All Inductees

Steve Bland

Empty Saddles

When friends and family describe Steve Bland, the one word that is always used is “cowboy.” From being an all-around hand in rodeo, an outstanding horseman, and his values, Bland was a cowboy’s cowboy. Born on November 17, 1956, he was the son of R.L. and Rosemary Bland.

Nicknamed “Dooky,” Bland was born into a rodeo family with his dad being an outstanding roper and steer wrestler. His mother was also a barrel racer and rodeo queen. His brothers, Rex and John, both qualified for the National Finals Rodeo during their rodeo careers, and his sisters, Diltzie and Becky, were also winning rodeo competitors.

He started competing in rodeos at the age of four and won his first saddle at five. He won championships at every age level in the American Junior Rodeo Association and served as president of the association from 1974 to ’75. Bland was the all-around champion competing in the calf roping, steer wrestling, optional roping, bareback, and bull riding.

Bland attended Southeastern Oklahoma on a rodeo scholarship. During his college career, the Southeastern team won four consecutive national team championships, and Bland was the only cowboy to compete on all four championship teams. As a senior, he won the bareback and all-around championships in the Central Plains Region.

He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1977 and was Rookie of the Year in the calf roping and steer wrestling. In 1980, Bland won the Linderman Award in the PRCA. To qualify for the award, a cowboy must compete in at least three events, and one event must be a roughstock and one a timed event. During his career, Bland won several major events, including the steer wrestling at Cheyenne and the calf roping at Pendleton, two consecutive years. He also qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 1980 in the calf roping.

In addition to his rodeo career, Bland farmed, ranched, and was part-owner of the Cal-Tex Feedyards in Trent, Texas. He also had a successful career in movies as an actor, stuntman, and wrangler in movies, including “All the Pretty Horses,” “The Postman,” “The Good Old Boys,” and numerous others.

Bland and his wife, Tootie Bailey, created “Road to the Horse,” a unique horse event that combines entertainment and education. They started the program in 2003, featuring top horse trainers and a competition that includes each trainer picking a horse from a remuda and then working to build a relationship between the horse and trainer. The Blands’ goal with the program is to teach horsemen and women that natural horsemanship is a kinder, gentler way of working with horses.

As if his talent with rodeo and horses were not enough, Bland was also a singer, musician, and songwriter. During his brief lifetime, Bland lived a full life and is best remembered by his quote, “A good horse, an honest dog, and a pretty woman will make a cowboy’s life complete. I’m a lucky man… I have all three.” Bland passed away on August 20, 2005, from complications from diabetes.