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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Trail of Fame-Walk honors Western heritage, culture

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley

By Sarah McVean/reporter

Second in a five-part series on Fort Worth’s Western heritage.)

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley

In celebration of Texas culture and its cowboy heritage, the Texas Trail of Fame, established in 1997, honors people who have made a contribution to the evolution of the western way of life.

The trail runs through the streets of the Stockyards and consists of bronze markers inlaid with stars along with the honoree’s name.

With eight new inductees in 2006, the trail has 117 members, including not only cowboys but also past presidents and even famous horses.

The Texas Trail of Fame induction ceremony occurs during Red Steagall’s cowboy gathering in October every year. Throughout the year, anyone may nominate someone who has contributed something to the western way of life.

According to www.texastrailoffame.org, the desire of the Texas Trail of Fame is to inspire and educate visitors through the adventure of reflecting on these westerners’ accomplishments.

Anyone interested in nominating someone can go to www.texastrailoffame.org to download the nomination form. Nominations for next year are due Jan. 31, 2008.

Applications should be submitted with a description of why the individual should be included along with a brief biography, references, family contact information and photographs.

Notables in the Trail of Fame include a range of personalities.

Don Edwards, one of the 2006 inductees, is a musician known for keeping the essence of the west alive through writing and performing his cowboy songs.

“ Don has done a tremendous amount to expose the world to the cowboy music art form and is loved and revered by audiences of all kinds,” Red Steagall, Cowboy poet and fellow Texas Trail of Fame member, said.

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) 
was known as a Civil War soldier, military scout, bullwhacker, wagon master, trapper and Pony Express rider. But he was most famous for creating the Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, which traveled the world sharing the western lifestyle. Over the years, his life and legend have become the story line for many books and other forms of media.

Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) was known as a Texas cowboy and owner of the JR Ranch in the Texas panhandle, which once covered 1.3 million acres. Goodnight partnered with Oliver Loving, a fellow Trail of Fame honoree. Together they drove cattle from Texas to Colorado. The invention of the cattle drive chuck wagon also is credited to Goodnight.

James Bowie (1796-1836) was a frontiersman, gambler, businessman, colonel in the Texas Revolution and Alamo hero. Bowie became known as Gen. Sam Houston’s “trouble shooter.” During his final battle at the Alamo, legend says although he was sick, he gave a gallant fight to the death.

Ruth Roach (1894-1965) was proclaimed the “World’s Most Beautiful Cowgirl.” An accomplished trick rider, she became a stunt rider in many of Tom Mix’s silent films. In 1917, Roach became the first woman to ride a saddle bronco at the Fort Worth Rodeo. One of her more famous antics was riding a horse into the lobby of the Texas Hotel in 1922 to proclaim the Fort Worth Stock Show officially open.

Trail of Fame star
Trail of Fame star

Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born in Darke County, Ohio, under her real name Phoebe Moese. Her gunmanship came to notice when she fired her father’s rifle for the first time at 7. According to legend, by the time she was 12, she could shoot the head off a running quail. Chief Sitting Bull, with whom Oakley performed in the Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, nicknamed her Little Miss Sure Shot. In 1901, Oakley was in a train wreck and became partially paralyzed. She eventually recovered and continued her shooting until her death in 1926.

Midnight, the bucking bronco, was one of the most famous rodeo bucking horses, according to the Texas Trail of Fame. In 1931 Denver’s National Western Stock Show added a rodeo with the horse as the star attraction. Only nine men successfully rode Midnight. He was a part of the rodeo circuit from 1923 until 1933.

Gen. Edward Tarrant (1796-1858) 
was born in South Carolina, but settled in Texas. A lawman, lawyer and farmer, he was well known as a soldier and politician. He was involved in defending the frontier throughout his life.

Roy Rogers (1811-1998) was considered “King of the Cowboys.” Born Leonard Slye, he started out as one of the members of Sons of the Pioneers, which is also a member of the Texas Trail of Fame. The Sons of the Pioneers, also was inducted into the Western Musical Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Rogers appeared in more than 150 television programs and movies and was a hero to youth of the 1940s and 1950s.

After Rogers married his movie co-star, Dale Evans, another member of the Texas Trail of Fame, they became one of the most famous couples in western movies and television.

Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson (1912- ) is the widow of president Lyndon Johnson. Lady Bird Johnson co-founded The Lady Bird Wildflower Center, headquartered in Austin. The Center recognizes the importance of native plants and flowers for food, medicine and shelter for pioneers and the importance of nature in western history and the threat of its extinction.

Maurice Woodward Ritter (1905-1974)
 more commonly known as “Tex Ritter,” was called the “singing cowboy.” Born in Murvaul, Texas, he helped establish the Country Music Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ritter was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.

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