(Cushing, Okla.) From Roman-style riding on Brahma bulls to Indian dancing horses, Leon and Vicki Adams have amazed people all over the world! Their acts have been nominated 20 times in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and have won the honor of Specialty Act of the Year four times. In July, 2008 Leon and Vicki were both inducted into the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
“There was an Indian maiden who had a dream…”
Born and raised in Toppenish, Washington, Vicki Herrera Adams grew up on the Yakama Indian Reservation. “My Indian blood is very mixed,” Vicki said – Yakam, Snohomish, Puyllap, Cowlitz, Cayuse and Umatilla – all tribes of the northwest region of the U.S. Proud of her Native American heritage, Vicki says her given Indian name is “Le Yi Ah” which means “woman who sews fast”. As a youngster, she was the Champion Barrel Racer in the NWIRA (Northwest Indian Rodeo Association) for several years. Besides barrel racing, Vicki was a trick rider, trained by the famous and daring Dick and Connie Griffith. She performed trick riding with some of the greatest trick performers of all times and at some of the biggest rodeos in the PRCA. After accomplishing many goals as a barrel racer, trick rider and being an alternate Miss Indian America, she decided to expand her entertaining career. At age 18, she met Leon Adams at a PRCA contract acts convention and moved to Oklahoma to learn to Roman ride. Six months later they married and embarked upon a lifelong journey of professional rodeo entertainment.
And that journey has been an exciting one. Along with their trick riding, Vicki and Leon have trained high schooled dressage horses that have amazed people all over the world with their high march steps and arena spanning hind leg walks. Their trained horses have been in special events like movies, Wild West shows and horse shows such as the World Cup in Las Vegas.
Their list of accomplishments is not only extensive, but very impressive. Here are just some of those accomplishments:
1982 – Leon won the first Specialty Act of the Year Award
1984 – Vicki won the Specialty Act of the Year Award
1991 through 2002 and 2004 – Vicki has presented the American Flag at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo while riding her trained horses: Silverado, Cherokee Smoke, Butterfly, Rudy and Indian Two and Indian Three (Skipper)
1997 and 1999 – Leon performed Geronimo and Apache, his famous Roman Riding Brahmas at the Wrangler Nation Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
1998 – Vicki’s, Silverado, received Versatility award at the AQHA Champion Show. He was also featured on the cover of America’s Horse magazine.
Vicki has performed her famous dancing horses at the 1985-1992-1993-1995-1997-1999 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
2001 – Cherokee Smoke made a movie known as Horse Crazy and was nominated for Specialty Act of the Year. This horse is now being used by their grandson in Barrels, Poles, Goat tying, Breakaway Calf roping. Cherokee is the horse that took Zayne Allen Goode, (grandson of Vicki and Leon) to the All-Around Pee Wee Champion Cowboy 2008, 2009 in the Oklahoma Jr. Rodeo Association.
In 2004 Leon was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City
In 2005 Vicki was the first Native American woman to be inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame.
Today Vicki and Leon live and operate a 2500 acre cattle ranch, which won the Conservation Rancher of the year in 1993, in Stuart, Oklahoma.