Longtime Dayton educator named to Cowboy & Arena Champions Hall of Fame

Jack Carraway is presented with a buckle and plaque for being inducted into the Cowboy and Arena Champions Hall of Fame. He is pictured with Terri Collins, wife of Ronny Collins, who serves on the Hall of Fame board and is also an inductee.

In recognition of his contribution to the world of cowboy sports and livestock shows, Jack Carraway, retired Dayton High School ag teacher and former associate superintendent for Dayton ISD, has been inducted into the Cowboy & Arena Champions Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place Saturday, Nov. 11, at the YO Ranch Hotel in Kerrville, Texas.

Carraway, 79, a native of Tomball and longtime resident of Dayton, is one of 14 inductees honored this year. Ronny Collins, organizer of the Hall of Fame, told Bluebonnet News, “Jack was very deserving.” The other inductees are Pistol Robinson, Rocky Stone, Gary Parli, Kelly Clark, Mack Bradford, Kevin Marshall, Terry Starnes, Debbie Garrison, Sherri Dawn Martin, John Clark, Bobby Joe Wood, Al Long and Randy Magers.

During his 16 years as an ag teacher, Carraway inspired countless students and organized multiple livestock shows and rodeos locally. He joined Dayton ISD in 1967, not long after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a bachelor degree in Vocational Agriculture.

“Teaching jobs weren’t easy to find at the time,” said Carraway, explaining why he initially took another job after college. “The job in Dayton came open mid-semester, so I applied for it. There were 37 applicants for the position, but they picked me.”

As an ag teacher, he was part of leading a very vibrant and active FFA chapter at Dayton High School, which hosted a livestock show and rodeo each May and produced three-day rodeos for the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

The inductees for 2023 are pictured. Left to right, back row: Pistol Robinson, Rocky Stone, Gary Parli, Kelly Clark, Mack Bradford, Kevin Marshall, Jack Carraway; front row: Terry Starnes, Debbie Garrison, Sherri Dawn Martin, John Clark (inaugural inductee), Bobby Joe Wood, Mark Joslin accepting for Al Long and Randy Magers.

The FFA, at that time, owned all the bucking stock and leased the roping calves and steers for dogging, and owned their own arena – the Anson Rigby Arena off Cleveland Street (SH 321) in Dayton. Dayton FFA also produced rodeos for the communities of Coldspring, Mauriceville and Humble. Later on, they introduced an All-Girl Rodeo each fall.

“I kept up with the stock with the help of my students. I did very little cowboy stuff. I would sometimes be a pickup man for the bronc riders, but I was mostly on the producer side of things,” he said. “There were a lot of cowboys from the area back in those days. We would sometimes have 75 people competing in the calf roping competition alone.”

According to a biography written for the awards ceremony by Carraway’s wife, Lois, “In 1981 the Dayton FFA entered into an agreement with Frontier Days in Dayton, Texas, to produce rodeos each Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, for the summer months. An Association with the rodeo cowboys was started and would last through 1983. Frontier Days would only be in existence for one summer. The second and third years of the Association, Dayton FFA would hold a rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights, along with the regular Dayton Livestock Show and Rodeo in May, July 4th, and Labor Day.”

Carraway’s contributions to Dayton ISD also led to him being named Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the 1980-1981 school year. In 1983, 12 years after earning a masters degree from SHSU, Carraway left the classroom to take an administrative position with Dayton ISD. He was named Assistant Business Manager in 1983 and later promoted to Business Manager and Associate Superintendent of Finance. In 2003, while working under then-Superintendent Nancy Fuller, Carraway retired. He was inducted into the Dayton ISD Wall of Fame in 2009.

Education was not his only service to the community. He also was a director for Liberty County Federal Teachers Credit Union for 24 years, and remains director for Old River Drainage District #1 for Liberty County and director for Lower Trinity Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.

Today, Jack and Lois Carraway still live on their small ranch outside of Dayton where Jack and two of his granddaughters run a herd of 200 Santa Gertrudis cattle. The couple’s daughter, Tammy Robinson, is a teacher for Dayton ISD, and their grandchildren are all graduates of Dayton High School.

Carraway was nominated for the Hall of Fame by a former student, Terry Bevers, and another student, Gene Reed, attended the ceremony. Carraway said he was unaware of the nomination until he logged onto his wife’s computer and found the biography of his life that she was writing.

“I thought she was already working on my obit,” Carraway said with a chuckle.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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