Area rodeo judge fatally shot in Azle

A Stockyards Championship Rodeo judge was fatally shot Sunday in Azle after an argument, officials said Monday.

Bradley Bettis, 40, was killed during an argument with a friend of several years at the friend’s house, Azle police reported.

Bettis was a bull rider and steer wrestler before he became a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association judge in 2007.

Bettis, the father of two small children, was an independent insurance agent in Azle.

He had been a judge at the Stockyards Championship Rodeo within the last few months and even helped get insurance for events at Cowtown Coliseum, Executive Director Hub Baker said.

Baker said he had known Bettis for 10 to 15 years.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t like him,” Baker said.

Azle police were called to a house in the 600 block of South Steward Street at 5:54 p.m. Sunday, interim Chief D.D. West said in a news release.

The disturbance escalated to the point that one of the men produced a handgun and shot the other several times, West said.

A man identified as Benny Rogers, 47, was taken to the Azle Police Department for questioning, West said. The two men had known each other for several years, and the argument was “domestic in nature,” West said.

Rogers “has been fully cooperative with law enforcement officials,” and faces no charges “at this time,” West said.

Bettis was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m. by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

“All of my knowledge of Brad Bettis is he was always a nice man and did a good job,” Baker said. “It’s a tragedy that you get dealt some of the bad cards with the good cards.”

Bettis was a member of the Azle Area Chamber of Commerce in the early 2000s and was active in the community until about six years ago when his rodeo life took over, said Leah Dunn, a friend and former chamber director.

“He was all about the rodeo. He did three things: rodeo, family and family,” Dunn said. “He was just a gem of a young man.”

Dunn said she first met Bettis because he originally got into banking and her father was an Azle banker. Later Bettis became an insurance agent for First Bank and then went on to become an independent insurance agent, his job for the past two or three years, she said.

“He always greeted you with a smile and a ‘howdy,’” Dunn said. “He was just a stand-up, sweetheart kind of a guy.”

The investigation is ongoing, and results will be presented to a Parker County grand jury, West said.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792