Gary Armitage 1959 - 2018
Gary E. (Slats) Armitage, 58, passed away on August 30, 2018 in Las Vegas, NM. Gary was born on November 28, 1959 in Roswell, NM, the son of Glen Armitage and Cora Jean (Vaughan) Armitage. Gary attended school in the Roswell School District through the eleventh grade. He moved to Dexter High School his senior year to play football and graduated in May of 1977.
Gary married Jane Hedeman in 1981. Two daughters were welcomed into this family. Kenna was born in 1985 and Kodi in 1988. They were the light of his life. His legacy of spending time in the practice pen with the girls was his greatest joy. He taught them to ride and spent many hours teaching them to rope competitively. His proudest moments were watching Kenna win second at the National High School Finals in the break-away roping and supporting Kodi and Kenna as they brought home saddles from various rodeos. In November of 2017, Slats became the proud grandfather of Karstyn Riata, daughter of Kenna and Chris Francis.
Gary loved rodeo
and grew up competing in Junior, High School and collegiate rodeos in team roping
and calf roping. Many trophies, belt buckles and saddles filled the family
living room as a tribute to the competitor and champion that Gary was. He joined the PRCA and made a name for
himself in the steer roping, qualifying for the National Finals Steer Roping at
the Lazy E Arena in 1992. He was
the Turquoise Circuit Steer Roping Champion that same year and finished tenth
in the world standings. Gary made his living on the rodeo circuit until his
health forced his retirement in 2006.
In 2007, Gary moved
to Lea County where he stayed until moving to Las Vegas to be near his daughter
following a lengthy illness. He was a Christian and always considered the Kenna
Community Church as his home congregation. As a young boy, he spent many enjoyable weekends and summers
visiting his grandparents in Kenna.