All Inductees

Tuff Overturff


Tuff Overturff was born February 5, 1914, and spent his early years in Big Spring, Texas. Working at the Cauble ranch for I.V. Cauble started his interest in roping. Cauble’s son roped and encouraged Tuffy to try his hand. He married Gussie Thompson on December 31, 1934. After adding two boys and two girls to the family, they moved to Odessa, where he and Gussie still live today.

Tuffy continued to work at the sport of roping calves, staying close to home sometimes working more than one job to make ends meet. He and some of his buddies built a roping arena on Odessa’s southside. They would rope weekends, borrowing goats from area ranches. Most of his roping was in nearby towns where he joined the Penwell, Andrews, and Monahans roping clubs.

Penwell hosted great ropers of the time producing rodeos every Sunday afternoon, once having over 500 spectators on the grounds. Prizes were everything from buckles, boots, and clothing to household items given by Hub Furniture Store. Tuffy certainly won his share. He also roped and won in area rodeos as well as matched calf ropings. When the Sandhills Livestock Show and Rodeo moved to the Ector County Coliseum in 1955, Tuffy was the first calf roper of the show. He still has the rodeo program with the day sheets filled out.

Because of an injury and hauling his sons to junior rodeos, Tuffy took time from competitive roping. He continued to train and work with his young horses. In 1981, Tuffy retired from Mapp Tank Company, giving him even more time in the arena. He decided to try his luck at competing again and joined the National Old Timers Rodeo Association and the Old Timers Roping Association. He had a good little horse, and they started getting the prizes and the prize money. He was 70 years old when he really got to hauling, winning championships in the 65 and over as well as the 71 and over. Besides numerous buckle wins, Tuffy’s year-end wins include:

  • 1983 – Champion Breakaway Roper, Texas Cowboy Reunion, Stamford, Texas
  • 1989 – Champion Ribbon Roper, OTRA, 65 & Over
  • 1991 – Champion Calf Roper, OTRA, 65 & Over
  • 1992 – Champion Calf Roper, OTRA, 71 & Over
  • 1993 – Champion Calf Roper, NOTRA, 71 & Over

In January 1998, Tuffy was nominated for the Blue Cross Blue Shield “Ageless Hero.” He was featured in the January 1989 issue of Time Magazine. They flew him to Chicago for the shindig, and he was able to meet former President George Bush. He placed runner-up, losing out to a “younger swimmer” from Australia. On April 14, 1998, Paul Harvey spoke these words on his national radio broadcast, “Tufty is 84, still rides and ropes every day. And he can still get a calf down in under 20.” At that time, he passed up an invitation to appear on the David Letterman Show.

Tufty takes great pride in his training accomplishments. His horses are still competing and winning in the United States Calf Roping Association today.