By Ann Bleiker
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2018 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Tuesday, April 17 and will mark the 40th annual induction. A total of 10 will be inducted including three representing the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
Among the headliners will be four-time world champion Kristie Peterson and her great horse French Flash Hawk, better known as Bozo. Following on the heels of Charmayne James and her great horse Scamper, it was Peterson and Bozo that ended James’ streak of 10 straight world titles capturing their first of four world titles in 1994. Although Peterson and Bozo were not successful in defending their title in 1995 (Sherry Cervi’s first world title), the duo would return to the top of the sport in 1996 and then win three straight.
“How wonderful…that is just awesome,” said Peterson upon learning the news of the induction honor. “I feel very honored and humbled. To go in with Bozo is definitely the carrot on top. I am just speechless.”
When asked how it felt to follow Charmayne and Scamper both in the arena and now into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Peterson simply said, “Being in the shadow of Scamper is a great place to be.”
The Peterson-Bozo duo would collect four world titles, three reserve world titles (1993, 1995, 1999), five consecutive National Finals Rodeo average titles (1994-98), and four Dodge (now Ram) National Circuit Finals Rodeo titles (1992, 1994-95, 98) in addition to winning five AQHA Horse of the Year titles (1995-1999) and was named WPRA’s Horse With the Most Heart four times (1995-1998). Peterson and Bozo placed in 10 consecutive rounds at the NFR in both 1996 and 1997, marking the only duo to achieve this feat. Bozo was a machine, particularly in Vegas. In 80 runs, he picked up 66 checks and hit just two barrels. He placed in 22 straight go rounds from 1995 through 1997, missed a check in the first round of 1998 and rattled off another 17 consecutive round checks. In his final NFR in 2000, Bozo placed in eight rounds and won second in the average.
During their WPRA career they made their home in Elbert, Colo., before moving to Lott, Texas. Peterson’s daughter, Jordon Peterson Briggs, also rodeo Bozo during her early career and went on to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2009, finishing sixth in the world. Peterson retired the great gelding not long after winning her third Rodeo Houston title in 2003.
On May 4, 2016 at the age of 29, Bozo died peacefully at their home in Texas.
Perhaps as big as Bozo’s many wins was the long-term impact his success brought to the barrel racing industry. Everyone wanted a horse as cool as Bozo and breeders soon sought out other Sun Frost sired stallions. They found Frenchmans Guy, a palomino stud by Sun Frost and out of a half sister to Bozo’s dam, and he exploded within a few years.
Today, Frenchmans Guy is the number two all time leading sire of barrel horses, having produced winners of nearly $10 million.
Joining Peterson and Bozo will be another four-time WPRA champion Billie Hinson McBride. She will be inducted posthumously having passed away at the age of 90 on May 10, 2017.
McBride first saw barrel racing at an open rodeo event in 1937 and decided at ten years old that it was the path she wanted to travel. McBride was a charter member of the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA), formed in her hometown of San Angelo, Texas just over a decade later.
In the early years, McBride would become the first super star of the Association to compete nearly exclusively as a barrel racer. The GRA was formed by ladies who often competed in multiple events, including roping and rough stock. Though she briefly tried roping, McBride dominated the GRA’s barrel racing in the late 1950’s.
After picking up a Reserve World Championship in 1954, she went on the biggest streak of the young Association’s history, winning four straight World Championships from 1955-1958 on her great mare Zombie. That set a record that stood for three decades, not broken until Charmayne James, part of the 2017 inaugural WPRA class at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, won her fifth title in 1988.
McBride also jumped into leadership roles with the GRA, serving thirteen years as Director and holding both the Vice President and President positions.
In her role as President, McBride spearheaded an effort to get the GRA barrel race included with the newly formed National Finals Rodeo (NFR) to be produced by the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA). Though that proved unsuccessful, McBride secured a spot for the ladies with the National Finals Steer Roping, providing the GRA’s first season ending championship event and paving the way for the barrels to make the jump into the NFR eight years later.
“She would be overwhelmed and thrilled,” said Alva Jean Meek, McBride’s daughter. “We are approaching the one year anniversary since we lost her but this news would have made her ecstatic. The GRA was a big part of her life and she put her heart and soul into the earlier Association.”
McBride, born in Copperas Cove, Texas, on March 4, 1927 passed away on May 10, 2017, in San Angelo, Texas, at the age of 90 after suffering a sudden stroke.
Information on the PRCA inductees can be found at www.prorodeo.com.
The ProRodeo Hall of Fame, which is a popular Colorado Springs attraction for rodeo fans and tourists alike, will have inducted 267 people, 29 rodeo committees and 34 animals with the class of 2018. The 2018 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductions will take place at 10 a.m. MT on Aug. 4, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Editor's Note: The information enclosed in this release is courtesy of the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) for media use. However, if you reprint any of the following information verbatim in your publication, or if you read it verbatim on a radio broadcast, please mention that the information is courtesy of the WPRA.