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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

Museum recognizes Western influences

Melessio’s Paso de la Muerte.
Melessio’s Paso de la Muerte.

By Chris Cates/sports editor

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

A museum display shows Harry Tompkins’ arm stretcher built after he injured his riding arm and tendons. He used the contraption daily so he could still rodeo.
A museum display shows Harry Tompkins’ arm stretcher built after he injured his riding arm and tendons. He used the contraption daily so he could still rodeo.

Long called the City Where the West Begins, Fort Worth has showcased its western heritage in a new facility, The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Amon Carter, a noted civic leader and owner and founder of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, started that motto because his newspaper was circulated heavily to cities west.

It seems quite fitting that Carter’s 1933 Cadillac V8 is on display in the museum located in the historic Stockyards area in the North Side.

Carter is just one of dozens of men and women honored in the museum that features a Hall of Fame, Sterquell Wagon Collection, John Justin Trail of Fame, Jersey Lilly Old Time Photos and Western Gift Shop.

Currently, the organization has honored 58 hall of fame inductees with pictures, biographical information and memorabilia.

Jillian Webb, a worker at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame exhibit, said, “It appeals to younger children and older people as well.”

The hall is relatively new, but word has spread and crowds continue to grow.

During the recent Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, the crowds doubled in size, Webb said.

One of the recent visitors, Jesse Hall, said he was surprised to find the museum so complete.

“ I was expecting to see just a lot of photos on the walls of people I didn’t know,” he said. “But I got very involved in seeing all of the artifacts in the museum.”

Sterquell Wagon Collection

Artifacts are a major portion of the hall with the Sterquell Wagon Collection of buggies and wagons from the 1800s.

The collection is considered the world’s largest lifestyle wagon collection with more than 60 artifacts.

“ Visitors can see what it was like for people to travel in that time,” Webb said.

Hall found the wagon collection the most interesting part of the Hall of Fame.

“ They’ve done a great job displaying the wagons, and I wanted to ride in some of the buggies,” he said.

“ The movies make it look like it’s such an easy ride in buckboards and buggies, but this display helps you understand how primitive transportation was during that time.”

Cowboy Hall of Fame
Hall, who attended air conditioning classes on South Campus, also appreciated the Hall of Fame area although he was not familiar with many of the inductees.

The 2007 inductees to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame include J.W. Stoker, Louis Pearce, Craig Cameron and Tad Lucas.

Brett Hoffman and Ed Knocke were the Spirit of Texas award winners.

Such legends as Willie Nelson, who won the Spirit of Texas award in 2005, are displayed in the exhibit.

Nelson, singer and songwriter, has been active in the music industry for more than 50 years.

“ Of course I know Willie Nelson, and I could appreciate reading about the other inductees,” Hall said. “Like my wife, I was glad to see that the museum honored women as well as men.”

One of the earlier inductees in the Hall of Fame is Carol Rose, also a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She was the first female inducted into the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame.

Melessio’s Paso de la Muerte.
Melessio’s Paso de la Muerte.

Justin Trail of Fame
One of the other exhibits Hall enjoyed was the Justin boots display.

Known as the Justin Trail of Fame, the area includes famous boots, memorabilia and a video that features famous boot wearers, such as George W. Bush.

Hall does not consider himself a cowboy, but he loves his cowboy boots.

“ I have Justin boots that are more than 20 years old, and they’re my favorite shoes,” he said. “They don’t look too good now, and my wife would love to throw them away, but I keep them hidden.”

Justin boots were a Western staple soon after the company was founded by Herman Justin in 1879 in Spanish Fort, where the Chisholm Trail crossed the Red River.

Cowboys stopped at the boot shop to be fitted for the boots, and the company flourished.

The firm moved to Fort Worth in 1925. John Justin Jr., who was born in 1917, carried on the family business and helped Justin boots become known worldwide.

Justin, a civic leader in Fort Worth, contributed to Texas Christian University and the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. He died Feb. 26, 2001.

Another exhibit in the hall is dedicated to the Chisholm Trail.

The building also holds a gift shop, where visitors may buy an assortment of items, some of which are related to the exhibit and others simply Texas Western souvenirs.

Webb said people come from all over the world to see the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, so an interest in Texas history is not necessary to enjoy the exhibit.

2007 Inductees
The new inductees into the Hall of Fame include a rancher and several people involved with the rodeo.

Craig Cameron was named Working Cowboy of the Year in 2002. He makes regular appearances on TV and radio because of his reputation as a rancher, working cowboy and horse trainer.

Tad Lucas, a famed female rodeo champion, died in 1990. She had a long and successful life that included paving the way for women in the rodeo industry.

Louis Pearce served as president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in the late 1960s and was considered a strong leader and successful businessman.

J.W. Stoker, the last of the new inductees, has performed in every single major rodeo in the United States and Canada over the course of his career. A famed trick roper, Stoker is also a member of the National

Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Ed Knocke, one of the two Texas Spirit Award Winners from this year, writes about rodeo as a columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

Similarly, Brett Hoffman, fellow Texas Spirit Award Winner, is a rodeo columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Visitor Information
Located in the heart of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, the Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Barn A on Exchange Street.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (60+), and $3 for children ages 3 to 12.

The facility is open seven days a week, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-6 p.m.

For more information, contact the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame at 817-626-7131 or visit the Web site at www.texascowboyhalloffame.com.

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