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“Eyewitness News” - Goat Tying in Burleson, Texas (1975)

Jim Ruddy

Sound | 1975

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  •  Former intercollegiate goat tying champion Vicki Higgins Emerson describes the goat tying process 
  •  Emerson talks about the importance of switching out the goats in order to give the animals a break from being tied-up 
  •  One girl practices tying techniques on her boot, while another rides down to tie-up a goat 
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In this segment, taped for KDFW’s “Eyewitness News” in 1975, Dallas-based reporter Jim Ruddy covers goat tying training in Burleson, Texas. Included in the footage is an interview with trainer Vicki Higgins Emerson, a former intercollegiate goat tying champion, as well as footage of the girls that Emerson trained as they tie-up goats in preparation for rodeo competition.
Born just north of Lampasas, Texas in the small ranching community of Adamsville, Vicki Higgins Emerson began her illustrious rodeo career at the age of seven on a ranch owned and operated by her parents, Burnell Higgins Hamilton and the late L.D. Higgins.  There, watching the ranch hands and helping out with chores, Emerson learned to ride horses and rope livestock--skills that would prove useful when she entered junior rodeo competitions that took her throughout the state of Texas.  

In 1967, Emerson took those skills to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, where she competed on a rodeo team that helped to establish Tarleton as a rodeo mecca.  In addition to helping that team win three consecutive national championships, Emerson won numerous individual awards and competitions.  During her first year at Tarleton, for example, she won the All-Around Intramural Rodeo, and, at the 1971 college finals, she won overall in goat tying.  

Following her college career, Emerson taught at a rodeo school in Burleson, Texas from 1971-1974 before moving back to Lampasas to teach until 2003.  A member of the Cowboy Walk of Fame in Stephenville, Emerson was among the first Tarleton alumni inducted into Tarleton State University Rodeo Hall of Fame in November 2012.