Rodeo clown Chuck Henson of Tucson, Ariz. and barrel racer Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz. will be honored for their outstanding achievements by the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame. Henson and Cervi join the late Ed Echols, champion calf roper in 1912, as the Hall’s celebrated rodeo athletes from Pima County, Ariz. The induction ceremony is scheduled for September 20, 2003 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Henson, already an inductee of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame (1995), is a third-generation cowboy who learned bronc riding from his mother and aunt, Marge and Alice Greenough. His rodeo bloodline also includes nephew Deb Greenough, the 1993 World Champion Bareback Rider. Henson’s daughters are also accomplished barrel racers and ropers.
Henson developed his skills as a member of the University of Arizona rodeo team in 1950. When he retired from competition, he turned to bullfighting, and making people laugh. Henson has entertained generations of fans at Tucson’s annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros.
Tucson Rodeo general manager Gary Williams coaxed Henson out of retirement to perform for the event’s 75th anniversary in 2000. "Chuck is by far the funniest human being I know," said Williams. "He was a fan favorite at the Tucson Rodeo for over 20 years, and there was no way we could celebrate a landmark without him," added Williams.
Sherry Potter Cervi grew up in Marana, Ariz., just 30 minutes from the Tucson Rodeo Grounds.
Cervi’s parents, Wendy and Mel Potter, were both accomplished rodeo athletes and passed along their horsemanship skills to Sherry at an early age. Cervi holds two barrel racing World Championships (1995, 1999) and continues to challenge the field every year looking for her third. She has over $1 million in career earnings, and currently sits in 16th place in the Jack Daniels World Standings.
Pima County Sports Hall of Fame director Carl Lopez said he has never encountered an inductee with Cervi’s enthusiasm. "Sherry even flew in just for the August 3 press conference in Tucson from Jackson County, Iowa where she was competing. Then, she overwhelmed us when she donated a World Champion saddle and buckle for our exhibit."
Cervi and her father Mel Potter host the annual Mike Cervi, Jr. Memorial Team Roping, held in conjunction with the Tucson Rodeo. The team roping is February 23, 2004 at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. For more information, call (800) 964-5662, or visit www.tucsonrodeo.com.
The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame is located in downtown Tucson at 110 S. Church Ave. For more information, call (520) 296-3788.