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Collected wisdom: Roy Duvall talks about bulldogging and turning his life around

by Ed Godfrey Published: October 6, 2012
/articleid/3716663/1/pictures/1851568">Photo - Roy Duvall of Checotah won three Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association world titles in steer wrestling. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman Archives
Roy Duvall of Checotah won three Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association world titles in steer wrestling. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman Archives

Our mother, she died about three years ago, she took her check many a time and gave me and Bill money to go enter a rodeo. She helped us a lot.

I wound up in 1962 second for the year. Then, I came back in 1963 and I won the steer wrestling in the IRA. Then, I came back in 1964 and won it again.

I got a PRCA card in 1965. I was working at that feed mill in Muskogee and I quit and started rodeoing (full-time).

There ain't no bulldogger that ever lived that had more try than I did. I was raised up pretty tough, and when I got to winning that money, I got that spark to really try hard. I put everything I had in it.

Every chance I got, I was in that practice pen. I wanted to be good, and I wanted to win. The main thing was to win the money.

You can't rodeo unless you win consistently because it costs so much to go. I liked that rodeoing and not having to work everyday and haul hay and stuff.

Back then, everybody in the rodeo business drank. Well, I got started drinking and went through about an 11-year period that I got pretty bad.

One year I won the championship, I don't know if it was '69 or '72, on my last steer I was messed up so bad drinking I could hardly see the steer. I made a lot of money, but I threw a lot of money away gambling and drinking.

I got saved 28 years ago in Cheyenne, Wyo., and have been going to church ever since. I try to tell all these young cowboys that they sure need to get saved and live right. I tell them my story.

What I am proud of the most is that I got saved and became a Christian. That is the best thing a guy can do, is to be right with the Lord.

You won't be hanging out in bars. You won't be fighting. You won't be drinking. People will like you better. If you get drunk, people don't really want to be around you. Since I quit drinking, I can tell that because I don't want to be around a drunk.

I had the biggest jackpot in the world right here in Checotah for 29 years. They would come from Canada and everywhere, a three-day deal. I had a lot of sponsors that gave stuff away. It was the biggest bulldogging in the world.

The last one I had (five years ago), I told them you'll better watch this, because it will be the last steer I ever run. I gritted my teeth and ran it in 5.0 flat and split the go round. I haven't run a steer since.

You know that makes you feel good if you are right at 65 years old and you can still throw them steers and win.

I still love rodeos. I go with my grandson and I take him to the junior rodeos. He is making a good little cowboy.

I don't have any regrets. I messed up a few times, but that's just a part of life. I am just proud that I saw the light and done things differently in my older years.

I trade a few cattle and buy a few cattle. A guy has to do something to make a living. My life has always been around livestock. I haze for my grandson. Me and him keep horses trained for him. I still ride.

I wouldn't go nowhere else and live. I love it right here.

by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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