W.E. Billy Morgan Arena

  • William Edward “Billy” Morgan was born in Monaville, Texas, but grew up in the Katy-Fulshear area. In high school, he participated in the FFA and 4H programs and graduated from Lamar High School in 1942. Morgan was a rice farmer and rancher on the Katy prairie. As a local teenager, he had seen Katy ISD’s Agricultural Sciences program struggle to succeed. When L.D. Robinson was hired with his big dreams to revitalize the District’s FFA program, Morgan found the perfect opportunity to get more involved. As part of getting the program running in the right direction, Robinson wanted to put together a Cowboy Sports Rally, or rodeo, to entertain the community and bring in crowds to auction the pigs the students raised, in turn, raising funds for the development of the Ag program. Morgan was excited, and wanted Katy to have a rodeo.

    At 19, Morgan found himself and several of his friends performing at a rodeo sports rally and working to ensure it would be successful. He loved that the livestock show and rodeo was a community project that connected people while providing funds to invest in the FFA program and facilities. Farming and ranching were his way of life, and he understood the educational value the programs offered.

    In 1944, Morgan served in the U.S. Army as an Honor Guard to General Douglas McArthur and was stationed in both Japan and the Philippines. Upon his return to the states, he quickly resumed farming and ranching, which was his true passion.

    For many years, he worked in the arena as the area director while his wife Oberia, or “Dude,” kept the books and served as timekeeper. They loved the rodeo so much that they would often work well into the early morning hours.

    He was known to all those associated with the Katy FFA as “Uncle Billy,” showcasing how closely he supported the program and all those involved. He thought of everyone as a part of the family.

    When the aging arena needed to be replaced, Morgan and three others each took out a $10,000 loan to build it. They too believed in the program and in Robinson’s plan that it would one day pay for itself. The loans were paid back in just three years. Morgan worked alongside countless Katy community volunteers to bring welding rigs to weld pipe, dig posts, and build bucking and roping chutes, and holding pens to complete the arena.

    He was thrilled to be able to share his passion for the sport of rodeo not only with his three daughters, but also with others in the Katy community. He wanted to model the importance of volunteering and participating in the community. And to prove that, with a dream and dedication, you can accomplish anything. Morgan attended every rodeo held up until his death.

    Morgan was a founder of the Katy Rodeo Committee and served as chairman for more than 30 years. His passion for agriculture, farming and ranching went far beyond the boundaries of the Katy program. He also served on the Fort Bend County Fair Board of Directors, acting as president in 1977, and on the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Committee.​