CHRIS LEDOUX TO BE INDUCTED IN TO PRORODEO HALL OF FAME AS PART OF THE ELITE CLASS OF 2005
LEDOUX THE FIRST HONOREE TO BE INDUCTED UNDER TWO CATEGORIES
NASHVILLE, TN – April 22, 2005 - The Ride continues for Chris LeDoux with this most recent honor and recognition by the ProRodeo Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport he dedicated his life to. LeDoux headlines the ProRodeo’s Hall of Fame Class of 2005 being inducted at their annual induction ceremony on July 16 at the Hall of Fame garden area in Colorado Springs, CO.
LeDoux, the 1976 world bareback riding champ and American music legend is the first person to be inducted in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame under two categories – Bareback and Notables (for his contributions to the sport through his music.). LeDoux is joined by five other notables who left their indelible mark on the sport of Pro Rodeo - the 1981 World All-Around Champion Jimmie Cooper of Monument, N.M., 1978 World Saddle Bronc Riding Champion Joe Marvel of Battle Mountain, Nev., late team roper Charles Maggini of Kingsburg, Calif., stock contractor Marvin Brookman of Wolf Point, Mont., and late rodeo clown Slim Pickens of Hollister, Calif.
“This year’s Hall of Fame class includes some of the most accomplished cowboys and figures in the history of ProRodeo,” said PRCA Commissioner Troy Ellerman. “Not only have these inductees excelled in the sport for many years, they have served tirelessly as ambassadors for ProRodeo and the Western lifestyle. They are now where they belong – in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.”
Capitol Records Nashville released to radio this week “The Ride” from his most recent album Horsepower. The appropriately song that encapsulated his life and his dedication to his family, his music and to Rodeo - the sport he lived and breathed.
Born Oct. 2, 1948, in Biloxi, Miss., Ledoux got his start in junior rodeo and at the same time became absorbed in music. He joined the PRCA in 1968 and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo five times. In 1976, he won the bareback riding world title. LeDoux of Kaycee, Wyo., retired from competition in 1984, but continued writing and singing about the rodeo life.
He began recording songs in the early 1970s and went on to national stardom with such songs as A Cowboy Like Me, Too Tough to Die and What More Could a Cowboy Need? His songs captured the romance, the freedom, the dirt and the hurt of rodeo. LeDoux had recorded 22 albums of his own, when Garth Brooks mentioned his name in the 1989 hit song, Too Young to Feel This Damn Old. As a result, LeDoux’s music became more widely known, and he went on to sign with the same label as Brooks, Capitol Records Nashville. He recorded 37 albums during his career, and while at Capitol sold over six million records.
In 2000, he was diagnosed with a liver disease and successfully underwent a liver transplant. Within six months of surgery, he was on tour again – throwing himself right back into the hard-driving full-force stage shows that included riding a mechanical bucking machine.
In 2004, he was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct and began radiation treatment. On March 9, 2005, the singer/songwriter, rodeo champion and acclaimed sculptor lost his battle with cancer at the age of 56 in Casper, Wyo.
Induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame is considered the highest accolade in the sport. While more than 100 nominations are submitted annually, only a small percentage are selected to join this elite group. The members of the Hall of Fame are divided into 14 categories: all-around cowboy; bareback riding; bull riding; contract personnel; lifetime achievement; livestock; media; notables; saddle bronc riding; steer roping; steer wrestling; stock contractors; team roping; and tie-down roping.
Since the Hall’s opening in 1979 and not including the 2005 class, 176 people and 23 animals have been inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Located on a 13-acre site tucked against the foothills the Hall of Fame is easily identifiable from Interstate 25 by the landmark bronze statue of Hall of Fame saddle bronc rider Casey Tibbs on the famous horse Necktie. Nearly 50,000 people annually visit the Hall of Fame.