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Bandera's heroes have always been cowboys

By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier

Pictured: World Champion Trick Roper Kevin Fitzpatrick, right, is keeping up the "family tradition" started by his father, Bud, who will be inducted into the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor as part of Bandera's annual celebration of the National Day of The American Cowboy.

When the Frontier Times Museum celebrates the 2014 National Day of The American Cowboy (NDoAC) on July 25, 26 and 27, it recognizes America's contribution of the cowboy hero to the world.
The museum established the "Texas Heroes Hall of Honor" to award "remarkable individuals and wondrous characters who through leadership, creativity, example and hard work" keep the spirit of Texas and the west alive. At 7 pm, Friday, July 25, the museum will host an induction ceremony, featuring a barbecue dinner prepared by Rick Anderson and music under the stars by the versatile Drug Store Cowboys, to honor the 2014 Texas Heroes, Bud Fitzpatrick, Jud Ashmore and Todd Whitewood.
Bud Fitzpatrick dreamed of being a cowboy as a sickly child in Minnesota, drawing pictures of horses and cowboys to pass the time he spent in bed. His dream took shape when the family moved to Texas for his health and he crossed the state line on a trail boss's horse, smack dab in the middle of a real, old time cattle drive.
Now 98, Fitzpatrick can recall a long, productive life spent living his dream as a working cowboy, an award-winning rodeo rough stock rider and respected horseshoer of performance and race horses - not to mention the full realization of his artistic talents.
The skilled horseshoer worked racetracks from Ohio to California, hand forging shoes for Standardbred race horses. It was at a track in California that his prized rodeo champion buckle was stolen. He had won the buckle - a rare award at the time - at the July 4 rodeo in Brady, Texas. Recovered later from an antique dealer and presented to him by his family, the buckle was the symbol of a rodeo career that took him from Madison Square Garden to Boston Gardens to Kissimmee, Florida.
Fitzpatrick also worked both working and dude ranches, broke and trained horses, honestly wearing the title "real cowboy." But it's his artistic accomplishments that set him apart from most of his peers.
Everywhere you look in son Kevin's home, where Bud now lives, are examples of his artistry - bits, spurs, headstalls, highly detailed metalwork, mainly of horses, a whimsically decorated suitcase and even a "sidewinder" fashioned from a horseshoer's rasp. Bud Fitzpatrick fits the "remarkable individuals" requirement of a Texas Hero with authentic ease.
Honor Bandera's "True Texas Heroes" - Fitzpatrick, Ashmore and Whitewood - and support the Frontier Times Museum on Friday, July 25 on the museum grounds, 510 13th Street. Tickets are $35 each and may be purchased at the museum prior to the event or at the door that evening.
For more information, call 830-796-3864 or visit