All Inductees

David Merrill

Rodeo Personnel

A fourth-generation cowboy, David Merrill might best be described as a “Bucking Horse Man,” having ridden saddle broncs, worked as a rodeo pickup man, taking cowboys off of bucking horses, and bought and sold bucking horses. Most of his life has literally revolved around bucking horses. In 1967 he placed third in the bareback riding at the Texas High School Rodeo Finals in Hallettsville. He moved on to a career in professional rodeo, filling his permit at Pecos. He won Jacksonville three consecutive years, as well as San Saba and Burnet two consecutive years each. Other Texas wins included Cleburne, Del Rio, Fairfield and he placed in average at Houston. He went on to qualify for the Texas Circuit Finals in the saddle bronc riding seven times.

Buying, selling and trading bucking horses has been a major part of Merrill’s life. His most notable horse was Stormy Weather, a horse he sold to Tommy Steiner. Stormy Weather earned a reputation as one of the toughest bareback horses in rodeo to make it to the eight second buzzer and in 1975 was named Bareback Horse of the Year, in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Another recognized horse that Merrill sold was Little Davie, selected as a bareback horse for the National Finals Rodeo.

Having an extensive knowledge of bucking horses served Merrill well as a rodeo pickup man. He worked for many of the largest rodeo companies in the nation including Tommy Steiner, Benny Beutler, Bernis Johnson, Neal and Donnie Gay, Bradford Ivy and Mike Cervi, just to name a few. Merrill received a plaque at the first Texas Circuit Finals banquet in 1976, designating him Pickup Man of the Year in Texas. He went on to work eight Texas Circuit Finals rodeos over a two-decade period.

Merrill has always lived the life of a cowboy and trained his own horses, not only for the rodeo arena, but also for working cattle. Over the years, Merrill earned quite a reputation for being able to catch wild cattle in the brush and was even featured on 8 Country Reporter in 1990. In addition to his work on horseback in the rodeo arena, Merrill served as chairman of the Cleburne PRCA rodeo for more than 10 years and also worked in movies and commercials as a stuntman.