“Rodeo is like any other sport – when you’re young you need a lot of practice.”
Sonny Worrell was born in Neodesha, Kansas to Carl and Helen Worrell on August 24, 1936. He lived with his family on the Pratt Ranch southwest of New Albany, Kansas until he was nine when the family moved into town. Sonny’s rodeo career began at the age of 11 when he won third place in calf roping at a rodeo in Erie, Kansas riding a horse he raised. When he was 15 he won calf roping at Mound City. He began his professional career while attending Oklahoma State University. Here he met the daughter of legendary steer roper Everett Shaw, Mary Sue Shaw of Stonewall, OK, and in 1957 the couple was married in Stillwater. He competed in calf roping and bulldogging, and later in steer roping, and was on his NIRA card until he got his PRCA card in 1960 when he was runner-up for Rookie of the Year. He was the first Kansan to qualify for the National Finals. In 1970, a leg injury at the Houston Astrodome ended his calf roping and bulldogging, but he continued in steer roping. Sonny won money 23 times out the 28 times he entered the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. He placed or won in numerous rodeos throughout America. Worrell won money in Kansas at rodeos in Dodge City, Phillipsburg, Coffeyville, Hayes and Strong City. His career spanned well over 20 years and he competed in 16 National Finals Rodeos. Worrell was inducted in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame Class of 2006 and has been a member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame since 1994. The Worrell’s have three children, Neil, Beverly and Kelly and two grandchildren who are rodeo contestants, Cacee Sue and Colby.
Year inducted: 2010