Fort Worth native Billy Minick has held a few distinctions in his day. 

A part-owner of world famous nightclub Billy Bob's Texas, he's been inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association for his role in creating the "Live at Billy Bob's" record label. He's also won the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Ben Johnson Award for creating a "positive image for rodeo and the Western lifestyle." He even shares his life with a former Miss Rodeo America -- his wife and businesswoman, Pam Minick, a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame

He's grateful for every honor, he says. He's lived a blessed life. But, he found himself overwhelmed at the news of his newest title. It's his "holy grail" of lifetime achievement.

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On Aug. 4, Minick will be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. He's joined by a cohort of 10 professional athletes (human and animal) and organizations that have left an indelible impact on the sport, selected from more than 100 nominees

Among the 2018 class are fellow native Texans Rich Skelton, Billie McBride, Leon Coffee and, coincidentally enough, Minick's neighbor and friend of 40 years, former Dallas Cowboy Walt Garrison who competed on the professional rodeo circuit during NFL off-seasons. A "real" cowboy through and through, Garrison's 1966 signing bonus with America's Team included a horse trailer.

"I found it funny me and my neighbor are being inducted and Pam is emceeing the event," Minick says about the upcoming ceremony. "I told her not to say anything bad because I speak after her." 

He pauses for a big laugh before adding, "Naw, she can handle it better than anyone in the country." 

Billy Minick, pictured in an undated photo from the 1970s, raised bucking horses, saddle horses and cattle for rodeo competitions across the country. 

Billy Minick, pictured in an undated photo from the 1970s, raised bucking horses, saddle horses and cattle for rodeo competitions across the country. 

Ferrell Butler/

Minick is being inducted for his role as a stock contractor -- someone who raises livestock, bucking horses and saddle horses specially for rodeo events -- in the 60s and 70s, but his connection to the sport goes back to his youth in North Texas.

As a high school student, he was a scorekeeper at the inaugural National Finals Rodeo at Dallas' Fair Park in 1959. There, he witnessed personal heroes in the generation just ahead of him -- namely "nearly unbeatable" 16-time world champion Jim Shoulders and 9-time world champion Casey Tibbs -- at the top of their careers. 

Minick competed in a variety of events in high school before focusing on bull riding, which became his specialty in college. He attended McNeese State University -- at the time the premiere school for rodeo, he says -- before progressing to the professional circuit, where he qualified to compete in the National Finals Rodeo in 1966. 

Minick says his folks "weren't thrilled" at first at the idea of bull riding, but his father soon got behind him wholeheartedly. 

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"He made a lot of overnight drives with me," Minick says. "The other cowboys would come by and he'd feed them, and they loved my dad." 

In 1968, Minick purchased the Harry Knight Rodeo Company from Knight and famous cowboy entertainer Gene Autry, and produced top stock as the Billy Minick Rodeo Company in the '70s.

The following decades would present a number of other business opportunities, most notably a chance to save Billy Bob's, which had fallen on hard times and was temporarily shut down in 1988. Minick went in with "a group of about four families," he says, to purchase the club in 1989, and he remains part of that majority ownership group

These days, he and Pam live on what he calls "our little piece of heaven" with horses, cattle and "great dogs" on a small ranch in Argyle. It's a lot to take care of, he says, but it's a lifestyle he loves, and that's part of what makes his induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame feel so personally significant. 

"It's a real honor because I moved on into the business world, but my heart is still in being a cowboy," he says. "I just love being around that type of people because they're real people doing real things."

2018 Texan Inductees to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame:

Rich Skelton: From Electra and residing in Llano, Skelton is an 8-time Team Roping World Champion with partner and fellow 2018 inductee, Speed Williams. He has over $2 million in competition earnings to his credit. 

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Billie McBride: Born in Copperas Cove and calling San Angelo home for much of her long life, McBride dominated the Girls Rodeo Association barrel racing circuit in the 1950s, winning four straight world championships from 1955-58 on her mare Zombie. That record stood for three decades.

Leon Coffee: From Blanco, Coffee made a name for himself as a bullfighter and barrel man, earning the nicknames "Disco Bullfighter" and "Boogie Man" due to his lively showmanship. He "won PRCA Clown of the Year in 1983 and was in the top three every year from 1984-2001."

Walt Garrison: Born in Denton, raised in Lewisville (where he played high school football) and residing in Argyle, the former Dallas Cowboy competed on the pro-rodeo circuit when he wasn't playing professional football. "Coach Tom Landry stopped Garrison from competing in nearby rodeos the night before a game by allowing him to follow the rodeo trail in the off-season," the PRHOF says. Garrison is also a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and Texas Sports Hall of Fame

Here's the full list of 2018 inductees and more detailed biographies.

Cowboy Jerry La France is bucked off of V61, one of Billy Minick Rodeo Company's most famous bulls, in this undated photo from the San Angelo Rodeo. 

Cowboy Jerry La France is bucked off of V61, one of Billy Minick Rodeo Company's most famous bulls, in this undated photo from the San Angelo Rodeo. 

Ferrell Butler/
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