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Great kickoff to National Day of American Cowboy

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Last weekend's National Day of the American Cowboy kickoff on the grounds of the Frontier Times Museum, 510 13th Street, was described as "intimate, but perfect."
Well, I wouldn't describe the gathering as "intimate" as every available table overflowed with family, friends and well wishers. In fact, I'd suggest adding more tables to the mix next year. However, the evening was undeniably perfect with plenty of time to mingle, scarf down tasty barbecue by Rick Anderson and Kelly Scott's cooked-on-site peach cobbler and enjoy the music of The Drugstore Cowboys.
The centerpiece of the evening was the induction ceremony of John Douglas - aka Bud - Fitzpatrick, Todd Whitewood and Jehu D. - aka Jud - Ashmore into the Frontier Times Museum's Texas Hall of Heroes.
Assisted to the podium by his son, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Bud, 98, was clearly touched by his inclusion, saying, "I'm not accustomed to this sort of thing, but I appreciate it." He added, "I wish you'd put it in writing so I could read it five times a day."
Whitewood won the 1980 National Collegiate Calf Roping Championship by roping three calves in 33.3 seconds. A taciturn fellow, he thanked the museum board for the honor and then turned the podium over to Ashmore. "I'll let Jud to my talkin'. I didn't prepare a speech," Whitewood said.
A gregarious 90, Jud was more than happy to take over for Whitewood. As emcee Richard Lee of 92.3 The Ranch radio noted, when Whitewood walked up to the podium, the average age of the inductees plummeted to a mere 79.3 years.
Ashmore recalled that when he came to Bandera 64 years ago "... you had to be invited, and if you wanted to stay, you had to have a blood relative here." He added, "The important things in life you can usually count on one hand. Well, for this event, I have to take both my shoes off!"
After the last inductee had been congratulated; the last finger licked; the last beer quaffed, everyone like good cowboys - and cowgals - rode off into the sunset to get ready for Saturday's match races and ranch rodeo.
The only things absent at the kickoff seemed to be the obligatory speechifying in the form of resolutions from local pols proclaiming something or other - not that anyone actually missed them. So, to politicians, I say, set down, sign, seal and send those resolutions regarding the National Day of the American Cowboy, but don't feel you have to show up in person and actually ready them - unless, of course, you want to enjoy old-fashioned fellowship, tuck into great food with all the fixin's and listen to wonderful Bandera music and, parenthetically, support the Frontier Times Museum.
Every great event needs a dénouement and the National Day of the American Cowboy was no exception. On Sunday, July 27, the Ridin' the River Cowboy Fellowship sponsored a free community chuck wagon breakfast, beginning at 8 pm in Bandera City Park. Chief cook and bottle washer Tomy Crow and his crew prepared a groaning board that included biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and bacon and sausage - plus cowboy coffee, of course. A fellowship service followed the breakfast.
The get-together, coupled with the annual Cattle Sorting Rodeo that evening at Mansfield Park, proved to be the perfect end to a jam-packed western weekend. A word to the wise - and the perpetually hungry - don't miss this breakfast and service next year! It proved to be a fitting end to a fabulous weekend.