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2015-07-02

A national champion rides away

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Courier archive photo
Scooter Fries, national rodeo champion

When Bandera's Scooter Fries took his final ride on June 25, Bandera lost a home-grown rodeo icon. Fries, a Bandera native, is one of the rodeo stars honored on the national and world Champions Monument on the courthouse lawn. In 1950, Fries won the national champion tie-down roping event at the national high school rodeo finals in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Fries was born on his uncle Bennie Adamietz's U Bar dude ranch and many recalled how the toddler was often seen sitting on the saddle in front of his uncle.
His uncanny roping skills were apparent even in childhood. At the age of three, he began roping from the back of a little cowpony named Sweetheart.
His Uncle Bennie trained him well and the little tyke was roping and catching by the grand old age of five. A skilled professional performer by age eight, Fries gave roping exhibitions not only at Mansfield Park but around South Texas.
He won his first state high school rodeo championship in tie-down roping in 1948. In 1949 he captured the state high school championship in steer wrestling. Then, in 1950, with another win in tie-down roping and in steer wrestling, he advanced to the national championships where he won the national championship buckle in roping. In 1951, he earned the national reserve championship title.
Loving rodeo throughout his life, Fries was co-founder and lifetime member of the Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association, and a Gold Card member of the PRCA. He joined his wife Sheila in sponsoring the team roping event at the 2015 Memorial Day weekend Pro Rodeo at Mansfield Park. Although somewhat changed over the decades, that was the arena where he had practiced daily during his determined search for championships as a young man.
The 2015 pro rodeo was dedicated to Fries and another of Bandera's greats, the late Ray Wharton.
Fries was inducted into the Frontier Times Museum Texas Heroes Hall of Honor in 2011. The museum maintains a permanent exhibit honoring local rodeo champions, including Fries, entitled "Stalls of Fame," where visitors can enjoy pictures, saddles and other gear once used by our champions.
In his trademark blue overalls and white cowboy hat, Fries became a very recognizable Bandera hero.
He has completed his final go round and will not be forgotten.