“In 1940 the Turtles were not getting their mail to catch up with them, nor their dues monies sent in until months later. They decided they needed a permanent address and someone to take care of their office. - - - I all ready had a good job with the Arizona Industrial Commission and I knew the Turtle salary for a month wouldn’t equal what I was making for a week at AIC but I was terribly interested in the Turtles. I resigned my job and set up the CTA office in the sunroom of my home. It consisted of one file cabinet, a cardex file and a little brown book with the names of some of the cowboys and dues they paid, a half-filled box of membership cards and buttons. The checking account amounted to $6,000 and a savings account with nearly $16,000 were turned over to me.
The war was in full swing at the time and the odds really were against rodeo cowboys. Gasoline and tires were being rationed and you needed coupons to get them. If a cowboy ran out of gasoline coupons, he was out of luck. With so much traveling for a cowboy, he would use up his coupons way to fast. I got many stranded cowboys calling who had run out of gasoline and coupons. Luckily I knew farmers who would give me their coupons, then I would call the service station to guarantee that I would send them the coupons and to give the cowboy some gas to get to the rodeo. Scheduling rodeos was quite difficult due to telephone priorities. All calls to directors and committees to get rodeo approvals and prize lists was done late at night.
The media also projected an almost anti-American image against the rodeo cowboy, insinuating they should be on the front line and not in a rodeo. It was amazing how many boys that were in the rodeos were actually in the service and others worked in defense plants. Because of the press the general public called the boys ‘Four F-ers”. The turnout for rodeos, however, was very good, especially if they were near a base. The fans consider rodeo a great entertainment. It was a difficult time, but we made it despite the media and to the delight of the fans.
I was asked about the changes after January, 1945. A general meeting was held in Denver, during the Stock Show and Rodeo. At these meetings the larger rodeos would have representatives to present their prize lists to our CTA directors for approval. Should there be any new rules, any unfair business practices or new business, it was all taken care of at these meetings. The subject came up about changing the Turtles name. Some felt the name was confusing and it might be better to change it. At this meeting were only directors, representatives and committeemen. I suggested we have a luncheon so that all CTA members could attend and express their views on changing the name. The announcer made an announcement during the rodeo that evening that the luncheon would be held the next day and that all members were invited. I also suggested that a field man be hired who was familiar with rodeos. Someone who could get along with people and could travel to different rodeos throughout the country to keep track of what was going on, to resolve any differences and to make sure the rodeos were operating smoothly. I could not operate the office effectively without limiting my time to travel. We were getting to the point that cowboy representation was needed on the spot. The field man would report his findings to my office or to the directors of the association so corrections could be made.
The luncheon was held and we had a rather large turnout. Toots Mansfield served as president since Everett Bowman was not present. Changing the name took up most of the time. RCA was suggested, but there were pros and cons about it. Rodeo Cowboy Association seemed most fitting, but would it be confused with Radio Corporation of America, also called RCA? The boys suggested waiting until the rodeo in Houston, which would take place a few weeks later. Many more CTA cowboys would be there and there would be more to vote.
----------It was decided in the Houston meeting when the name was changed, that the main headquarters be changed from Phoenix to a more centralized location in the U.S. to also accommodate the Canadian boys. It would move temporarily to Denver until a suitable location could be found. Toots wanted me to move to Denver, but I said “No”.
Everett Bowman resigned and Toots called me again, asking me to stay on long enough at least to show the new field man something about the business, which I agreed to do.
The new man showed up and immediately wanted me to turn over the books, plus the checking and savings accounts to him. I told him I wasn’t turning over anything to him until I received a telegram from each and every one of my directors giving me permission to do so. I was determined to take good care of those books and the money, which then was up to $8,000.00 in checking and $19,000 which was invested in U. S. Government War Bonds. (I had suggested taking the savings account and investing it in the war bonds to Everett and he received full approval from the directors to do so.)
The new field man immediately called for an audit of all the books and money from the inception of the association in 1936!
The audit was completed and the auditors gave their report with amazement. Even with the mail problems and dues being hauled around for four years all over the country until an office was established, they only found a seven cent error. That, in itself, said so very much for the boys and the integrity they had. They had turned in every dime.
It was a lively, busy time, and I am proud to have worked for such an association, and now I’m even prouder over being honored by you folks.
I look forward to attending the ceremony.
Sincerely, Fannye Lovelady.”
People like this are the backbone and why rodeo has survived and thrived since the very first horse bucked off a cowboy until today when the leaders in rodeo are talking about taking rodeo ‘digital’. She was dedicated to the Turtles and ran their office with efficiency and precision, without being concerned with a large salary. My hat is off to the Rodeo Historical Society for giving her this honor. I am all for progress in rodeo, and will be first person in line to vote for better money and better conditions, for everyone involved in rodeo from the greenest rookie to the sage-old cowboys still involved..
This entire letter was printed in my book “The Cowboys’ Turtle Association, The Birth of Professional Rodeo. Page 201 - 205