All Inductees

Tommy Puryear

Men Contestant

An outstanding athlete with strength and size, Tommy Puryear attended Lamar Tech, now Lamar University, on a football scholarship. But it would be in the rodeo arena where he would have his greatest success and win a world championship. Puryear was born January 20, 1950, in San Antonio. He grew up in a rodeo family with his dad, Thomas, competing on the amateur level in steer wrestling, calf roping, and bull riding. His dad bought him a horse and told Puryear when he could turn the horse around without falling off, he could start steer wrestling. Puryear quickly learned and competed on the junior and high school rodeo circuits. Although he played football in college, Puryear continued to compete on the rodeo circuit.

In 1970, Puryear joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and quickly started making a name for himself as a steer wrestler. He qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo in 1971 and finished third in the world. During his career, Puryear qualified for nine trips to the NFR as a steer wrestler.

Throughout his career, Puryear was a consistent winner and had several top-five finishes in the world standings. In 1974, he enjoyed his greatest success, winning the world championship, but it took a Herculean effort on his part to capture the crown. He went to Oklahoma City with a $659 lead over Tom Ferguson. Puryear started the finals red-hot, winning the opening round with a 7.21 and placing in three of the first four rounds. Ferguson won the second round and placed in the eighth and ninth rounds to take the lead for the world title by $15. On his final steer, Ferguson posted a solid 5.13, but Puryear dusted his steer in 4.91. The difference of twenty-two hundredths of a second was the difference in Puryear placing third in the go and Ferguson finishing one place out of the money in the round. Even though Ferguson placed sixth in the average and Puryear finished seventh, Puryear was the world champion by a whopping $360.

In the following years, Puryear continued his winning ways, finishing runner-up to the world title in 1975, and he won the average at the NFR in 1976. He won four Texas Circuit steer wrestling championships and qualified for the circuit finals numerous times. Being from Texas, one of Puryear’s proudest wins was the average at Fort Worth.

Puryear is involved in the used car business and makes his home with his wife, Peggy, on a small ranch near Burnet. He has three children, Katie, Kole, and Cassel.