STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University’s Rodeo Hall of Fame celebrates the induction of four new members, all part of the 2005 national championship women’s team, during the 10th annual steak dinner and auction Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Twisted J in Stephenville.
This year’s all-female class of inductees are Jackie Hobbs-Crawford, Sarah Scott Verhelst, Tessie Doyle and Neelley Armes.
The annual event, which benefits Tarleton Rodeo’s scholarship fund, begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and preview mixer, followed by the induction ceremony, dinner and live auction.
Admission is $50 per person and includes dinner. Tickets are available for purchase through 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, by contacting the Office of Rodeo Activities at 254-968-9344 or 254-968-1793.
About this year’s Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees:
Jackie Hobbs-Crawford represented Tarleton on back-to-back College National Finals Rodeo appearances claiming two National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region breakaway roping titles and was part of a regional team title.
Born in Illinois, she moved to Sallisaw, Okla., where she had developed a love for rodeo timed events by age 11 and eventually became the Oklahoma High School Rodeo breakaway champion.
After high school, she accepted a scholarship from Vernon College, where she became breakaway roping champion at both the regional and national levels before donning the purple vest at Tarleton.
Today Jackie is an 18-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion and continues to bring breakaway roping to the forefront of rodeo.
Sarah Scott Verhelst grew up on her family’s ranch near Billings, Mont., where she developed the skills to become a two-time Montana State High School breakaway roping champion qualifying three times for the National High School Finals.
She attended Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyo., continuing her rodeo career and playing basketball. In 2003 she won the reserve women’s all-around title for the NIRA Big Sky Region and earned reserve champion status in goat tying and a place at the CNFR.
She became a member of the Tarleton women’s team in 2003, winning women’s all-around titles two years later at both the West Texas A&M and Tarleton rodeos and earning a place on Tarleton’s Southwest Region women’s championship team that won the national crown at the 2005 College National Finals Rodeo.
Sarah graduated from Tarleton with degree in history and returned to Montana to work on her family’s ranch where she lives with her husband, KC, and their three children. Sarah still loves to rope and competes in breakaway roping as often as possible.
Tessie Doyle grew up in Bronte, Texas, where she began competing in junior and high school rodeos. She was the 1998 Texas High School Rodeo all-around cowgirl and rookie all-around champion, qualifying for nationals in barrel racing and goat tying.
A four-time National High School Finals qualifier, she was the state breakaway champion in 2000. After graduating in 2001, Tessie attended Vernon College where she, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Jackie Hobbs-Crawford, were a part of the CNFR women’s championship team in 2003.
Tessie transferred to Tarleton and qualified for the College National Finals the next two years, earning first-place finishes in goat tying, and all-around and third in breakaway in the Southwest Region in 2005.
She qualified in two events for the 2005 CNFR, winning second in the goat tying and all-around, and was named academic all-America. She graduated from Tarleton in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Now a Granbury resident with her husband, Blake, and children Davie and Milo, she is the director of credit analysis for Lone Star Ag Credit.
Neelley Armes began her Tarleton rodeo career in 2004 after earlier stops at West Texas A&M and Howard College.
In 2003 she took a year away from her studies to pursue a professional rodeo career. During that time, she met her husband, steer wrestler Bray Armes. They decided to return to school together and wound up at Tarleton where they both qualified for the CNFR — Bray in steer wrestling and Neelley as a breakaway roper. Both were integral parts of men’s and women’s team title runs in 2005.
They were married in 2006 while Neelley continued to compete for Tarleton, earning another trip to the College National Finals where she finished sixth in breakaway roping.
She is pursuing a career in education and is currently head softball coach at Gruver High School. The couple, along with their daughter, Breely, and son, Drake, live in Gruver, where Bray farms and runs cattle.
For more information about Tarleton’s rodeo program, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/rodeo.