Top Home
IGRA Hall of Fame
Clarence Bates
First posted Dec 29, 2006
Last update Jan-20-2020

Clarence Bates

1928 - December 1, 1999

Clarence was murdered on December 1, 1999

First attended a gay rodeo in 1986
Involved in gay rodeo through 1999

Inducted 2015

Clarence Bates was born in 1928. Not much is known about Clarence, but if not for him a number of International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) Member Associations may never have held their first rodeos. Clarence owned a small ranch near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, where he operated as the B Bar Rodeo Company. Though he was very "closeted" he somehow managed to learn about the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association, and their desire to hold a gay rodeo in 1986. Clarence was the stock contractor who provided livestock for that first Great Plains Regional Rodeo, and many follow-up rodeos in: Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Chicago, Little Rock, Denver, Colorado Springs, Detroit, Billings, Omaha, and Albuquerque.

The rodeo stock that Clarence would bring to the IGRA rodeos was well suited for IGRA events and amateur contestants. Most stock contractors only use their rodeo event steers for one season, and then send them off to market. Clarence would keep his steers for years, which allowed them to gain the necessary weight to be very good riding steers.

Clarence received the International Award two times: in 1990, and posthumously in 2000. The IGRA International Award is given to recognize those members of IGRA who have made contributions to IGRA worthy of special recognition.

From a web page on News Oklahoma

Murder suspect in prison. Trail leads to Mexican border

Kenna Griffin - Published: June 28, 2000


After six months of investigating, law officers believe they have a case against a man who they say killed Kingfisher rancher Clarence Bates.

Bates, 71, died last December after being shot in the face with a shotgun. His body was found inside his home, three miles southwest of Kingfisher. His pickup, $25,000 and a handgun were missing.

At the time of the murder, witnesses said Carl Lee Hammonds, 31, was seen driving Bates' pickup on Nov. 30 - the last time Bates was seen alive.

Hammonds, now imprisoned in Huntsville, Texas, was recently charged with first-degree murder in Kingfisher County District Court.

Hammonds is being held without bond, and Kingfisher County Sheriff Danny Graham said he will be extradited back to Kingfisher to stand trial.

A 30 second YouTube clip of Clarence in 1989

Graham said Hammonds was living with Bates and working on his ranch at the time of the killing. He said it is believed that Bates met Hammonds at a bus station and asked him to come and work at the ranch.

Graham said it was not uncommon for Bates to meet transients and bring them to his ranch to work. He said he believes Bates' trusting nature was his undoing.

Graham said Hammonds was a severe alcoholic. He said Bates threatened to put Hammonds in a rehabilitation program and Hammonds threatened to kill him if he tried. He said he believes Hammonds eventually did kill Bates, probably after Bates threatened to force him into rehabilitation.

Following the shooting, Hammonds traveled to Andrews, Texas, to visit his mother, Graham said. He said Hammonds arrived in Andrews on Dec. 2.

While in Andrews, Graham said Hammonds told his mother that the rancher he was living with had been murdered by two men and that they had threatened him.

After leaving Andrews, Hammonds drove to Del Rio, Texas, where he crossed the United States-Mexico border, Graham said.

Hammonds later called his mother from Mexico and asked her to come get him, Graham said. His mother didn't want to go alone, so she got Jorge Lopez, her son-in-law, to go with her.

Graham said Lopez knew Hammonds was wanted in Texas, but he was unaware of the slaying in Kingfisher. Hammonds told Lopez the same story he had told his mother about Bates' death.

Graham said Lopez convinced Hammonds to return to Texas and turn himself in. But Hammonds was detained by immigration officials when crossing the border at Del Rio because he had no identification. Immigration officials learned of the Texas warrant and arrested Hammonds.

Hammonds was driving Bates' pickup at the time of his arrest.

After being told that the pickup belonged to an Oklahoma man who had been shot to death, Texas authorities questioned Hammonds and Lopez.

Hammonds refused to comment on the slaying. But Lopez told a Texas police officer that Hammonds "stated he was involved in a homicide in Oklahoma and needed to hide out."

Hammonds was first charged with larceny of an auto in Kingfisher. Graham said Hammonds first denied knowing about the killing and then later said the shooting was an accident. Hammonds said he was trying to kill himself and that Bates intervened, Graham said.

Graham said the case took so long to solve because investigators wanted to be thorough.

"We wanted to make sure we had all of our case right because we didn't want to have to do things while it was being filed," he said.

Graham said Hammonds should be back in Oklahoma in about 60 days. Once he is returned, Graham said a preliminary hearing date will be set.

Archive ID: 811589

Hall of Fame