Tex Fulton, 87, of Miller, passed away Sunday, April 28, 2024, at Good Samaritan Society in Miller.

Celebration of Life will be 3:00 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2024, at the Miller Community Center.

Shirley Ray “Tex” Fulton was born April 29, 1936 in a steel shed outside Kerrick, Texas during a hailstorm. In 1948, his parents, Harley and Juanita “Pearl” (Hullet) Fulton, moved to a farmstead outside Miller that remains occupied by the Fulton family to this day.

Tex attended Miller High School, graduating in 1955. MHS Athletics provided an outlet for Tex’s lifelong love of competition. He was a fleet footed running back and sprinter for the Rustlers. The sport of his life was rodeo, however. Tex was the 1954 and 1955 South Dakota High School tie down roping champion and the 1955 All Around Cowboy, winning a horse that was one more to haul home than his two-horse trailer accounted for, but he found a way to make it work, a theme of his life that he passed on to his family.

Rodeo continued to shape Tex’s life in important ways after high school. He was among the earliest competitors in the South Dakota Rodeo Association, making lifelong friends. He competed at rodeos produced by Art and Mary Cowan in Highmore and traveled to many rodeos with their sons, Pat and Willie. He met Pat and Willie’s sister, Mary Ann, who became his wife on October 1, 1960 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Highmore, South Dakota and spent the next 63 years as partners in all things.

For decades to come, Tex and Annie were fixtures at rodeos, watching their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and great friends compete hard, win and lose with honor, and learn invaluable life lessons. Many of the greatest friendships in Tex’s life were formed behind the roping boxes of arenas across South Dakota, but especially in the practice pen. Rodeo competitors came to the Fulton Ranch to practice for decades. Tex built one of the first indoor arenas in South Dakota, which provided a place for rodeo competitors ranging from beginners to world champions to hone their skills and “come up to the house” for something to eat and trade stories.

In 1988, Tex received the Heartland Saddle Award in recognition of his many years supporting 4-H rodeo through putting on rodeos, providing stock, and providing coaching and mentorship to generations of competitors across South Dakota. The Fulton Ranch was a waypoint for generations of rodeo contestants who found an open practice pen, a hot meal, and a warm bed between competitions. Tex and Annie Fulton were fortunate to take in an extended family of rodeo competitors across the country.

Tex was among the first to adopt Limousin cattle and AI in the United States. Tex brokered some of the earliest contracts to import Limousin genetics, setting a path for himself and his sons to be innovative and leading cattlemen. Tex saw the Fulton Ranch fully convert to black Angus genetics and gain standing as one of the leading bloodlines in the United States. Tex loved good grass, good cattle and horses, and good people; he shared those values with his sons and their families.

Tex first expanded the Fulton Ranch from the homestead his father bought by purchasing the Gering place just to the north which became home to he and Annie and ranch headquarters. Tex loved all parts of the ranch, but undoubtedly the Lawver Place in Buffalo County was the dearest to his heart. He especially loved to ride in the calving bottom where he could keep a close eye on cows spread across the hills and up the three big draws that gather into the bottom. It meant the world to Tex that his sons, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren came to love that land and enjoy spending time there too. The distinctive left-handed teacup brand that Tex adopted for the ranch carries on as a mark of pride within the family and of excellence in the farming and ranching industry.

Tex is survived by his wife, Annie; three sons: Mark (Susan), Paul (Kayleen), and Neil (Molly); daughter-in-law, Lisa: thirteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and the many relatives and friends who were part of his life.

Tex was preceded in death by his parents: Harley and Pearl; brothers: Charles and Keith; sister, Beverly; an infant sister, Norma Jean; twin paternal half-sisters: Jean Wisby and Jane Horton; son, Brian; and grandson, Dylan.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Tex’s arrangements.