2007 Hall of Fame Inductee
2007 Hall of Fame Inductee
Rufus Green, Sr.
Rufus Green Sr., Champion Calf Roper and Top Horse Trainer, was born in April 1923 near Edna, Texas. At the age of 15 he begins in earnest his work with horses when he signed on as a ranch hand with the F. W. Gross Ranch in Victoria, Texas. It was here that his foundation in horsemanship and cowboying begin. He learned to ride rope and care for horses under the tutelage of Cowboy James Fry. He possessed a unique ability to communicate with horses which lead him to become one of the best roping, hazing, barrel and cutting horse trainers of his time. Weekends on the ranch were spent with cowboys competing against themselves riding bucking horses and roping calves. Rufus was the undisputed champion of both events. Because of his success on the ranch he begins to enter local rodeos in South Texas on the weekends to supplement his income. He was so successful in the calf roping competitions (tie down and break-away) that his competition yielded first place money to Rufus and was content to compete for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places. Rufus became so successful at weekend rodeoing that he quit his ranch job and became a full time rodeo professional in the fifties. As a rodeo professional he coned his skills and expertise to calf roping.
Rufus participated in rodeos all over the United States, e.g., Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York (Madison Square Garden), Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. He won monies, saddles, trophies and Belt Buckles. He was featured in Ebony Magazine in 1957 at the Drumright, Oklahoma’s All Black Rodeo. He was the All Around Champion at rodeos at Manor Downs in Austin, Texas in 1978 and at the Frank County Fair in Ottawa, Kansas in 1960; the significance of theses events are that these were predominately “white rodeos” and he and his possess were the only black entrees during this time of early integration in our country.
During his career Rufus competed in over 2,000 rodeos. He was a founding member of the Southwestern Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (Historically Black). He was one of the first Black Cowboys to receive a Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) Card (Historically White). He trained over 1000 competition roping, cutting, hazing, barrel racing, bulldogging, and race and pleasure horses. He trained over 100 young men and women to ride, ripe, bulldog, barrel race, and compete in rodeos and horse riding competitions. Some of these young cowboys and cowgirls became top competitors; Calvin Greeley, William Hollis, Cleo Hearns, Shirley Gladden, Paul Cleveland, Cedric Haynes and Dr. Wendell Baker are only a few. He promoted race relations and integration in Rodeo and Western Culture in our country. His students, clients and friends were multi-cultured.
As he became older he promoted rodeos, but continued to compete in rodeos and calf roping events at the “senior’s level”. He and Mr. Monroe Lawson produced the first Rodeo on the Campus of Prairie View A&M University in honor of Black History. Rufus touched the lives of many and left his western life-style imprint on many young people. The resounding theme and comments expressed by those that knew Rufus was “He was one of the best horse trainers, calf ropers and cowboys of his time—a true legend and cowboy ambassador”. He was true to his profession and continued to compete and attend rodeos and calf ropings right up to his death. His last trophy was in Conroe, Texas in 1978. Rufus died January 1982 at his home, Sycamore Stables, in Prairie View, Texas.
Rufus had two sons with his first wife, Doris M. Griffin; they are Dr. Rufus Green Jr., Physician in Dallas, Texas and Bobby L. Green, Registered Nurse of Los Angeles, California. He had six foster children with his second wife, Castella Green; they are Beverly Greeley, Attorney of Houston, Texas, Annette Greeley, Engineer of Austin, Texas, Lawrence J. Greeley and Marcus Greeley of Austin, Texas, William Hollis of Houston, Texas and Wilton Wysinger of Dallas, Texas. Rufus had one daughter, Lawana Green-Stevenson of Houston, Texas.
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