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2008 Hall of Fame Inductee
Paul Cleveland

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Paul Cleveland

2008 Hall of Fame Inductee

Cornelious “Paul” Cleveland was born August 15, 1935, to Henry & Mamie Clark Cleveland in Sealy, Texas.  He was the 10th child of 11 siblings.  He attended Sealy Elementary and Austin County High School.  Paul’s father was a sharecropper and ranch foreman.  They worked together at the Will Strauss Ranch in Sealy.   Paul’s older brother, James Cleveland purchased his first horse named “Spike” and a Holstein calf for roping and tying.  Ready for his first rodeo, his sister Alberta Green purchased his first cowboy outfit.  Paul, Barbara (wife), James and Alberta, built a horse trailer out of a metal frame and plywood to transport the horse to the rodeos.  Alberta used the bedspread from her bed and made a covering for the top of the trailer.  His brother Tilophus Cleveland of San Antonio, Texas, also known as “Chicken”, gave him another horse by the name of Pebbles, another rope, and horse trailer so he could further his rodeo career.  Chicken told Paul, “If you’re going to rodeo, you need your own horse and equipment”, and that started it all.

In 1964, a gentleman by the name of Robert Dunston of Federal Warehouse had Paul train a horse by the name of Uvalde King also known as “Valdie”.  He sponsored Paul in his first RCA rodeo event now known as Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.  The rodeo was held at the Houston Coliseum now known as the Houston Hobby Center for Performing Arts.  The first performance Paul and Valdie placed a 3rd in the Calf Tie-Down Roping event, and the second performance the light from a camera upset the calf and caused Paul and Valdie to have a bad run.  In 1965, Paul was introduced to Napoleon Allen who owned a paint horse named “Stardust”.  Paul trained Stardust for tie-down roping and in March of 1966, Mr. Allen entered Stardust and Paul in the Paint Horse Registered Calf Roping Event held at the Houston’s Astrodome Stadium.  This was the first year of the Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo at the Astrodome.  They won 1st place in the Paint Horse Registered Calf Roping Event.  In 1967, they entered again and won 2nd place where Stardust was recognized as Best Judged Roping Horse.

During the 70’s and 80’s Paul started producing his own rodeos and jack pot calf ropings. He spent a lot of his time teaching youngsters the techniques and disciplines of being a good cowboy.  Paul was the first to add junior events of competition for youngsters in his rodeos, such as Jr. Tie-Down Calf Roping, Jr. Break-Away Calf Roping, and Jr. Steer Riding so that the participants of 17 years old or younger could participate in the rodeos he produced.   Paul acknowledges his friend of 40 years or more, Jack Bass, for his contribution to his success.  Paul trained several of Jack’s horses for calf roping and a barrel horse for Jack’s daughter.  In 1981, Paul trained Jack’s horse “Pete” and they entered the Quarter Horse Judged Roping event held at the Astro Arena placing a 3rd in the event.  In 1990, Paul trained a horse named “Bugs” for his nephew Howard Cleveland.  Bugs won first place in the HLS&R Registered Appaloosa Calf Roping held in the Astro Arena.  In the same year, Bugs was World Championship Appaloosa Horse Show Champion in the Timed Calf Roping event held at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Paul was on the rodeo circuit during the days of Rufus Green, T. J. Williams, A.J. Walker, Calvin Greeley, Cleo Hearn and many other great cowboys.  He gives absolute credit of his success, first of all, to his wife Barbara.  It was her prayers and support she gave him in his role as a cowboy and husband.  Paul and Barbara have three daughter’s Cornelia, Marchelle and Buffie, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.  All of whom learned to ride, love horses and work with him during this time in his life.  Last but not least, Paul says this is what it takes to be a cowboy, of any nationality, “the Good Lord, prayer, a family who supports you whether you are winning or losing, a good horse, and a sponsor”.


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