All Inductees

Killeen Rodeo Association

Rodeo Events & Organizations

“Rodeo Killeen” has had a long and colorful history, dating back to the mid-40s. The early arena, formerly located in downtown Killeen, off Veteran’s Memorial Blvd., was constructed by hard-working volunteers, who each contributed $10.00 to start up a rodeo. In the early years, the founders drove their privately owned stock for the rodeo from their ranches along the railroad to avoid city streets. In 1947, the “Killeen Rodeo” was sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and has continued under various committees to this year’s successful, 58th Annual event.

Over the years, Killeen’s diverse international population has fluctuated wildly, with an economy largely influenced by shifting military operations. “Camp Hood” was originally built as a temporary military training facility in World War II. Currently, “Fort Hood” is recognized as the largest military installation in the world. Through troop deployments, wars, and tough economic times, interest in the western tradition has continued. For 21 years, attendance continued to grow at the “Killeen Rodeo” downtown, eventually reaching a capacity of 4,000 spectators. The Killeen Chamber of Commerce sponsored the annual event for a period of time, ending their agreement on September 16, 1959, when the “Killeen Roping Club” took over the reins. Over the next ten years, this club merged with the “Golden Spur Riding Club” to form the “Killeen Riding and Roping Club.” The first formal meeting of the new club was held on June 26, 1967, with Mr. William H. Yowell appointed chairman. Of the original eighteen founders, Bill Yowell and only five others are still living.

With Killeen’s rapid growth in what was now the center of downtown, the City and the club reached an agreement on a new location. The COK built the arena and gave the club a 99-year lease in exchange for the original property. On May 1, 1968, the new all-steel $60,000 arena was dedicated at the 22nd Annual PRCA Rodeo, and a parade was held to celebrate the move. The “Riding and Roping Club” continued to improve the property and hold the annual event for over thirty more years. In 2004, the dwindling club forfeited their lease, and the rodeo arena was left with an uncertain future. In the fall of 2004, the City prepared to undertake a $50,000 feasibility study to prove its viability. A group of volunteers stepped forward and proposed that the money be used instead to continue the tradition of Rodeo in Killeen and prove its worth. With only a mere three short months to repair, plan, and produce the 58th Annual PRCA Rodeo in June 2005, in an aging arena, the committee faced many obstacles. Failure to hold an “annual event” meant starting over at year one, and the committee felt strongly that the tradition not be broken. Mandatory requirements included meeting the City’s stringent safety codes as determined by the Texas Municipal League, meeting all ADA guidelines and codes.

Proof of success of Killeen’s 58th Annual PRCA Rodeo was evident with ticket sales, sponsorships (many who committed to the following year), record prize money, and enough seed money to host the 59th Annual event in 2006. Renovations and improvements to the facility were completed in the unbelievably brief time, and organizational brilliance gave the term volunteer a whole new level of appreciation. From its glory days to near death, rodeo has been an enduring piece of the fabric of Texas. A comment from a former youth participant just returning from a long year in Iraq says it all about the important “intangibles” of this successful event. “Rodeo Killeen is back. Now I feel like I’m really home!”