During the Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association (LRCA) finals in Bastrop last November, Heflin resident Buddy Wilson and seven others were inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame.
Wilson, a retired welder, was one of the first three LRCA members when it was founded in 1963.
"I might have been the first one that joined," Wilson said. "I was down there roping the night the cards came in, I don't know for sure but I was in the top bunch."
The grandson of a horse trader, Wilson spent his life around horses.
"Grand-daddy was a horse trader and mule trader and of course he farmed too," he said. "Everything he ever did was with horses and mules. Then he'd get a good horse or mule that somebody else wanted and he'd trade it and make a little money and do it again."
Rodeos drew Wilson's interest as a young adult, ultimately leading to his connection with LRCA's first president.
"I fooled with the rodeo over there in Ringgold ever since I was 19 years old," Wilson said. "Then Buster Carlisle came to Castor, and he talked me into starting calf roping ...and that's where I went from there."
In individual roping, the rider must rope a calf from the horse, dismount, flip the calf on its back and tie its feet. In teams, the "header" ropes the head, the "heeler" ropes the feet and then the two must face the calf in a specific direction. Both events are timed.
While some riders went pro, Wilson was content to stay an amateur because it afforded him more opportunities to ride.
"I can ride in the open and the amateur classes," he said. "I liked that because I got to rope twice."
Wilson even tried his hand at judging in some competitions.
"I judged a little bit," he said. "But I didn't like to judge because I liked everybody to win."
Even though he is a roper at heart, Wilson actually won his highest competitive honor taking the third spot in the world in amateur reining. He won the ranking through accumulated points gained in multiple competitions on top of his favorite horse Mary Blob.
"You go to horse shows in different places, Shreveport, Jackson Mississippi and all," Wilson said. "You got points at each one of them and then they kept up with the points."
Reining requires the rider to lead their horse through a precise routine of circles spins and stops. The rider and horse are then judged how precisely and easily they complete the routine.
He retired from individual competition 15 years ago, but Wilson still stays active in the sport.
"I still rope at these ropings and all," he said. "I do just strictly team roping, but I still rope at some of those."
Other competitive highlights for Wilson include: Top Ten Amateur Reining Horse for the year; 12 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) all-around open horse awards; four all-around amateur horse awards; two Open Register of Merits; two Amateur Register of Merits and one AQHA Champion Horse Award.
Wilson received numerous other honors as well: an Honorary Appreciation Award for the National High School Rodeo Association for his work with students of the Shreveport-Bossier High School Rodeo Club and Outstanding Recognition and Appreciation for Outstanding Support and Service to the Bienville Parish 4-H Horse Program.