BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) A legendary and Hall of Fame Texoma professional cowboy has died and rodeo groups and professionals are paying tribute to his life and career.
Vernon “Dude” Smith of Burkburnett died at age 91, June 2.
Smith was believed to be one of only two surviving members of the Turtle Association, the first professional cowboys association formed in 1936, and forerunner of the PRCA.
Unlike many modern professional cowboys who specialize in one event Smith often competed in every event, but his favorites were bareback riding, steer wrestling and bull riding.
He competed across the country and world from the 40s to the 60s and had his last ride out of the shute in 1973.
He was inducted into both the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Fame.
His wife Frances died in 2013 and she was also in the Hall of Fame and won the very first National Finals Rodeo barrel racing title in 1967.
His funeral service will be at 10 Saturday morning at Central Baptist Church in Burkburnett.