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2015-07-23

Celebrating the American Cowboy

By Rebecca Norton Frontier Times Museum

Courtesy photo
The National Day of the American Cowboy celebration, hosted by the Frontier Times Museum, includes all the wild and winsome dust raisin' of a ranch rodeo.

Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Tomy Crowe, left, assisted by Jimmy Brown, checked out the breakfast biscuits at the Ridin' the River Cowboy Fellowship's campfire breakfast, served the third Sunday of every month, at Bandera Downs. Crowe and his crew of cookers will cater the cowboy dinner for the National Day of the American Cowboy, hosted by the Frontier Times Museum, Friday, July 24.



Where better to celebrate the American Cowboy but in Bandera - the official Cowboy Capital of the World?
This weekend, the Frontier Times Museum will host a rompin', stompin' good time as the cowboy way of life is commemorated with a traditional Ranch Rodeo and the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor induction ceremony. The celebration will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25.
Book signing
Kicking things off is a book signing scheduled for 4 pm to 6:30 pm on Friday with one of this year's Texas Heroes inductees, famed Texas photographer J. Griffis Smith. Smith spent 30 years photographing the landmarks and people of Texas for the Texas State Highway Department's travel magazine, Texas Highways.
His works have also been published in the book, "On the Road with Texas Highways." Smith will be at the museum to inscribe copies of his book, which will be available for purchase during the party.
Induction
Also from 6 pm to 8 pm, Friday evening, the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor Induction ceremony and reception honoring the 2015 inductees will be held at the museum, 510 13th Street, in Bandea. Each inductee is recognized based on their character, achievement and being a great Texan.
In addition to Smith, this year's induction honors two local cowboys, Kelly Scott and Clay Conoly. Scott is a master chuck wagon cook, farrier and former rodeo clown who has appeared in numerous commercials, television shows and movies, including "The Great Waldo Pepper" with Robert Redford and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.
Conoly owns and operates the Dixie Dude Ranch, which has been in his family for over 100 years. Tracing his family lineage to the Alamo, Clay is a seventh generation Texan.
Ranch Radio's Richard Lee will serve as master of ceremonies and the reception will include music by the Drugstore Cowboys.
BBQ
A cast iron and open fire cooked chuck wagon dinner by the Ridin' the River Cowboy Fellowship, under the direction of Chief Cook Tomy Crowe, will be available for a $20 per plate donation. Dinner will include brisket, cubed pork and applesauce ragout, grilled vegetables, homemade potato salad and pinto beans, yeast dinner rolls and, for dessert, peach, cherry and blueberry cobbles. For the not-so-faint-of-heart, cowboy coffee will also be served.
Ranch Rodeo
The fun continues on Saturday night at Bandera's historic Mansfield Park for the Frontier Times Ranch Rodeo. Teams of cowboys from ranches across South Texas make their way to Bandera to compete against each other in roping, herding, bronc bustin' and other events that feature real ranching skills. Produced by Triple R Rodeo, this is one of the finest ranch rodeos in the area.
For the little buckaroos, Mutton Bustin' and Calf Scramble will be held. The rodeo also features the always-popular Dude Ranch Wranglers competition. The women from Hill Country Equestrian Lodge will compete to bring back the trophy.
Additionally, personalities from Ranch Radio will be on hand to award a free horse to the winner of their annual "So You Wanna Be a Cowboy-Cowgirl" essay contest. There will be plenty of food, cold drinks and fun on the rodeo grounds.
Gates open at 6 pm and the Grand Entry will begin at 8 pm. Ada Wharton and Sheila Fries will serve as this year's Grand Marshalls in honor of their late husbands, Rodeo Champions Ray Wharton and Scooter Fries.
Tickets for the Saturday events are $10 adults, $5 for kids ages five to 12 years with children under five admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at the gate, at the Frontier Times Museum, prior to the event, or on-line at www.frontiertimesmuseum.org.
For more information, visit the museum's website or call 830-796-3864. Proceeds from the weekend's events benefit the Frontier Times Museum, Bandera's historic, iconic and eclectic little museum.