“To me, he was goodness and decency with skin on.”, Norman W. Hein, nephew.
Roland Hein was born to Ruben and Elisabeth Hein in Gate, Oklahoma on August 27, 1930. Raised during the Great Depression and the dust bowl, Roland had a deep appreciation for hard work, integrity, sacrifice and thrift. He initially honed his skills working on the family ranch in the short-grass country of Oklahoma and later as a ranch hand on the Bar-B Ranch. Early in life his dream was to be a cowboy and he spent his life living that dream. Roland had high expectations for himself, everyone and everything around him. He had a drive to win, regardless if it was poker, pitch or rodeo. When he pulled his rig onto the fairgrounds, everyone knew he was there to make them laugh, share some wisdom and win. Roland gained the respect of his competitors as a top rodeo athlete, which is not an easy thing to do. It takes more than sheer ability, which Roland put on display every time the chute gate opened. He pulled off this rare feat with the combination of magnetic personality, integrity, sharp wit, dry humor and a command of the English language. “You could love him or hate him for his accomplishments in the arena, but you had to respect him for being a stand-up guy with an unmatched will to win,” Todd Domer. On June 1, 1958, he married Anita Smith and the couple had one daughter, Cathy in 1959. Their marriage lasted 51 years until Anita’s death. In the early years, Roland rode saddle broncs, then switched to calf roping, but an injury to his leg cut his calf roping career short and left him with a life-long limp. To stay in the saddle, he took up team roping where he found his passion as a heeler. He continued to rodeo as a successful team roping heeler for over 40 years. On rural properties he maintained, he built arenas and kept steers and horses as he rodeoed every weekend, mentoring many of today’s ropers. He was the United Rodeo Association Team Roping Champion in 1971, 1973 and 1975. In 1987, he won the Kan-Rope Association Open Champion Heeler and he secured the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Team Roping Championship in 1991. He was the United States Team Roper Champion at the age of 71. He was a family man, partner and friend. “Be of good cheer,” was his parting remark to everyone. He’d make everybody laugh and make them mad. He could be trusted with a secret or one’s wallet and, when the chips were down, he’d get the job done. Many who knew him as a roper, knew nothing about his full-time jobs outside the arena. They assumed he was a full-time cowboy. This defines Roland Hein – 100% cowboy.