Sept. 24, 1983, was a special day for the Yates family. J.D. and Dick Yates are two out of eight cowboys and cowgirls who’ve won the PRCA Presidential Rodeo at the White House in Washington, D.C.
“They took some of the World champions and, back then, J.D. and I were leading the World in the PRCA,” the elder Yates said.
J.D. and Dick didn’t send their own horses out to Washington D.C. to compete and, instead, backed into the heading and heeling boxes on borrowed mounts.
“We borrowed horses back there,” Yates added. “I rode a little head horse from somebody and J.D. rode one of the pickup horses to heel on. It was quite a deal.”
It was a family affair for the Yateses. As J.D. and Dick mastered the team roping event, Kelly Yates (Dick’s daughter) won second in the barrel racing and Dick’s wife, Jan, got to tour the White House.
“It was a nice thing for the whole family,” Yates said. “Kelly got to go and run barrels. She didn’t get a buckle, but she won second. Jan got to tour through the White House with the secretary of commerce’s wife.”
Unlike any other rodeo, this rodeo was packed with strong security around the arena.
“Anybody that went back there to participate at that rodeo had to have a security check,” Yates said. “They had major security for the president and his cabinet. It was pretty interesting.”
What made the win even more special was having the 40th President of the United States present the winning buckles.
“We have a picture in front of the White House with President Ronald Reagan presenting the buckles to us,” Yates said.
Even among all the big wins the entire Yates clan has earned in their careers, this one will always be a special memory.
“There are boxes of those buckles that we’ve won over the years, but that’s one of the most memorable,” Yates said.