Tee Woolman will go down in rodeo history as one of the baddest cats ever to back into a heading box. With 45 National Finals qualifications—26 in the team roping at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and 19 more at the National Finals Steer Roping—he’s a talented all-around cowboy, too. His 2019 induction into the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame in Pecos, Texas, will only lengthen an already legendary list of cowboy accomplishments.
The 2019 West of the Pecos Rodeo will run June 26-29 in Pecos, and Woolman, who’s 62 now, will be inducted alongside barrel racer Kay Blandford and twin bull riders Adam and Gilbert Carrillo. The inaugural class at the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame—“which was founded to preserve West of the Pecos Rodeo history by honoring the people who have made it historical”—was inducted in 2004.
“It’s always a big honor to get inducted into any hall of fame,” said Woolman, who won his first of three world team roping titles as a professional rodeo rookie in 1980, and shares the rare distinction of earning a gold buckle his rookie year with only five other cowboys—Harry Charters, steer wrestling in 1959; Bill Kornell, bull riding in 1963; Roy Cooper, tie-down roping in 1976, Joe Beaver, tie-down roping in 1985; and Sage Kimzey, bull riding in 2014—in rodeo history.
“When I was rodeoing, Pecos was one of the big ones over the Fourth of July run,” continued Tee, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2004. “Back then, we always roped big steers over a long score, so it was old school. Leo (Camarillo) roped two feet there one year and dallied, and our steer was so huge that he couldn’t get him stopped. His rope just ran on his horn until he lost it. Pecos was always Wild West, but just a great rodeo.”
Woolman struck for a second world championship, again with fellow roping legend Leo “The Lion”, in 1982, and in 1991 won a third gold buckle heading for Bobby Harris. His career collection includes both West of the Pecos team roping and all-around buckles. That should surprise no one, as Woolman won NFR all-around titles against the best in the business in 1985 and ’95.
Woolman won the prestigious 10-head average at Rodeo’s Super Bowl—the NFR—five times. In addition to Camarillo in 1980 and ’82, his partners in the NFR average crown included Harris in 1987 and ’90, and 2017 Champ of the World Cory Petska in 2005. Woolman also quarterbacked his teams to a grand total of 28 NFR go-round wins.
Then there was the NFSR. Woolman is fifth all time in terms of total National Finals go-round wins with a staggering 42, including those 28 at the NFR and 14 more at the NFSR. He didn’t get serious about his steer roping until 1987, but left a memorable mark from the back of a little buckskin horse by the name of Dutch and won the 10-steer NFSR average in 1998.
Woolman remembers a lot of good times in both events at the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
“It was usually 120 degrees, but I’ve also been there when you needed a coat,” Tee smiled. “I always liked that rodeo. It was a little hard to work when it was over the Fourth, especially when I started roping steers. But I always tried to get to it somehow, because I liked it, it paid good and it was good to me. I will always say it was one of my favorite rodeos. It was a good place to go get a check.
“Every hall of fame induction is an honor. It’s a lasting legacy from your career. To get inducted into the hall at one of my favorite rodeos is extra special.”