STEPHENVILLE (November 12, 2019) — Tarleton State University’s Rodeo Hall of Fame celebrated the induction of four new members during its 10th annual steak dinner and auction Nov. 9 in Stephenville.
Jackie Hobbs-Crawford, Sarah Scott Verhelst, Tessie Doyle and Neelley Armes, all members of Tarleton’s 2005 national championship women’s team, were presented with a bronze Rodeo Hall of Fame medallion by university President James Hurley.
Held at Twisted J Live, the annual steak dinner and live and silent auctions benefit the Tarleton Rodeo Program’s scholarship fund. This year’s auctions garnered approximately $15,000.
About this year’s 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. She also was part of a regional team title.
Born in Illinois, she moved to Sallisaw, Okla., where she had a love for rodeo timed events by age 11 and eventually became the Oklahoma High School Rodeo breakaway champion. Today, Jackie is an 18-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion.
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 and qualify three times for the National High School Finals.
She joined the Tarleton women’s team in 2003 and won the women’s all-around titles two years later at both the West Texas A&M and Tarleton rodeos. She earned a place on Tarleton’s Southwest Region women’s championship team that won the national crown at the 2005 College National Finals Rodeo.
Tessie Doyle 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 and 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 goat tying and all-around, and was named academic all-America.
Neelley Armes began her Tarleton rodeo career in 2004 after 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 future husband, steer wrestler Bray Armes.
They decided to return to school together and wound up at Tarleton where they both qualified for 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 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.
Tarleton has inducted 41 former rodeo team members, coaches and program supporters into the university’s Rodeo Hall of Fame. The program is known for having some of the toughest and most talented student competitors among National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association members.
The Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to recognize the cowboys and cowgirls who have brought notoriety to the sport and university. Tarleton’s rodeo teams have won seven national championships, 28 individual national championships and numerous NIRA Southwest Region titles since the program was established in 1947.
To nominate individuals for the Tarleton Rodeo Hall of Fame, visit www.tarleton.edu/rodeo/hall-of-fame.html. For more information about Tarleton State University’s Office of Rodeo Activities, visit www.tarleton.edu/rodeo.