Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Clabaugh inducted into HOF

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On March 28, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame (HOF)  announced their class of 2023 inductees, and Wyoming native Kenny Clabaugh was among the legendary cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo associations and four-legged athletes to receive the prestigious honor.

Clabaugh was born and raised in Arvada, and to this day, he still resides and ranches on the same ground as the two generations who came before him. After high school, he attended Casper College, where he got his start as a rodeo pickup man. 

Career highlights

In an April 13 Western Ag Reporter article written by Kaytlin Hokanson, Clabaugh notes he started his career picking up at night rodeos in Jackson and along the amateur circuit in Utah, Idaho and Montana.

He then became a familiar face at the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) Finals, where he worked as a pickup man 20 different times, and in 1983, he received honors as the NHSRA Man of the Year. 

During this same year, Clabaugh went pro, and he was selected as one of the pickup men for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) held in Oklahoma City. He was again selected to attend the NFR as a pickup man in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991 and 1994 and as an alternate in 1992.

Throughout his career, Clabaugh also picked up at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Finals six times, the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) two times, the National Dodge Circuit Finals, the National Old Timers Rodeo Association Finals and the North American Rodeo Commission Finals. 

The Western Ag Reporter article notes 1986 was the busiest year of his time on the road, as he picked up at the NFR, NHSRA Finals, NIRA Finals, INFR and the Old Timers Finals on top of regular season rodeos including the Cody Stampede, the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS), the Ellensburg Rodeo and the Pendleton Roundup, among many others.

The 2001 BHSS Rodeo marked the end of Clabaugh’s career, where he picked up one last time before retiring, a decision he made following a horse accident at a rodeo.

Through all of his travels, Clabaugh tells Western Ag Reporter there wasn’t any one thing that stood out. 

“I was there to do a job and take care of the rodeo athletes, both the men and horses, which was always my focus,” he says.

Induction ceremony 

Clabaugh will join 10 other inductees for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s 44th induction ceremony on July 15 in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

Among those sharing the honor are two-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Cody Wright of Milford, Utah; World Champion Team Roper Doyle Gellerman of Oakdale, Calif.; five-time PRCA World Champion Steer Wrester Luke Branquinho of Los Alamos, Calif.; Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Combs Johnson of Addington, Okla.; Rodeo Announcer Butch Knowles of Heppner, Ore.; NFR Barrelman Tom Feller of Fort Worth, Texas and WPRA Notable Fay Ann Horton Leach of Kilgore, Texas.

The St. Paul Rodeo Committee of St. Paul, Ore.; Cowtown Rodeo of Pilesgrove, N.J. and Pickett Pro Rodeo’s standout bareback horse Night Jacket of Fairfield, Texas will also be inducted into the hall of fame.

“This means everything to me. I’m really in shock,” Clabaugh tells PRCA staff upon learning of his induction. “It isn’t even something I thought would be possible when I was picking up at rodeos. It was quite a life and an enjoyable life, that’s for sure.”

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

Back to top