Arnold Felts was just the second man in history to qualify for the National Finals Steer Roping 20 times and broke through to win the world championship in 1981, beating fellow ProRodeo Hall of Famer Guy Allen by nearly $5,000 to capture the gold buckle.
Felts won that 1981 world championship riding his big black gelding John Henry, closing out the season by winning Round 4 outright and splitting the win in Round 1 on the way to finishing second in the average at the NFSR in Laramie, Wyo.
Felts’ NFSR qualifications spanned three decades (1978-84, 1986-90, 1992-99), and his 20 appearances are third all-time, behind only the legendary Allen (32 appearances, 18 world titles) and Rocky Patterson.
Felts was the steer roping reserve world champion in 1980 and 1993, losing both times to Allen. Felts finished in the top five in the steer roping world standings 10 times.
Felts set the record for most consecutive rounds won at a National Finals (six) by capturing rounds 3-8 of the 1993 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Additionally, Felts was the NFSR average champion in 1992 and 1994-95.
Felts also qualified for the NFR in 1973-74 and 1976 as a team roping header. He finished fifth in the team roping world standings in 1976.
World Championships: 1 (steer roping, 1981)
Born May 21, 1947 in Paducah, Texas