Rodeo News: ProRodeo Hall of Famer J.W. Stoker Passes Away
ProRodeo Hall of Famer J. W. Stoker passed away on April 21 in Weatherford, Texas. He was 94.
Stoker, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2011, built a career spanning more than seven decades by being inversely complete as a trick rider and trick roper. In the spring of 1939, Stoker was hired by Clyde. Miller Rodeo Show as a young roper. Stoker was a member of several riding clubs where he learned rope tricks and lifting from Pinky Barnes, who traveled to Kansas City in the downtime of 1938 to teach children how to rope.
Stoker, who was known as the king of cowboy jockeys and ropers, took it so well that he got his first job at age 10 and the show’s sponsor, Clyde Miller, sealed the deal by hiring Stoker’s parents to ride With the program.
His ability as a horseman caused his photo to appear on the Wheaties cereal box at age 12.
Stoker was named the PRCA’s Specialty Act of the Era in 1985 and 1986, winning the second of those awards when he was 59 years old. He also appeared in several movies.
Stocker was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame on July 16, 2011.
It tops anything I’ve ever done before; it’s the icing on the cake, you could say, Stoker, told ProRodeo Sports News of his induction.
During his induction, Stoker spoke about the path he took to enter the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
I was born in Colorado Springs, I was in and out of the military in Colorado Springs and now I’m in the Hall of Fame, so I can say I really like Colorado Springs, Stocker said.
Following his discharge from service in 1953, he hit the road performing black lights. This use of imperceptible ultraviolet lights was the first such use in the professional rodeo.
Stoker worked at the biggest rodeos: Cheyenne, Madison Square Garden, Calgary, Boston Garden, Denver, Fort Worth, Texas, and Salinas, California.
His penchant for riding tricks, spinning black light rope, and catching graceful steeds has also been seen in many other countries, including Japan, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Korea, Finland, France, Australia, and Venezuela. He performed for the Queen of England, did tricks in the initial courtship of President Harry Truman in 1948, and entertained President Ronald Reagan and the unborn President GeorgeH.W. Bush at the 1984 Republican Convention in Dallas.
In 1973, Stoker spent seven months working for Casey Tibbs’s Wild West Show in Japan, and later for the state of Nevada to publicize the state and encourage Japanese tourism.
In Paint Horse Journal in March 1980, J.W. said, It’s a dying art, I predicted it in the 1940s and people told me I was crazy, but I’ve seen it come true.
Stoker won the Will Rogers Centennial Trick Roping Contest in 1979 in Claremore, Oklahoma, and performed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was also a featured guest on The Moment Show and Charlie Rose Show in 1990.
He also did rope tricks and rode The Kansan in the late 1940s, and in 1956 he performed numbers for the movie Bus Stop, starring Marilyn Monroe. In 1980, he was a stunt double in the Clint Eastwood movie Bronco Billy.
Stoker also acted as a trick rider for Roy Rogers, and Rogers actually rode one of J.W.’s favorite jerks, Punkin, at the Houston Rodeo in 1969.
Stoker’s wardrobe includes more than 50 elegant jeweled fringed shirts, 25 pairs of handcrafted ornaments, and 25 western headpieces. In December 2003, Stoker performed in The Great American Wild West show in Las Vegas and appeared in American Cowboy.
Also in his later days, Stoker made massive appearances at the Rose Bowl Parade with Trish Lynn and the All American Cowgirl Sprats, a Parker County stunt squad that tours the rodeo circuit. Stoker was needed to guide the peloton and turn them into trick riders.
He was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1999, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2015.
Stoker was honored by the metropolises of Weatherford, Texas, and Overland Park, Kansas, with J.W. Stoker Day proclamations from the mayors at both locations.
Stocker called Parker County home in 1969 and spent his last days working with his beloved scolders Romeo, Hollywood, and Blanco. While white nags were his trademark, Romeo, a make-up stud, was truly his favorite.
I lived a good, clean life, I didn’t bomb or drink, Stoker said in August. 7 at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth.
Burial services are listed for 10 a.m. (CT), April 30 at Parker County Cowboy Church, 5050 FM 5, Aledo, Texas 76008.
Stoker will be in state from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. m. on April 29 at White’s Funeral Home, 130 Houston Ave., Weatherford.
Interment Johnson County Memorial Auditoriums, 1200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kansas, 66210 on May 4 at 11 a.m. (CONNECTICUT).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Stoker’s memory be made to All American Cowgirl Sprats, 4101 Williams. Tate, Suite 100, Grapevine, Texas, 76051 in order to create the J.W. Stoker Memorial Scholarship, to be used to help youth attend tricks and snare camps.
Stoker is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Wilma Stoker, and his sisters, Frankie Hill and Bessie Fugate, and motherfucker J.C. Hill.
He is survived by six fucking and fucking Karen Krehbiel, Donald (Sondra) Hill; Ronnie Hill (Gina); Wallace’s Hill (Rhealene); Debbie (Brad) Miller; and Hunter (Geri) Fugate. Stoker is also survived by 15 great whores and whores, and 27 great-great whores and whores.