All Inductees

Gladewater Rodeo Committee

Rodeo Events & Organizations

After months of informal discussions about a “big annual event” for the citizens of Gladewater that could attract and entertain people from across East Texas, the Gladewater Chamber of Commerce developed the Gladewater Round-Up Association. Jack Yates and Murray Sells are given credit for getting the organization off the ground. Yates was a local businessman dealing in pipe and supply and loved the sport of rodeo. He had helped organize rodeos in France during World War II. Sells was an oil operator and enthusiastic horseman that raised purebred and gaited horses. The first official Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo was held May 21, 1938, which included a rodeo and a horse and dairy show. Later, the events would be separated due to the length of the production, and rodeo became the focus. The first Gladewater Round-Up almost became the last Gladewater Round-Up due to bad weather and finishing in the red. A group of citizens came together, underwrote the debt, and the event became continued and grew into Gladewater’s largest event.

Today, the Gladewater Round-Up attracts the top cowboys and cowgirls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and includes all of the standard PRCA events, plus a calf scramble and mutton bustin’, which features local FFA and 4H members competing for scholarship money. Gladewater has featured some of the biggest stars in rodeo over the years including both the cowboys, cowgirls, and bucking stock. On June 9, 1971, Gladewater made rodeo history when John Quintana rode the notorious V-61, owned by Billy Minick, and scored what at the time was the highest marked ride in the history of rodeo with 94 points, and it was also the first time V-61 was successfully ridden in what was reported to be 466 attempts.

The Gladewater Round-Up arena sits on twenty acres of prime land with the original arena being a part of an earthen oil pit dating back to Gladewater’s oil days. The oil pit is now gone, and an all-aluminum arena was constructed in 2003 at a cost of $1 million and a seating capacity for 5,000 spectators. The Gladewater Round-Up has been nominated as one of the top five medium-sized indoor rodeos by the PRCA.