Mahan broke into professional rodeo at the age of 14. He competed in the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA) and then later the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit. He won the title of World All-Around Champion for five consecutive years from 1966 to 1970, and a sixth time in 1973. His 1973 comeback and competition with Phil Lyne was the subject of the documentary The Great American Cowboy, which won the 1973 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.
In 1963 he joined the RCA. He competed in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, and bull riding. He became a steady winner in these events. He was the high money winner in bull riding in 1965. He became first to compete in three events at the National Finals Rodeo. In 1967 he won more than $50,000 in one year, becoming the first to achieve this milestone. In 1970 he had earned more than $280,000 by the end of the year. He had a tough decade in the 1970s, with injuries sidelining him some of the time. However, he did manage to win infrequently, even managing an all-around title in 1973. He entered the rodeo school market by running a few schools himself. He even had his own brand of Western clothing. After he retired from rodeo, he bought a ranch near Phoenix, Arizona.
Mahan earned six all-around titles, but the last one was not consecutive. His consecutive all-around record of five titles was not surpassed until 1979 when Tom Ferguson won his sixth consecutive title. In 1994, Ty Murray broke Mahan's and Ferguson's record of six titles.and tied Ferguson's record of having won six titles consecutively. In 1998, Murray won his seventh title, surpassing both of them and holding the record for all-around titles at seven titles. That's when they started calling Murray "King of the Cowboys." In 2010, Trevor Brazile won his eighth all-around title, surpassing them all. In 2015, Brazile won his 13th all-around title, ensuring that it might be a long time before someone breaks his record. Mahan was also the World Bull Riding Champion in 1965 and 1967.
- 1966 Rodeo Hall of Fame of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
- 1972 For the 1971 Film/Television - Western Documentary - “Rodeo,” Concepts Unlimited, Inc and Contemporary Films/McGraw Hill; Gaby Monet, Producer; Carroll Ballard, Director; Freckles Brown & Larry Mahan, Actors. Bronze Wrangler at the Western Heritage Awards of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
- 1979 ProRodeo Hall of Fame
- 1985 Oregon Sports Hall of Fame
- 1998 St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame
- 2001 Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame
- 2002 Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame
- 2005 Texas Trail of Fame
- 2007 Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
- 2010 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Legend of ProRodeo.
- 2015 Bull Riding Hall of Fame
- 2015 Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame
- 2017 Molalla Walk of Fame
Western Wear Entrepreneur
After he retired from rodeo 1977, he had already established the Larry Mahan Boot Collection, as well as a clothing line. He also licensed his name to various entities including Tony Lama, Gensco and others. Larry Mahan's Hat Collection has been available from the Milano Hat Company since 1984.
Songs / Singer / Songwriting
In 1976, he released an album on Warner Brothers (BS 2959) entitled Larry Mahan, King of the Rodeo. The songs on the album are:
- Freckled Face and Pretty Ribbons
- There's More to a Cowboy
- Stunt Man
- King of the Rodeo
- Larry's Salty Dog Blues
- Mom's Silver Dollar Saloon
- Up Jumped the Devil
- Rosie's Palace of Pure Love and Fingertip Massage
- Smokey Mountain Cowboy
- Ha Ha
In 1972, Mahan had a small part in the Cliff Robertson movie, J.W. Coop. In 1975, he appeared in Six Pack Annie.  In the 2007 movie No Country for Old Men, Josh Brolin's character buys and wears a pair of "Larrys". He also played in a movie called "The Honkers" (1972) with James Coburn and Slim Pickens.
Larry Mahan hosted RFD TV's Equestrian Nation up until 2009.
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- "Rodeo | Oregon Sports Hall of Fame & Museum". oregonsportshall.org. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame - Larry Mahan". www.stpaulrodeo.com. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Larry Mahan | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame". erhof.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame". www.oldwestmuseum.org. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Larry Mahan". Western Heritage from the Texas Trail of Fame. 2013-06-10. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Texas". texascowboyhalloffame.org. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "The Bull Riders - Larry Mahan". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame: Past Inductees". www.texasrodeocowboy.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce". www.molallachamber.com. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
- "Ramblin' Jack and Mahan". CowboyLyrics.com. Retrieved May 30, 2007.
- "Larry Mahan". IMDb. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
- IMDB quotes
- No country for old men page 85
- "'Equestrian Nation' a New TV Show for Horse Lovers ~ EquestrianMag". www.equestrianmag.com. Retrieved May 16, 2017.