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Hall of Famer Mildred Farris passes away

Mildred Farris PSN CoverProRodeo Hall of Fame member Mildred Farris passed away May 13, 2013, at her home in Addington, Okla., at the age of 79 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Farris, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2006 alongside her husband, John, won the Texas Barrel Racers Association championship from 1955-57. In 1958, she joined the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA), which later became the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA). She served as a director, vice president and president from 1965-71. Farris qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 12 times, and was a runner-up to the champion three times, posting the fastest time of 16.6 seconds in 1968. She was selected “WPRA Woman of the Year” in 1996.

Farris served as secretary of the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo 17 times, and also as rodeo secretary for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo for 30 years. She was a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo secretary, a five-time Wrangler NFR assistant secretary and a 15-time Wrangler NFR timer. 

She served as secretary of the Women’s National Finals Rodeo seven times and was named PRCA Secretary of the Year nine times, and twice by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Farris also served on the PRCA Contract Personnel Executive Council from 1988-2002, and was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas, in October 2012. 

For 17 years, Farris carried the American flag at the opening of the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. She was elected to the Sul Ross Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2010, she and John were inducted into the Rodeo Historical Society Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Farris, the daughter of W.B. and Blanche Cotton, was born Aug. 8, 1933, in Andrews, Texas. She graduated from Andrews High School in 1951 and obtained a degree in Physical Education from Sul Ross State College in Alpine, Texas, in 1955, where she also participated on the Sul Ross State Rodeo Team. On May 31, 1955, Mildred married fellow rodeo contestant John Farris, and the two eventually made their home on the Farris family’s ranch outside of Addington, Okla.

Farris is preceded in death by her parents and sisters, Dorothy Daugherty and LaVida Faye Simpson, and one brother, Ralph Arnold Cotten. 

Survivors include her husband of almost 58 years, John Farris; two sons, Bill Farris and wife Sally of Nobel, Okla., and Johnny Farris and wife Jan of Addington, Okla. Farris is also survived by siblings Helen Morris, twin brother Melvin Cotten, brother Gayle Cotten and sister Barbara Finney. She has four grandchildren, Chelsea Dorward, Dell Farris, Matthew Farris and Ben Farris, along with numerous nieces and nephews. 

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the Rodeo Historical Society Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City; and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.

A funeral service for Farris is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the First Baptist Church of Waurika, Okla., with Dr. Stacy Conner and Mike Mathis officiating. Burial will follow at Waurika Cemetery under the direction of Dudley Funeral Home. Visitation will be held at the Dudley Funeral Home Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday evening.

 
 
 
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