Stephenville, Texas, a small town located in the heart of Texas, has long been known as the cowboy horse capital of the world. Home to some of the best rodeo athletes and cutting horse trainers, Stephenville has a rich history deeply intertwined with the cowboy lifestyle.
The Early Days
In the early days, the town of Stephenville was founded in 1856 by John M. Stephen, a settler from Virginia. The town was initially named after Stephen, who was a prominent figure in the community and helped establish the town's first church and school. During this time, cowboys would drive cattle through the area on their way to Fort Worth and beyond, making Stephenville a natural stopping point for cowboys and their herds.
The Cowboy Lifestyle
As time went on, the cowboy lifestyle became deeply ingrained in Stephenville's culture. Ranches and horse farms began popping up throughout the area, and the town's economy became heavily reliant on the livestock industry. Today, Stephenville is home to more than 20,000 people, many of whom are cowboys or work in related industries.
One of the most significant events in Stephenville's history was the establishment of the Lone Star Rodeo Company in 1949. The company was founded by legendary cowboy and businessman, Neal Gay. He established the Lone Star Arena, which quickly became one of the most popular rodeo venues in Texas.
The rodeo quickly became a staple of the community, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The Lone Star Arena was also home to many of the most prominent rodeo athletes of the time, including Tuff Hedeman, a three-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champion bull rider, and Ty Murray, a seven-time PRCA all-around world champion.
Cutting Horse Capital
In addition to rodeo, Stephenville is also known for its cutting horses. The town is home to some of the most successful cutting horse trainers in the world, including Phil Rapp and Tarin Rice. Cutting horse competitions are held regularly in Stephenville, and many of the town's residents own cutting horses.
One of the most significant cutting horse competitions held in Stephenville is the Brazos Bash, which attracts competitors from all over the world. The competition is held each September and offers significant prize money for competitors.
Education and Athletics
Stephenville is also home to Tarleton State University, a school with a deep connection to the cowboy lifestyle. The school's mascot is a purple cowboy named Texan Rider, and many of the school's athletic teams have cowboy-themed names, such as the Texans and the TexAnns.
The university is also home to a highly regarded rodeo program, which has produced many successful rodeo athletes over the years. Many of the school's graduates go on to compete professionally in the PRCA and other rodeo organizations.
One of the things that makes Stephenville such a special place is its community spirit. The town is known for its friendly residents, many of whom are deeply connected to the cowboy lifestyle. The community comes together regularly to support local events and causes, and the town's residents take pride in their heritage and traditions.
Stephenville, Texas, truly deserves its title as the Cowboy Horse Capital of the World. The town's rich history and culture of horsemanship have produced countless world-renowned rodeo and cutting champions, as well as skilled trainers and breeders. From its numerous equine facilities and events to its Western-themed shops and restaurants, Stephenville remains a vibrant and thriving hub of cowboy and horse culture. And with a deep commitment to preserving its heritage and supporting its equine industry, Stephenville looks poised to continue leading the way in the world of Western horsemanship for many years to come.