboy.”