courtesy of Don Reichert Additional honorees at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni, Inc. (NIRAA) Reunion held in June were Brad Gjermundson, Dean Wang, Jesse […]
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Meet the Member Cowboy Legend, Jack Roddy
story by Sage Massey
Born on October 3rd, 1937, in the heart of San Francisco, Jack Roddy grew up riding and roping with his father. He won his first belt buckle when he was just eight years old. No one was surprised when Roddy chose to go down the rodeo trail.
Roddy graduated from Cal Poly in 1959 with a degree in animal husbandry and multiple National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association titles. He was one of the few cowboys who competed in all seven men’s events. At the Pendleton College Rodeo, he won five events: bareback, saddle bronc, bulling riding, ribbon roping, steer wrestling, and second in the tie-down roping. To this day nobody has come close to this record-breaking rodeo weekend set forth in 1959.
As if he couldn’t become better known in the rodeo world, Roddy captured the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) all-around title and steer wrestling championship in 1959. This was just the beginning of his successful rodeo career. At the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 1966, Roddy claimed his first Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) world title in steer wrestling while also setting a new record for total year-end earnings won in a single event. He returned to the NFR in 1968 to claim a second steer wrestling world title.
Roddy’s rodeo career stretched much farther than just world titles. He went on to serve on the PRCA board of directors for 16 years. In 1979, he was officially inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame; in 1999, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. And in 2016, he received the prestigious Ben Johnson Award. He continues to be recognized for his diversity of skill in the arena.
Roddy’s love and passion for rodeo extends beyond his own competitive career. He continually supports the sport of rodeo, western heritage and Cal Poly. “Everything I’ve gotten to this day I can attribute to the rodeo business—not just in the arena but also to the people I’ve met and the doors that have opened.”
In 2000, the Cal Poly rodeo program almost shut down due to lack of funding. An alumnus and proud supporter of the rodeo team he once competed for, Roddy teamed up with several other Cal Poly alumni to put on an enormous fundraising event at the Roddy Ranch. They raised more than $150,000. These funds not only kept the rodeo program on its feet but jump started the program’s exponential growth and improvements for the next two decades.
Today, Roddy continues to support the western heritage, the Cal Poly Rodeo team, future rodeo starts, scholarship programs and, of course, the rodeo world. He once said in a Cal Poly report in 1969, “You can’t get anywhere, even in rodeo, unless you have a college education. College taught me to think, and this gives me an advantage in rodeo competition.” It is Cal Poly alumni like Roddy who prove this to be true each and every day.
The entire Cal Poly Rodeo team is proud to have roots leading back to rodeo legends and inspirations such as world champion and Cal Poly alumnus Jack Roddy. The rodeo team would not be here without his continued support and guidance.
In 2019, Jack was honored at the NIRA Alumni, Inc. Reunion in Casper, Wyoming along with numerous 1959 NIRA Champions.