All Inductees

Dan O. Coates

This simple opening, delivered with a deep, clear voice, welcomed rodeo fans to America’s wildest sport, “RODEO,” from coast to coast for over 52 years. Dan started announcing rodeos in the late 1930s for Clair and Red Thompson on the North Side of his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. In the 1940s, Dan announced the famous Fourth of July celebration at Frank Rush’s Craterville Park in Cache, Oklahoma, where such greats as Roy Rogers, Chester Byers, Tad Lucas, and Mitze Riley appeared at the annual event.

Throughout his career, Dan was in great demand, announcing rodeos for top rodeo producers like Everett Colburn, Vern Elliot, Harry Vold, Bobby Estes, Duke Gibbs, and the Triangle Bell (26 yrs). Dan was most proud of his announcing of the Belton, Texas (the cowboy capital of Texas) celebration during the 50s and 60s. This was a real homecoming of the true greats of the sport of rodeo. Wives and families gathered each year to spend four fun-filled days, re-telling old stories, re-riding old broncs (back when they bucked), eating good food, and dancing the night away at the rodeo dance.

In the 1950s, Dan not only announced rodeos but also produced some of the most colorful shows in the United States. Dan always used specialty acts in his rodeos, including trick riders, trick ropers, cowboy movie stars, and his special Kiowa Indian Dancers from Oklahoma. The trick riders included Tad Lucas, Mitze Riley, JW Stoker, Jeff Portwood, Charlie Thomason, and Mary Eiler. The trick ropers and other acts would include Buff Doufitt, Monte Montana, Cecil Cornish, and Jay Sisler, as well as stars like Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, and Smiley Burnett.

In 1957, Dan took a rodeo outside the United States, a risky business at the time, as none had been successful before. Dan’s word was his bond, and because this was well known, greats like JW Stoker, Jeanette Plunket, and Clark and Arlene Schultz (even Clark’s Bucking Ford), along with many others, committed themselves, their livestock, and equipment to the project. All were loaded aboard airplanes, leaving Miami, Fla., en route to their first destination: the Dominican Republic. The rodeo was a big hit, and in six months they were on their way to Havana, Cuba. Rodeo fans greeted the cowboys and cowgirls at the airport and attended the performances in standing-room-only crowds. The trips were a success, but the most important part of this story is that everyone was paid in full, plus a bonus, and all livestock, tack, and equipment were delivered home as promised.

Dan not only announced and produced rodeos, but he also found time to support rodeo both past and future. He served as director of the Rodeo Historical Society from 1984 through 1986, was one of the original members of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association, and was an early leader in the Appaloosa horse business.

In his later years, Dan announced Kowbell Rodeo (the longest-running indoor, weekly rodeo in history) for 27 years, wrestling on TV for 20 years, and was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Congress of the state of Texas for his support in announcing Golden Gloves Boxing for 50 years.

At the time of his death in 1998, Dan and his wife and partner of 50 years, Florine, were living at their Box Canyon Ranch in Weatherford, TX. Florine reunited with her husband a short six months later. Dan and Florine raised two sons, Dan and Don.