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Museum honors three for Texas Heroes Hall of Honor

By Rebecca Norton Museum Director

The Frontier Times Museum will celebrate the National Day of the American Cowboy by inducting three Texans into its Heroes Hall of Honor. This year’s class of 2017 will induct community benefactor Phil Becker, World Champion Barrel Racer Callie duPerier Apffel, and, posthumously, local history patron David Burell. The ceremony and reception is one part of the annual celebration that will be Saturday, July 22.
The ceremony will begin at noon on the Bandera County Courthouse lawn and is free and open to the public. A display area in the Frontier Times Museum (located at 510 13th St.) will showcase highlights of each inductee’s life and career.
Phillip F. Becker,
Community Benefactor
Phil Becker is a rancher and businessman who has worked hard all of his life. Born in San Antonio, he moved to Bandera in the 1960s where he worked to help make his adopted home a good place to raise a family. Following his strong desire to get things done, he has been a volunteer and supporter of all-things-Bandera.
As a supporter of young people, he has been active in the Junior Livestock Show, providing 4-H and FFA members the opportunities to further their agricultural, leadership and higher education goals. Along with State Senator Bill Sims and Ray Buck, Becker help draft a state bill that created the Bandera Water District.
Becker also bought an old locker plant on Main Street and donated the building to the county for use as an EMS station along with an ambulance.
During Bandera’s great flood of 1978, Becker used his personal helicopter to warn people along the river of the approaching floodwaters, an act that saved an untold number of lives. He also used his helicopter to deliver much needed ice and goods.
In 2013, he achieved the honor of serving as a Mason for 50 years. A former Bandera Lodge Worshipful Master, he has served in all local and several state offices.
A huge supporter of law and order, Mr. Becker has served as a reserve deputy in the Bandera County Sheriff’s Department since 1977.
During the induction ceremony, Sheriff Dan Butts will present and retire Mr. Becker’s badge. Through his tireless efforts, Mr. Becker has indeed made Bandera a better place to raise a family.
Callie duPerier Apffel, World Champion Barrel Racer
A self-proclaimed horse-crazy girl, Callie duPerier Apffel is actually allergic to horses and hay. But this has not stopped her from following her passion for barrel racing and rodeos.
Growing up in Medina, Texas, duPerier Apffel began running barrels at the age of 12. By 2010, at the age of 16 and with only three years’ experience in the rodeo arena, duPerier Apffel took the Junior World Title at the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Callie’s main horse, Rare Dillion (“Dillon”), is a veteran of barrel racing, having gone to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times with two other riders. Dillon led duPerier Apffel to finish third in the Rookie-of-the-Year race and 25th in the world standing in 2014. This provided her with the confidence to win numerous other rodeo championships.
In 2015, duPerier Apffel went “all the way” and won the World Champion Barrel Racer title. This has earned her a place on Bandera’s World Champion monument on the courthouse lawn.
Callie duPerier Apffel — the first woman to be listed on the monument — takes her place among other notable rodeo legends, including Toots Mansfield, Ray Wharton, Scooter Fries and Todd Whitewood, all fellow Texas Heroes inductees.
David Burell,
History Patron
David Burell was a champion of all things cowboy. He was determined to promote and preserve the history that made Bandera the Cowboy Capital of the World. The honor of inducting Burell into the Texas Hall of Heroes will be given posthumously, due to his sudden death at the end of 2016.
Burell was a member of the Bandera County Historical Commission and the Bandera Cattle Company of gunfighters. For the Frontier Times Museum, he famously dressed as an old-time sheriff to patrol the county’s 1881 jailhouse during the museum’s Jailhouse Art Shows.
In an effort to promote tourism in Bandera, Burell developed and organized a public arts mural program depicting scenes from the cattle drives that once passed through town. Burell, working with artist and fellow Texas Heroes inductee Bill Stevens, was instrumental in placing large murals on the exterior walls of two downtown buildings. A third mural was in the process of being developed at the time of his death.
Burell’s greatest legacy was to help establish the Great Western Cattle Trail Association, to preserve the history of the cattle trail that linked Bandera with Dodge City, Kansas, and towns further north.
Organizing a trail drive up the Western Trail in 2005, Burell and his trail drivers placed historical markers along the trail. They rode through towns in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to mark the trail cowboys once blazed as they drove cattle from South Texas to markets up north.
Last year, Burell persuaded the association to hold their 2017 national meeting in Bandera. The South Texas Great Western Cattle Trail Association chapter will host this year’s meeting the first weekend of August in honor of David Burell.