All Inductees
Buddy Cockrell

Gene O. “Buddy” Cockrell


Gene 0. “Buddy” Cockrell was born on June 10, 1934 in Pampa, Texas. Buddy grew up in a devout Christian family with his mother Alice Cockrell, brother Lee Cockrell, and his grandparents O.H. and Mayetta G. Ingrum. They lived on the farm and ranch that belonged to his grandparents.

Buddy began riding at the young age of seven. He helped his grandfather daily during calving season to doctor for screw worms in the navel of new born calves, and after branding for approximately another thirty to forty days where brands were peeling and screw worms still needed to be eradicated.

Because of his riding so much, Buddy developed a passion for horses and cattle. Perry Franks a member of The Turtles, whom also worked for Mr. Ingrum, taught Buddy and Lee to rope.

Buddy won his first match roping at fourteen years of age against a sixteen year old named James Oldham in Mobeetie, Texas.

Not only did Buddy rope, but during his junior high and high school years he participated and lettered in shot put, football (where he was chosen to be on the National High School All American Football Team), played on the Pampa State High School Basketball Champion Team in 1953, and won regionals in Heavy Weight Golden Gloves Boxing in 1953.

In the summer time Buddy helped farm, ranch and rodeoed and day worked during branding season on Pampa area ranches.

After graduating from high school in 1953, Buddy went to Alice, Texas for a Youth Rodeo and won the steer wrestling and a Shirley Brown saddle. The following week he participated at the Texas Rodeo High School Finals at Hallettsville, Texas. He placed in the calf roping, won the steer wrestling with a record time that stood for eighteen years and also won the Boys All-Around saddle.

After Hallettsville in 1953, Buddy applied for his PRCA card so he would be able to participate in PRCA rodeos.

He won the steer wrestling at Woodland Park’s PRCA rodeo in Colorado on his way to Cheyenne Frontier Days where he was a contestant. Buddy continued rodeoing at Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Denver, San Angelo and many other PRCA rodeos before leaving for college.

Buddy received a scholarship to play football for Bud Wilkerson at Oklahoma University. Buddy played as a freshman and a sophomore at O.U., on the O.U. 47 game winning streak.

He left Oklahoma University at the end of his sophomore year to go to Hardin Simmons University. Sammy Baugh offered Buddy a full ride in football and in rodeo. Buddy graduated with a major in Business and a minor in Economics.

Buddy continued to farm, ranch, and rodeo that summer after college graduation. He received a call from the Canadian Football League to come and play Pro Ball for the Sasketchewan Rough Riders. He signed to play for a year with Sasketchewan. After signing, Buddy went to the National College Rodeo Finals in calf roping and steering wrestling. He placed in the calf roping.

The Cleveland Browns called Buddy after he returned home from the College Rodeo Finals and drafted him to play for them the year after he finished at Sasketchewan.

Buddy played for Cleveland and received a phone call from Sammy Baugh to come and play for the New York Titans. He played three years Pro Football for the Titans. At the end of his three years the Titans became the New York Jets which it remains to this day.

After playing Pro Football, Buddy continued to steer wrestle and trip steers in the PRCA. He won the PRCA Steer Tripping in 1977 and received his saddle and buckle in Oklahoma City at the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Buddy went on to win and place at Windy Ryans, Ben Johnson Roping, Lazy E, San Angelo, and many other rodeos and trippings.

He also furnished roping stock for six to seven years at Cheyenne, Windy Ryons, Pendleton, Clem McSpadden’s Richest Roping, Paul Huska, San Angelo, Wala Wala Washinton, Tucumcari New Mexico and several more.

In 1979 Buddy purchased a 540,000 acre ranch in Derby, Australia. He helped operate the ranch during the gathering and branding, or as known over there as the “muster”. He stayed at the ranch five and a half months, while his son Dan stayed for the entire year. They kept the ranch nine years. Buddy and his family competed in four rodeos a year in Australia. He furnished the roping calves, steer wrestling steers, and the team roping steers. Buddy placed at every rodeo throughout the nine years. At the age of fifty-four, Buddy won the All-Around Cowboy Title. This also was the last rodeo Buddy participated in while in Australia.

In 1995 Buddy won the finals for the Super Senior Steer Ropers.

In 2009 Buddy was inducted into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame.

Buddy still continues to farm, train head and heel horses, works every day and loves life. He is seventy-nine years old and has had a very fulfilling and adventurous life.

Buddy is married to Geneva, blessed with five children, nine grandchildren, and has a host of loving and wonderful family members and friends.