“It’s a hard way to make an easy living” : Wayne Herman to be Inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
The Cowboy Chronicle; Publication of the NDCHF
The Dickinson Press; The Drill
Dickinson, North Dakota
April 30, 2014
The call came in on April Fool’s Day, but it was no joke. When Wayne Herman called the number back, Kent Sturman director of the National Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame answered the phone and informed Wayne that he was indeed chosen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2014. Herman won the World Bareback Riding gold buckle in 1992. That year was the seventh of his eleven qualifications for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He did this only a year after finishing second, just missing the gold buckle for the NFR average title. Six times Herman finished among the top five bareback riders in the world. Over the course of his pro rodeo career he earned $ 856, 490.
Herman, now fifty years old and a native of Dickinson began his rodeo career as a youth. He entered kid’s rodeos through local saddle clubs. Right around the time he was going to be a freshman in high school Wayne got on his first bareback horse and came in third at the “Kildeer Showdeo”. He went to Golden Valley High School and participated in rodeo all four years. He won many state titles including calf roping, saddle bronc, and the all around. In 1980 he went to the National High School Rodeo and came in third in the nation. In 1982 he once more went to the National High School Rodeo Finals and again placed third in bareback riding.
After high school Wayne continued in amateur rodeos. He got a college scholarship and went to Dickinson State where he studied Agribusiness and continued to rodeo. During his college years, he went to the College National Finals a “couple of times” where again three was his number; coming in third in the nation in 1984.
After college Wayne concentrated on his professional rodeo career. He ran a few cows back home but “once I got going with pro rodeoing that’s primarily what I did.” He got his PRCA card in 1984 and spent 15 years on the pro rodeo circuit. Ironically, the first time he went to the National Finals he came in third in the world. He jokes about it now, “I had kind of a little pattern there for a few years”. There were a lot of discouraging times; “lots of days when I was beat up and broke. It was hard on you; rodeo is not as easy as it might appear. I used to like to tell people, it’s a hard way to make an easy living”.
Wayne has always been willing to give a hand to guys wanting to get started in rodeo. Starting in 1985 and continuing through this past year he has put on rodeo schools. He also spent three years on the Board of Directors for the North Dakota High School Rodeo Board.
In the fall of 1998 Wayne put his pro rodeo years behind him. After an injury at a rodeo in Red Lodge, he decided he wanted to go out in style and retire while he was still riding well. He had many accomplishments to be proud of; in addition to his NFR wins, Wayne won the bareback riding championships at almost every major North American rodeo.
When Wayne first retired he went into a management training program with CHS, (Cenex Harvest States), and after a year he was managing CHS locations in Glendive. These days you will find Wayne running cattle and operating his oil field service company, Herman Trucking. His oldest son Justin works with him full time. Wayne’s youngest son Jake is a sophomore at Black Hills State. While neither of his sons are “rough stock guys”, they all like to team rope together.
Wayne is honored and excited to have been chosen to be inducted in to the PRCA Hall of Fame. “I was a little stunned, I guess, and quite honored to be put into the Hall beside people like Lewis Feild and Ty Murray. It’s quite humbling to even be considered to be in their presence in that Hall.” There is an added poignancy to the news for Wayne and his family; April 1, the day he was notified of his induction is also the birthday of his son John. John passed away the year Wayne won the average at the NFR. “He was four years old when he died, so it was kind of cool I found out about the Hall of Fame on his birthday.”
Wayne and his family are looking forward to the induction ceremonies in early August. This is the 35th anniversary of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Induction week will start off with an anniversary celebration and include a golf tournament and the Cowboy Ball. Induction day is August 9 and will be a special moment for Wayne and his family. All the plans aren’t in place yet, but “quite a few of our family members will be coming down, so it will be pretty exciting; it’s quite an honor”.
These days you will find Herman living in Halliday, North Dakota with his wife of 32 years, Connie. Connie was always steadfast beside him during years of good and bad. He credits her with his success and “keeping his head on straight”. A lifelong dream for Wayne and Connie was to ranch; something that is hard to do when you are gone rodeoing. Now they are busy enjoying life running cattle, operating their business, looking forward to the induction in August and whatever else may be coming their way.
- Phone interview with Wayne Herman April 2014
- Phone interview with Connie Herman April 2014
- The Dickinson Press
- Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame