Two Sul Ross State University rodeo team legends were recently inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Associated with the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the inductees are chosen by popular vote of the Rodeo Historical Society membership.
Tuff Hedeman and Cody Lambert were members of the last national championship teams for the Lobos in 1982 and 1983, and both have dedicated their lives to rodeo.
El Paso-born Hedeman began bull riding, team roping, and winning All-Around titles in 1980 and 1981 while still in high school. He was on the Sul Ross National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championship team in 1982, and competed in team roping, steer wrestling, and bull and bronc riding.
Competing professionally from 1983-1998 in bull riding, he qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 11 times, and was World Champion bull rider in 1986, 1989, and 1991. Hedeman was co-founder of the Professional Bull Riders, and served as its president from 1991-2004, along with serving as president of Championship Bull Riding from 2005-2011. Inducted into too many halls of fame to list, Hedeman is back at Sul Ross, helping coach its rodeo team. He lives in Morgan Mill.
New Mexico-born and now living in Bowie, Lambert received the Hall of Fame honor for All-Around Cowboy. A saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping, and team roping cowboy, he began in the American Junior Rodeo Association, then attended Sul Ross where he won the Men’s All-Around at the 1982 NIRA finals. He qualified for National Rodeo Finals 10 times, and went to the PBR finals in 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Lambert received the PBR Ring of Honor, and has been the director of livestock for PBR since 1997. He’s also credited with designing the first protective rodeo vest now worn by many cowboys.
About his latest honor, Lambert told the Avalanche, “It’s exciting and humbling to be part of it, and the class I’m being inducted with is a big deal to me since I have a connection with every person in there.”
Lambert credited his years at Sul Ross as a major factor in his success and his most recent honor.
Hedeman and Lambert are back at Sul Ross, mentoring several team members to help continue the rodeo program’s success, including bull riding world champion contender Ky Hamilton who trains with Lambert in Bowie when he’s not in school.