Whit R. Keeney, 94, of Stephenville, passed away Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Stephenville.
Funeral Services will be held at 1:00 pm Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Stephenville Funeral Home Chapel with Werth Mayes officiating. Interment will follow at Allard Cemetery in Erath County. The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm Friday at the funeral home.
Whit was born on February 14, 1917 in Erath County to the late James F. and Fannie Martin Keeney. He married Mary Purdom and she preceded him in death in 2002. Whit served in the U.S. Army Airbourne during WWII.
Whit started rodeoing in 1932, and joined the Rodeo Cowboy’s Association in 1944. He won the doggin’ in Baton Rouge, LA, Little Rock, Ark, and Memphis, Tenn. Everett Colborn hired him in 1947-48 to travel with the Lighting C Stock Company owned by Everett Colborn and Gene Autry to produce rodeos in New York at Madison Square Garden for 32 performances. He worked their rodeos at Ardmore, OK, Fort Madison, Iowa, and Boston, MA. Whit, also worked for rodeo producer, Homer Todd of Fort Smith, Ark.
He has won 37 trophy saddles most of them for winning all-around cowboy honors. He won his first saddle in 1957 when he was 40 years old. Eight saddles were won in the National Organizations of Rodeo Cowboys Association for competitors over 45 years of age. In his younger years at Baton Rouge, LA, he set a record for the fastest time ever in bull dogging at 2.4 seconds.
He owned and trained “Whit” the 1987 P.R.C.A. Horse of the Year. “Betty Crocker” and “Cooper” are two well known winning doggin horses he trained. They became famous for their keen athletic skills. Much like their owner they gave their all to win and be champions.
Whit has trained the finest cow dogs in the country. His border collies are much in demand for their keen, fine tuned athletic abilities to work cattle.
He received his PRCA Gold Card Membership in 1967, and continued to rodeo thru his 81st birthday. Whit Keeney is a cowboy’s cowboy.
Whit is survived by a daughter, Kathy and husband Roger Miles of Lubbock; grandchildren, Kirk and wife Tammy Keeney of Stephenville, Eric Keeney of Bangs, Matt and wife Dina Miles of Lubbock, and Kelly Miles of Lubbock; great-granddaughter, Reese Miles; and many nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by a son, Robert Keeney.