Saturday morning started early with the doors of River Ranch opening at 8 AM. Cowboy Church conducted by Ronnie Christian was held at 8:30 and the Opening Ceremony for the Induction was held at 9:30. Mike Hudson, President, welcomed everyone. The National Anthem was sung by Sheridan Hodge Elliot and Sierra Hodge. Invocation was given by Don Howell, past President. Pam Minick spoke about Holt Hickman (deceased, 1932 to 2014) who was given Special Recognition. Hickman had given so much to the Stockyards area to make it the amazing tourist destination it is today allowing people to see ‘how the west was won’ and be entertained.
Jeff Medders, Master of Ceremonies, assisted by Rodeo Queens, Destinee Brown, Macey Colvin and Ashlyn Williams, kicked off the day.
These were those inducted:
Empty Saddles: David Bowen, Dick Griffith, Dr. T. K. Hardy, DVM.
Trail Blazers: Ron Conatser, Morris Walker, Don Workman
Western Heritage Award: Tom Feller
Rodeo Personnel: Michael Moore, Shelly Burmeister Mowery, Don Reynolds, J. W. Stoker, Charlie Tindol.
Rodeo Event: Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
Johnny Boren Award: Kirk Allmon
Director’s Choice Inductee: Larry Mahan
Rodeo Animal & Woman Contestant: Star Plauditt, known as “Red” & Sherry Price Johnson.
Men’s Contestants: Monk Dishman, John Gloor, Gene Lyda, Bud Munroe, Kevin Stewart, Dan Webb, James Zant.
Tina Hodge, Board Member, introduced the 2015 Scholarship Recipients, Dakota Allen, Shelby Bannert, Laramie Zant.
There is no way I can share all the acceptance speeches but there were a few things said you might be interested in knowing.
--David Bowen made the National Finals Rodeo in Calf Roping in 15th place by 89 cents!
--Dick Griffith started in his youth as a trick rider and roper and performed in the Oval Office for President Harding. He won many championships both in Trick Riding & Bull Riding.
--Ron Conaster, an all around contestant, was also a pickup man, and a rodeo judge for 38 years.
--Tom Feller didn’t grow up in a rodeo family, but he and brother, Jim Bob, both spent time as rodeo clowns. He lived by the rule, “Always leave more than I took”, which served him well. He worked with Jimmy Anderson, Rick Chatman, and Leon Coffee. He works for Justin Boots and admired John Justin who began by being an usher at the Cowtown Coliseum as a young man. Tom also served as Chairman of the ProRodeo Cowboys Assoc.
--Michael Moore started his rodeo clown career in the Cecil Hill arena in Austin. He was given advice to get a partner and stick together. He asked Leon Coffee, a friend, to join him and they called themselves, “Salt & Pepper”. He said, “Leon kept the focus off me by his antics so I could concentrate on fighting bulls and protecting cowboys.” He also complimented Steiner Rodeo Co, and said, “They were more than rodeo producers, they really cared about their people.”
--Shelly Burmeister Mowery was Miss Coors Rodeo from 1980 through 1989, thanks to Bob Eidson letting her know they were looking for a representative.
--Don “Jug” Reynolds had a varied life. His father, Fess, was a rodeo clown and he was part of his dad’s act by the age of 3. His father made he and “Jug” members of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, when he was just a youngster. He met Roy Rogers and was invited to Hollywood where he was a child actor and worked with Roy, and later as the last ‘Little Beaver’ in the Red Ryder movies. He followed his father as an animal trainer and has trained many animals, including ‘Shadowfax’ the white stallion in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
-- J. W. Stoker was also a child performer in rodeo. He began his career with his family and the Clyde Miller Wild West Show. He performed for the Queen of England, and President Harry S. Truman. “I wish rodeo paid residuals,” he jokingly said. In addition to rodeos across the country J. W. has performed his trick roping at conventions. “I think my horse has been in the ballroom of every hotel in Dallas,”. He works with the girls of the Cowgirl Chicks that perform across the country, teaching them trick riding and trick roping.
--Larry Mahan began his acceptance speech by saying, “I’m too young to be this old!” After reminiscing for a few moments and saying that when you rodeo you learn to live in the moment, he turned his focus to Dana Bowman in the audience, a military veteran who had lost both legs in combat. “Dana has over 4,000 jumps out of airplanes since he lost his legs, carrying and unfurling a 20’ x 20’ American flag, and goes around the country giving motivational speeches about this great country.”
--Sherry Price Johnson spent most of her speech talking about her great horse, Star Plauditt called “Red” that she used to win many barrel racing championships. She said the horse was bought for $400 and was ridden by her husband, at the time, in bull dogging contests and then she used him for her barrel racing competitions. A very versatile horse that could do it all.
--Bud Munroe went to the National Finals in Saddle Bronc Riding 12 years. He said Bill Smith, World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, told him one time Texas had the best roads, rodeos and prettiest women. Bud is married to Jimmie Gibbs from Waco, and they are enjoying rodeoing today with their daughter, Cassie, who is barrel racing.
Congratulations to each and every 2015 inductee of the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. For anyone wanting to consider inducting someone to the Hall go to their website and get their Induction Form.