All Inductees

Spicer Gripp


Spicer Gripp was born in 1925 in the Panhandle of Texas, in the small town of Conway. He lived on the family homestead with his parents, Arthur and Mary, and his brother, Glenn. He farmed that same land until his death in 1994. On October 28, 1946, he married Norma in Panhandle. They moved to a farm south of Hereford in 1949 with their daughter, Nancy. Gripp plowed every weekday, practiced roping every evening in an arena behind the house, and spent the weekends competing in rodeos. He was recognized as a special person who would put off his own work to help someone else and probably helped everyone in the county through the years. No one ever had a bad word to say about him.

Another aspect of Gripp’s life was his knowledge about horses and roping. In 1949, he won a round in the steer roping at Cheyenne, which he considered the greatest achievement of his life. In 1954, he and Norma had a son, Kim. It was the father’s job to teach his son to ride and rope, and Gripp did it well. The backyard was filled with homemade calf heads and ropes. The rule was to make ten catches on the ground with the fake head before Kim could rope from a horse.

Practice was the name of the game, and the hard work paid off. Kim qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in calf roping twice, and his dad was a very proud father who enjoyed every minute of it. Other kids found their way to that same backyard arena, and over the years, Gripp held many “classes” in the afternoon after the plowing was finished for the day. More roping, more practice, and lots of laughing were had with his students. His teaching and promoting the life of a roper permeated his life during roping, rodeos, coffee with friends, and playing with youngsters behind the arena.

Gripp had an affinity for helping youngsters get involved in rodeo. His legacy lives on through the Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation, which provides scholarships for West Texas A&M University students. The proceeds from the annual roping in Hereford go towards providing scholarships for students who are on the rodeo team. As of 2009, the Gripp Foundation has given more than $100,000 for scholarships.

Gripp was a very unassuming kind of guy, and glitter and glamour did not mean much to him. He was interested in what a person could do, whether it was roping, running cattle, or anything else. He loved children, and they reciprocated. Small children were drawn to him, and he was liable to stop what he was doing and sit down in the dirt and play with them. He was everyone’s friend, and anyone who ever met Gripp liked him.