2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
Calvin Norris Greely, Jr. (Posthumous)
Calvin Norris Greely, Jr.
2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
Calvin Norris Greely Jr. was one of America’s Greatest “All Around Cowboys” of African-American Descent. He was born on February 5, 1935 in El Campo, Texas. He began his rodeo career under the tutelage of Cowboy Legend Rufus Green, Sr. Calvin became one of Rufus Green’s prized students. He was a gifted athlete and soon became an outstanding and competitive cowboy. He was an award-winning steer wrestler, bucking horse and bull rider. He later became a “Champion Calf Roper”.
Calvin competed in thousands of rodeos and calf roping competitions across the United States and Canada. He was a pathfinder leading the efforts to integrate the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) which was predominately “white”. When Calvin competed in the PRCA and other predominately white rodeo organizations during the 1950s and early 1960s he was not allowed to compete during the main performance of the Rodeo, instead he competed in the early morning and after hours performances. This did not deter him! He continued to compete and develop his reputation as an outstanding cowboy and person. His persistent leadership efforts were instrumental in fully integrating the “ Rodeo Business” in the USA. He served as a role model and stepping stone for other young black cowboys to launch their careers.
Calvin has been an ambassador of “goodwill” for race relations in Western Culture. He was one of the first groups of African-American Cowboys to compete on a National Level in the PRCA. He has competed from Coast to Coast and North to South . He has competed in major Stock Shows, e.g., Denver, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Houston, New York, Cheyenne and Calgary Canada. Calvin was awarded 13 saddles and numerous belt buckles during his career. He was named a Champion in Calf Roping and Steer Wrestling 12 times. Calvin was a member of numerous Rodeo/Western Culture Organizations: most notable, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, the historic Southwest Cowboy Association and the National Old Timers Rodeo Association.
As his career advanced Calvin became the cowboy professional to emulate and consult. Calvin was an excellent horse trainer and teacher of his trade. His expertise, success, likeable demeanor and owner of quality horses attracted amateurs, novice and professionals seeking his advice, tutoring and mentorship. Some notable Championship Cowboys that have sought his advice are World Champion Calf Ropers Fred Whitfield and Joe Beaver. He trained Joe Beaver’s Champion Roping Horse, “Pistol Pat” and his own Champion Roping Horses, “Thunderbird”, “R.C.”, and “Alkali”. His motto was “share knowledge to improve performance and self-worth”. Calvin has passed on his riding, roping, steer wrestling, general horsemanship and rodeo skill to many youth and present day cowboys and cowgirls.
During his life Calvin was a businessman and entrepreneur. He worked as a professional truck driver and owned a small trucking company. He was a husband and father. Calvin resided with his wife of 44 years, Mrs. Shirley Greely, a registered nurse, in Teague, Texas. At age 74 Calvin continued to compete in ropings, rodeos and live the cowboy life. The sun set on this outstanding cowboy August 4, 2009. Calvin is survived by his immediate family: His Wife: Shirley Greely. His Sons: Lawrence J. Greely, Kevin W. Greely, Stephan D. Greely, And His Daughters: Beverly J. Greely, Annette Greely and Ramona G. Wilson.
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