From staff reports
Mineral Wells resident Michael “Smurf” Horton was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame at the Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District on April 20. Every April, TRCHF honors champion cowboys who are dedicated to the sport of rodeo and represent the unmistakable unique Texas contribution to the sport!
“Smurf” began his career as a young bull rider growing up in central and southern Florida. He obtained his PRCA permit on his 18th birthday and within a month was a PRCA cardholder. Riding bulls didn’t always pay the bills, so “Smurf” was lured into clowning and bullfighting, where a check was always waiting.
Two years after receiving his contestant card, “Smurf” received his clown and bullfighter card. His friend, Lynn Barlow, introduced him to Bob Barnes in 1982 and this became the first opportunity, outside of Florida, for “Smurf” to showcase his talents. Two years later Mack Altizer gave him a chance to work for Bad Company Rodeo at the George West, Texas, PRCA Rodeo. After a one-year hiatus due to a knee injury, “Smurf” returned to Texas and Bad Company, never to look back. The exposure gained while working for Bad Company Rodeo later landed him a position on the Wrangler Bullfighting Tour.
“Smurf” made it count, winning the 1987 Wrangler World Champion, and the 1987 Cheyenne Frontier Days Champion, his first year on the tour.
“Smurf” has enjoyed working some of the greatest rodeos and bull ridings ever, like the Calgary Stampede, Ft. Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, San Angelo, El Paso, Albuquerque, George Paul Memorial Bull Riding, Texas Circuit Finals, National Finals Rodeo 1987 & 1988.
“Smurf,” who still clowns today, has two daughters, Mariah, 15, and Makiah, 11. They are both currently involved in the Texas High School Rodeo Association and the Texas Junior High School Rodeo Association, respectively.
The Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame was founded in 1975.