All Inductees

Ralph Mitchell


Ralph Mitchell was born July 20, 1921, in DeWitt, Arkansas. At 16, he and his brothers moved to Dallas. He enlisted in the armed services in 1942 and, after serving his country for two years, was honorably discharged. Post-discharge, he moved to Bandera, Texas, and purchased the Cabaret Dancehall. There, he became acquainted with top ropers Ray Wharton, Buddy Groff, and Toots Mansfield, which ignited his desire to become a cowboy. Despite claiming he couldn’t throw a rope over a fence, Mitchell’s perseverance paid off.

Starting his rodeo career in open rodeos and jackpot roping, Mitchell won his share of the money. In 1948, he joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association as member number 1322. He competed across Texas—including in San Antonio, Beeville, Houston, Belton, and Georgetown—and placed in many. His rodeo career also took him to rodeos across the country, including in Abilene, Kansas; Burlington, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Salt Lake City, eventually earning him a Gold Card membership in the RCA.

Mitchell owned and operated the Cabaret Dancehall, hosting over 100 country music legends such as Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, George Jones, and Ray Price. The Cabaret also welcomed many world champion cowboys and cowgirls, including Casey Tibbs, Buck Rutherford, Jim Shoulders, Harry Tompkins, Bill Linderman, Jim Bob Altizer, Don McLaughlin, and notably Neal Gay, who lived in Bandera for several months and spent a great deal of time with Mitchell.

In addition to his rodeo career and owning the Cabaret, Mitchell was a successful rancher near Uvalde for 33 years. His honors include induction into the Bandera Music Hall of Fame and the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame in Brady, Texas. Mitchell had a profound love for rodeo, showing unwavering loyalty to his cowboy friends and the sport itself. He was always there to lend a helping hand to any cowboy down on their luck or crippled who visited Bandera.