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Bandera recognized nationally as 'Cowboy Capital of the World'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: During the dedication of the historical marker of the Great Western Cattle Trail in 2014, Elenora Dugosh Goodley greeted Congressman Lamar Smith.

It became apparent during Congressman Lamar Smith's second appearance at the historic marker in Bandera that, at heart, he's a cowboy. Smith was instrumental in having the municipality recognized as the "Cowboy Capital of the World" on a national level.

During a special meeting of Bandera County Commissioners Court on Monday, Dec. 29, Elenora Dugosh Goodley made "really official" what was already pretty official - and she's not done yet.
In an effort spearheaded by former Texas District 53 Representative Harvey Hildebran, both houses of the Texas Legislature designated Bandera as the "Cowboy Capital of the World" in 2013.
House Resolution 2585 seemingly caught District 59 Rep. JD Sheffield by surprise. Sheffield represents the City of Stephenville, a municipality that also claims title to being the "Cowboy Capital of the World."
However, any member of the Texas Legislature can kill a resolution by speaking against it on the floor for five minutes. According to an article in the Empire Tribune, dated July 22, 2013, Erath County Republican Party Chairman Danny Pelton said, "JD chose not to speak for those five minutes." Pelton also decried the fact that "The resolution was not opposed by anyone."
This oversight gave Goodley a second opportunity to solidify Bandera's claim to the title. So, not surprisingly, on Nov. 19, 2014, the United States House of Representatives followed the lead of the Texas Legislature.
At that time, Congressman Lamar Smith read into the Congressional Record a narrative about Bandera's contributions as "Cowboy Capital of the World." If national recognition doesn't make the appellation official, nothing can.
With the blessing of elected officials of the City of Bandera and the Bandera County Historical Commission, Goodley had worked with Smith's offices in Austin and Washington, DC for the past two years "...to secure recognition in the US House of Representatives for Bandera as the 'Cowboy Capital of the World'."
She gave full credit to Smith's Texas District Director Mike Asmus and Legislative Director Abby Gunderson-Schwarz for bringing the plan to fruition.
"Congressman Smith and his Texas and Washington staffs were courteous, helpful, and enthusiastic in helping secure this honor," Goodley said.
And, no wonder, when visiting Bandera, Smith, a normally staid Congressman, is transformed into a kid in a candy store - especially when riding shotgun atop the Wells Fargo stagecoach.
Smith participated in historical marker dedications in Bandera for both the Cowboy Capital of the World and Great Western Cattle Trail in 2013 and 2014. His later remarks on the floor of the US House of Representatives recognized the rich western history of both the city and county. He also paid tribute to the many contributions of its citizens to the Lone Star State.
To bolster Bandera's claim, the documents and information that Goodley forwarded to Smith's offices in preparation for the honor included:
• Research information and the Texas Historical Commission narrative for the Cowboy Capital of the World story marker.
• Research information and the Texas Historical Commission narrative for the Great Western Trail story marker.
• Bandera County Sister Partnership information, which included a list of International Sister Partnerships, exchange visits and international conferences.
Smith's staff used the provided information to compose the narrative included in the Congressional Record. Smith's complete statement is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2014-11-19/pdf/CREC-2014-11-19-extensions.pdf.
Copies of Smith's narrative were presented to the Bandera County Commissioners Court, Bandera City Council and Rebecca Norton, executive director of the Frontier Times Museum.
But Goodley isn't finished yet. "This one was special, but I plan on bringing another request to the US Senate in 2015." Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, hang on to your cowboy hats!