All Inductees

Marvin Cantrell


Marvin Cantrell was born in Matador, Texas, in January of 1938. As a boy, he roped sheep in need of medical attention and learned early what he wanted to do in life. His neighbor, Harold Heath, was a calf roper and was largely responsible for Cantrell’s roping career.

Heath helped Cantrell with his roping and traveled with him to many junior rodeos. Cantrell credits Heath with not only teaching him to rope but also teaching him great horsemanship. Cantrell always had a positive attitude and once told Heath, “I am going to be a world champion roper, and when I win the world championship saddle, I am going to give it to you.” In 1976, when Cantrell won the season championship in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he followed through on his promise, and the saddle was given to Heath.

Cantrell entered professional rodeo in 1959 and won money at his first professional rodeo, tying a calf in 8.8 seconds at Lubbock. Over the years, he was an outstanding all-around cowboy, competing in calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and steer roping. Early in Cantrell’s career, calf roping was his specialty. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1966 in calf roping.

In 1976, Cantrell had a dream season as a steer roper when he placed in every steer roping he entered in the PRCA. He finished the year with $10,223 to win the season championship, and his horse, War Wagon, was named Steer Roping Horse of the Year.

Cantrell was known for riding and training outstanding roping horses, including Wild Bark and Powder Horn in calf roping; and steer roping horses War Wagon, Milo, and Rocket. In addition to Cantrell’s career in rodeo, he was also one of the top Quarter Horse breeders and trainers and, in 1968, co-owned and rode the World Champion Cutting Horse, Chickasha Dan. Chickasha Dan also won the 1965 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity and was later inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame.

Cantrell lives in Goliad, Texas, where he continues to train and sell roping horses. Horses are now a family affair, and he is proud of his daughter, Courtney, who also lives in Goliad and is following in her father’s footsteps as a horse trainer. She rides and trains barrel horses.

Fulfilling his lifelong dreams, Cantrell’s confidence and hard work made him a world champion and allowed him to live the life of a cowboy.