A bull riding legend from Houston will have to wait a little longer for his statue to be reinstated.
Rob (Robbie) Bell, one of the greatest bull riders in Canadian history, saw a statue of him erected in his hometown over 20 years ago. The statue depicting Bell riding a bull was partially damaged in 2014 and fully removed last year.
In the summer of 2014, the figure of Bell was found removed from atop the bull and vandalized along the train tracks of the CN rail line. The Bell sculpture was determined beyond repair and was never replaced. The bull portion of the statue remained in place until fall of 2022 when it was removed to make way for road construction, and is now being stored in Houston’s public works building. The council will meet in September to discuss options for the statue.
“The statue has been refurbished and is being stored in our public works building,” said Michael Dewar, chief administrative officer of the District of Houston. “We will be presenting a report to council on the condition of the statue and options for placement in the community in an upcoming council meeting, hopefully Sept. 5. We are happy to share more information at that time.”
Bell seemed destined to become a great bull rider, as he won his first buckle for the youngest contestant at the Kispiox Valley Rodeo on the same day he first started riding calves — at the ripe old age of two. He won the award the following two year as well.
He gradually transitioned to steers when he was seven years old and entered his first High School Rodeo in Merritt when he was 17. Bell was never able to practice bull riding, so entering rodeos was his only chance to ride the bucking beast. He went on to win first place on the day he rode his first bull.
Bell was the 1996 and 1997 British Columbia Rodeo Association Champion Bull Rider and went on to win the bull riding Canadian Championship in 1999 and 2000 and the Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2000.
He also won the Glen Keeley Award in 2003 and 2004, an award given to the rider who wins the most money during a season, participated in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association National Finals Rodeo in 1999 to 2001 and was a part of the 2002 Canadian Summer Olympic team in Salt Lake City.
Bell retired from bull riding in 2009 and now lives in Stonewall, Louisiana, where he runs his own home inspection business.