Famed Texas Cowboy "Tuffy" Turns 100 - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Famed Texas Cowboy "Tuffy" Turns 100

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Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Texas Rodeo Hall of Famer Roy Houston, better known as Tuffy Overturff, achieved another accomplishment few people ever receive. Wednesday was his 100th birthday.

The cowboy in Odessa's claim to fame roped horses. He's been featured in books and magazines and on the century celebration, NewsWest 9 sat down with the fella to hear what the man remembers most.

Upon entering the house he'd built more than 30 years ago in Odessa, NewsWest 9 was greeted with the man clad in a plaid shirt, with a quintessentially big belt buckle around his waist and topped by a black cowboy hat-his daughter made him change out of the white one. Even at 100, he couldn't not be a cowboy.

"Oh, I've always been a cowboy ever since I was big enough to walk," Tuffy said.

Tuffy spent his early childhood in Big Spring where he first toyed with the idea of roping. One of his first jobs was out on Cauble Ranch, where the owner, I.V. Cauble, had a son with polio who was very interested in roping. Tuffy started training the boy and thought he could get into roping calves.

By the time he moved to Odessa in 1934, he was the one roped into his love of horses. He even built a pen in his backyard to ride and train them.

"I just practiced a lot. I'd work all day in the oilfields, come back at night and ride my horses," Tuffy said.

That quickly turned into a living, or better yet, into a room full of old photographs, medals, prizes and memories many of which he doesn't even remember taking.

"You see, I don't remember so good," he explained.

But he does remember how he roped the first calf at the Ector County Coliseum for the rodeo when it opened.

From then, he continued on a series of rodeos, eventually getting inducted into the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame. And it didn't stop there.

At 70, most people are retired, but for Tuffy that's around when he began winning championships in the Old Timers Roping Association both locally and nationally.

Tuffy had won countless money (really- he said there's no way of knowing), buckles, titles and three saddles, the last of which was the last prize he'd ever won and has become his most prized possession. 

"And you were always used to winning?" We asked.  "Sure, I wouldn't do it if I wasn't winning," he said.

Tuffy was also featured in a 1989 issue of TIME Magazine and even turned down an appearance on David Letterman..

"I had already gotten all the advertisement I needed," Tuffy said. 

Then in 1998, he was nominated for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Ageless Heroes Award where he flew out to Chicago and met George Bush Sr.

These are just some of the reasons more than 100 people came out to celebrate his 100th birthday and he's still ticking.

"They still call me because they want me to ride their horses and this that and other," he said.

Doctors say Tuffy is still healthy as a horse. He's living alongside four generations of Overturff's.
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