The 2022 Ellensburg Rodeo is coming in hot up in Washington this week, and part of the kick-off festivities just included Saturday night’s Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Dick and JD Yates were inducted with the Class of 2022, which also included Big Bend/Flying 5 Rodeo’s two-time Saddle Bronc of the Year Spring Planting and the Kittitas County Junior Sheriff’s Posse.
The father-and-son team of Dick and JD Yates roped together at 13 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos between 1975 and 2022, and JD added eight more NFR back numbers for a grand total of 21. JD made his first trip to Rodeo’s Super Bowl at only 15, and in 1984 Dick, Kelly and JD became the only father-daughter-son combo ever to qualify for the Finals the same year.
Dick, who’s 85 now, and JD, 62, won the team roping at Ellensburg in 1986 and 1988. During his tenure as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association team roping director, Dick worked with Ellensburg Rodeo Committeeman Ken MacRae to get team roping added to the Ellensburg Rodeo events roster for the first time in 1981.
“I just loved it when we came out from under the bleachers (before they reconfigured the arena, and the boxes were moved out in front of the bleachers),” said JD, who was the Ellensburg Rodeo all-around champ in 2003. “It was a big deal to get team roping added at Ellensburg, and once that happened, all the Washington rodeos followed suit. They all have it now, and the committee and entire community of Ellensburg are big supporters of team roping. We always loved going to Ellensburg when we were rodeoing.”
The older JD gets, the more sentimental he feels about such special moments in life as this one.
“Anytime you get inducted into any hall of fame, it’s an honor,” he said. “To be inducted into a hall of fame with your dad is a hell of a good feeling. Ellensburg’s a great rodeo, and being inducted into their hall of fame is a big blessing.”