As you likely know, on December 22, 2020, we lost a legend. Our very own Roger “Sloan” Williams passed away, leaving an indelible mark on this ranch and the rodeo and ranching world at large. In our industry, ranchers are on-call 365 days a year to ensure a herd’s health and safety; calves, heifers and bulls must be tended to through sorrow, storms, and anything else that comes our way.
So, just as Sloan would have wanted it, it’s been work as usual here at V8 Ranch. Recently, one particular item of business came up for discussion – Mr. V8 146/8. A three-time Houston champion, we all agreed that it was time to give 146 a name so he could take his rightful place among the ranks of our most elite prize-winning bulls like The Machine, Man of Steel, Superstroke, and Powerstroke.
A Bull By Any Other Name
Sloan would have been the first to tell you that there is an ever-evolving tradition in how bulls are named. Consider, for instance, the first bull inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, V-61. Yup, that’s right. At one time, he was one of Sloan’s bulls. The story goes like this: Sloan was providing the Billy Minick Rodeo Company with calves for rodeo roping events, and he convinced Minick to buy V-61, explaining, “No one will get on him anymore at our rodeos ‘cause he’s such a hard bucker. I’m hauling him for nothing. Would you like him?” Minick drove to Hungerford to collect V-61, and the rest is history. He started bucking V-61 on the Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit (the PRCA, today), and V-61, known only by his brand, quickly became a famous unrideable bull. In 930 attempts, only four bull riders managed a total of five qualified rides on V-61.
It wasn’t until later years that rodeo bulls started getting stage names instead of numbers. Rodeo announcers noticed that the more memorable names – Wipe Out, The Orange Blossom Special, Tornado, Red Dawn, Red Rock, Bodacious, Bruiser, and Captain Crunch – caught the attention of the crowds. Since then, bulls have been named after songs, movies, weather events, personality traits, and yes, even breakfast cereals.
A Name Known ‘Round the World
At V8 Ranch, our bulls – even one known as George — have never been named after actual people. Sure, we give the little guys nicknames in the show barn, but as adults, they revert to their show numbers. Why is that?
If we were to speculate, we’d say that bulls, unlike people, tend to have more one-dimensional personalities. People, well, they’re more nuanced. Sloan, for example, was a masterful negotiator who loved putting together deals, but he was also a kid-at-heart when it came to one of his greatest weaknesses – ice cream. It took a text from Ms. Myra Neal of Morrison Farm in North Carolina to help us see things differently. “Why don’t you name 146 after Sloan?”, she prompted, “He was The Best of The Best.”
As soon as we saw her text, we knew there could be no other option. As a three-time Houston champion, Mr. V8 146/8 represents the best of V8 Ranch, a legacy we owe to our founding patriarch, Sloan Williams. Roger “Sloan” Williams was indeed The Best of The Best. And for ranchers who knew him across the world from Australia to South America to South Africa to Asia, that singular syllable, “Sloan,” said it all.
Henceforth, our champion bull, 146, will proudly and affectionately be known as “Sloan.” What would his namesake have to say about this? We imagine Daddaw, or Dad, as he’s known around here, breaking into one of his signature grins, and announcing with a twinkle in his eye: “If I was doin’ any better, I couldn’t stand it.” Boy, do we miss him.
Thank you for celebrating The Best of The Best with us,
Mollie, Jim, Jan, Luann, Luke, Catherine, Knox, Joe Dodge, Payton, and the rest of the V8 Ranch Family
P.S. A memorial service remembering the life of Roger “Sloan” Williams will be held at the ranch in late Spring 2021. To be included on the invite list, please email us expressing your interest.