What was thought to be no more than a quick visit from an old friend turned out to be a breathtaking surprise for Earl Hall.
“I was in complete shock,” Hall said. “Mark Thompson is a close friend of mine and he called and said, ‘I only need about three minutes of your time but I need to run by and see you [in person].’ I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to it. I thought maybe he will be in the area and that’s when he [came by and] asked, ‘The board at the Clovis Rodeo would like to know if you would accept the position of this year’s Grand Marshal?’ I looked at him, paused and said, ‘I would love to!’”
Leading up to that moment, Thompson and the Clovis Rodeo Association Board of Directors held a meeting where they unanimously made the decision to select Hall as the Grand Marshal for the 104th Clovis Rodeo.
“Earl has always been a huge supporter of Clovis Rodeo and when I say that I am speaking in many aspects,” Thompson said. “He was on the Board of Directors for a number of years, he has supported our advance at the rodeo tremendously, he is a Gold Card roper and has been competing at Clovis Rodeo in the Gold Card for a number of years. He is also a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) roper, so we have his knowledge, wisdom and contribution from that aspect also.”
A former professional rodeo competitor, Hall is known for playing a key role in the local and state economy as one of the largest agricultural employers in the state. Through his Kerman-based labor contracting company, Hall Management, he is licensed to provide farm labor in 29 counties, service to more than 326,000 acres and about 30,000 employees statewide.
Today, Hall remains involved in the local rodeo scene by providing personal assistance in helping youth prepare for rodeo events, through both advice and sponsorship. He is also a lifetime member of PRCA and part of the local chapter for Friends of Rodeo, a group that works with legislators on education of animal welfare as it relates to rodeo.
Each year, the Clovis Rodeo Association announces one Grand Marshal to be recognized for their commitment to the community, and Hall was the right fit.
“The Grand Marshal represents the Clovis Rodeo in one way or another,” said Gary Bower, President of the Clovis Rodeo Association. “It is someone who exemplifies what we believe in and what we do as far as giving back to the community. His values are the exact same as the core values of the Clovis Rodeo Association.”
For Hall, the recognition is “unbelievable.”
“I can’t think of a higher honor from my standpoint,” he said.
Hall will lead the Clovis Rodeo Parade on Saturday, April 28 in the Old Town area. He will make a grand entrance with “Shorty,” the horse he says takes care of him best.
“Clovis is a wonderful town, a great bunch of people that have been so good about helping out others,” Hall said. “During the Clovis Rodeo, everybody comes to town. There is no match for it, it’s just fabulous. Everywhere I go I am a rodeo cowboy. Of course, everybody knows it.”
The Clovis Rodeo will be held April 26-29. Since its centennial in 2014, the event has sold out all four days with 35,000-40,000 guests in attendance.