Three legends one ceremony
GABRIELLE ARSIAGA NEWS-SUN
All of the Lea County Sports Hall of Fame inductees have one thing in common — the impact they made not only in the community, but on the youth.
Bob Jackson, Guy Allen and Adrianne Ross were honored as they sat among family, friends, and admirers at Thursday night’s dinner at the Lea County Museum in Lovington.
Though from different sports backgrounds, they all made huge impacts in the community.
Rodeo cowboy Guy Allen was introduced by two individuals, David Campbell and Kenyon Burns.
Campbell told of why Allen is so iconic in the sport of Rodeo.
“When you talk about Guy Allen you are honestly talking about one of the most iconic names in the sport of Rodeo. Not just in Lea County but all across this country,” Campbell said. “Guy Allen is nicknamed ‘The Legend.’ Let me tell you a quick story…”
Campbell went on to tell of a trip he made to Las Vegas, Nev. and how while he was there, met a couple who knew of Allen.
“I followed him since he started winning all of those world championships,” the man told Campbell. “He won eleven straight PRCA world championships.”
“I didn’t know, at that time, that he did,” Campbell said.
From 1991-2001 Allen won the PRCA World Championship 11 straight times, finishing his career with 18 PRCA World Championship titles.
He won the world title in 1977, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1989, 1991-2001, 2003 and 2004. He also won five NFR average titles, set the world record for the fastest steer roping time of 7.9 seconds, and won 48 NFSR go rounds.
Thursday night’s induction will be Allen’s tenth induction into a hall of fame. Allen was inducted into his first Pro Rodeo hall of fame in 1996 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Burns spoke highly of Allen, noting Allen even helped him to win a title.
“His knowledge of the event is immeasurable,” Burns spoke of Allen’s knowledge of steer roping. “One morning in Nebraska I missed my first steer. Things had not been going good, I wasn’t winning, I was ready to pack up and head back to Lovington, New Mexico. I’m at my trailer and I’m throwing a huge fit about the whole thing. I’m slinging ropes and letting out a few dirty words. In the midst of this fit I look over and he’s sitting next to me on his trailer or maybe his tailgate and says in his typical ‘Ledg” fashion, ‘Well when you’re done throwing your fit I’ll show you how not to do that again.’ We rope the dummy for a while and then I get back to competition. I tie my next steer at 9.5, I win the round and go on to qualify for my second national title. In fact, I started winning again from then on and had a pretty decent year. You taught me the shake and I use it to this day.”
Burns stated what stands out the most about Allen is his humility given his superior status.
“I saw a level of humility that you just don’t see very often,” Burns said of Allen. “To see that level of humility along with kindness and willingness to help anybody. His willingness to help out and be so humble really amazed me. It’s not always like that in the rodeo world.”
Some would say Allen’s humility comes from the way Allen grew up. Allen told a story of how as he was growing up his family did not have much, often having to use a flashlight as the trailer light.
Though Allen had a rough beginning, his journey is what molded him into the man he is today.
Bob Jackson was introduced by his son Gregory Jackson.
Greg, as he is known by most, told of his father’s greatness and ability to take on the role as a father figure to those who did not have one growing up.
“My dad is a great coach, a great athlete and a great man,” Greg said in tears. “He told me something when I was young and I don’t know if he remembers it, but I never forgot it. I had questioned something he had said or done and I’d ask him why he said that or why that he did it. He said ‘Greg, I may be the only positive figure these guys see in a day. So yes, I’m hard on them, yes, I push them. But I also love them because if I don’t there’s a very real chance that nobody will.’”
Greg continued with another example.
“Former Athlete Ahmaad White summed it up like this. ‘He was a father when I didn’t have one. He was a mentor when I didn’t even know what a mentor was. I hope I’ve made him as proud as he has made me. I’m so thankful and blessed that Bob Jackson is my dad and my role model. Dad, I love you and I’m so proud of you.’”
Jackson is an athlete and coach through and through.
He has run 16 marathons over five decades and finished them all in less than three hours.
Jackson won the 1981 Palo Duro Marathon. In 1989 he was third overall in the Dallas White Rock Marathon. In 1991 he placed third in the Duke City Marathon and 15th in the Las Vegas International Marathon. A year later he finished the Las Vegas International Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 20.05 minutes, ranking as 15th in the United States. He won the 1999 Med Com Marathon in San Antonio. Jackson competed in the 2005 and 2006 Boston Marathons, and he won the inaugural TX/NM Challenge Marathon — setting a record with his finish.
He has coached cross country and track teams across the state, at both the high school and college levels.
Jackson has coached the Eagles, the Panthers, and the Wildcats during his time in Lea County. He also coached the Thunderbirds at New Mexico Junior College, starting the women’s team in 2000.
Beginning his coaching career in Jal in 1984 and coaching there through 1991 Jackson coached the Panthers to the 1990 and 1991 boy’s state track and field championship.
Jackson left Lea County for two years to coach Laguna/Acoma High School, but was soon called home to Lea County as a coach and teacher at Hobbs High School from 1993-2000.
During his time in Hobbs, he guided the Lady Eagles to a third place finish at the state cross country meet in 1998 and was named Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2000. Jackson was also influential in helping the Hobbs girls win the 1997 state track and field title.
Jackson left Hobbs for a short time and moved on to NMJC, but returned to HHS 2004 where he remained until 2018. He coached the Eagles to back-to-back state championships in 2015 and 2016. Those titles ended a 50-year title drought for Hobbs in cross country. Jackson also coached an individual state champion for both seasons.
Jackson’s accomplishments don’t end there.
He was named boys Cross Country Coach of the year in 2013 and 2016. In 2017 he was a National Finalist for Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Jackson tried to retire following the 2018 season but was called back to coaching, this time in Lovington. Since taking over in Lovington, the boys have won the last two district championships and won third at state in the 2021 season.
Adrianne Ross was introduced by Chief Bridgeforth who is a previous Lovington Jr. High and High School basketball coach.
She is not only known for her athletic ability but her ability to draw people in.
“Your greatest thing in my opinion, is that you have a unique ability to make people around you better,” Bridgeforth said. “I don’t just mean basketball. That’s very uncommon that someone grazes the level of people around them and you do it with how you carry yourself, you do it with your work ethic, your reputation. I’ve seen it happen. People don’t want to let you down. They want to match your effort. When you can raise the level of everyone else’s play, to me that’s the concept of a team player.”
Ross didn’t just bring family and friends with her to the ceremony. She also brought the youth she coaches and had them stand with her as she gave her acceptance speech.
“I’d like to take this moment to share with the Zias (the youth team Ross coaches),” Ross said. “This is a dream for me to be here on this stage and to share it with y’all it goes to show that it is much bigger than me. When I started working with y’all I connected to a part of myself when I was a young girl. It made me want to give them things that I wasn’t able to give myself. I couldn’t afford to go to camps. I didn’t have me growing up. I didn’t have a lot of people that understood the struggles. Y’all gave me purpose, vision and everything I wasn’t able to give myself as a young girl.”
Ross’ athletic accomplishments speak for themselves.
She helped lead the Lady Eagle’s basketball team to its first state championship title in 2003 and after graduating, she went on to play at TCU. During her time at TCU, Ross set several records and was inducted into the TCU Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ross held the records for steals (339), games played
(135), and field-goal attempts (1,562). She is second in field goals made (627) and third in assists (387) and games started (110). And, she is one of just three players in TCU history to start 100 career games. She scored 499 points as a senior — the fifth most in a single season in TCU history.
She briefly played in the WNBA in 2008 with the San Antonio Silver Stars before taking her game internationally for 10 years. She played in Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. Ross finished her time in the European Leaguewith 1,853 points, 514 rebounds, 375 assists, 310 steal in 147 games. She averaged 12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.10 steals per game.
Gabrielle Arsiaga may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
See more local news at https://www.hobbsnews.com
More on the Lea County Museum and Lea County Sports Hall of Fame at http://leacountymuseum.org