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
At 19, Morgan found himself and several of his friends
performing at the 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 was his way of life, and he understood the educational
value the programs offered.
In 1944, Morgan served in the U.S. Army as 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 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 that of 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.