Update for January 22, 2015

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Rodeo cowboy gets his wings

By Diane Cosgrove
Anvil Herald Staff

Larger than life, yet at the same time your humble next-door neighbor, Robert Mike “Buddy” Groff left this world and went on to his reward this week.

Although born in Quihi, he credited his time in Bandera with his rodeo formation, learning then refining what it took to catapult him to national fame in the rodeo world.

A Reserve World Championship Calf Roper in 1954 and again in 1956, he was perhaps best known in rodeoing for recording his incredible time wrestling a steer in 3.0 seconds flat at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Temple, the Oregon Rodeo Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City all saw fit to include Groff among their renowned wranglers.

“He started roping when he was 14… with the likes of Ray Wharton, Scooter Fries and Toots Mansfield, developing skills that took him to the top of the leader board as a rodeo superstar in tie-down roping and steer wrestling,” said the announcer who introduced him in 2012 as he was inducted into Bandera’s Texas Heroes Hall of Honor. “Ray Wharton was his hazing partner. Rodeo took him from one end of the country to the other, always at the top of the game.”In spite of the fame he earned, in Hondo, he was just Buddy – a quietly humble, soft-spoken icon who was friendly to everyone. Tall and reed-thin, he could have been the Hollywood model for a long, tall Texan.

For years, folks watched him gliding across the dance floor at the Quihi Gun Club with the love of his life, Bonnie, in his arms or playing cards, many times with Bonnie as his partner, with nary a cross word passing between them in public. Their gracefulness as a couple – their love for each other and their mutual respect – was always something to admire.

Many folks in the community will miss this warm gentleman’s sincere smile, his exuberant laugh and his frequent hugs.


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