Born as Russel Steagall on 22 December 1937 in Gainesville, Texas, he is a long-time country singer who sang his way all over the world and performed before heads of states to include President Ronald Reagan at the White House. A true blue Texan at heart, Red Steagall was already riding bulls in rodeos while still a gangling teen-ager. However, his engagement in this sport was prematurely cut short when he was stricken with polio at the age of 15. To regain the dexterity and strength of his arms and hands, he started playing the mandolin and guitar. After high school, he enrolled at the West Texas State University where he graduated with a degree in animal science and agronomy. While practicing his profession, his love for music prevailed. And so, off he went to Hollywood where for the next thirty years, he worked at various points as a music executive, songwriter, recording artist, film and TV entertainer.
Appearing in syndicated TV shows, Red Steagall hosted at various times the “National Finals Rodeo,” “Winston Pro Tour” over ESPN, Freedom Sports Network’s “College National Finals Rodeo” and “Western Theater” for America One TV. He also hosts a one-hour syndicated radio show which is aired on 170 radio stations in 43 states. Called “Cowboy Corner,” the radio show celebrates American Western lifestyle through cowboy stories, poems and songs. Steagall played a major role in the movie “Benjie, the Hunted” and appeared as well in the films, “Abilene” and “Before Dawn.”
The first book of Red Steagall entitled “Ride for the Brand,” which delves in western lifestyle in poetry and songs with illustrations by various members of the Cowboy Artists of America was published by Texas Christian University Press in March of 1993. Ten years later, Texas Tech University Press published a book that was the result of a collaborative effort between Steagall and Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Skeeter Hagler. Containing Steagall’s award-winning poetry and Hagler’s excellent studies on modern ranching rendered in black and white, the book which is entitled “Born to This Land” was bestowed by the Academy of Western Artists the Will Rogers Award for Best Book of 2003.
Red Steagall has received awards not only for his literary achievements, but for his songs and compositions as well. For his original music, he has won the Wrangler Award five times for the following albums: “Born to This Land” in 1993, “Faith and Values” in 1995, “Dear Mama, I’m a Cowboy” in 1997, “Love of the West” in 1999 and “Wagon Tracks” in 2002 which was bestowed the Wrangler Award by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
For his literary and musical contributions to Western culture and the arts, Red Steagall was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 1991, he was named “The Official Cowboy Poet of Texas “ by the Texas Legislature and the official “Cowboy Poet Laureate” of the City of San Juan Capistrano in California. In 2006, Steagall became the first Cowboy Poet Laureate of the State of Texas.
A former chairman of the board of the Academy of Country Music, honorary member of the Cowboy Artists of America and member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions, Red Steagall has gone on 3 tours for the United States Information Service to different countries in South America, the Middle East and Far East.