Inaugural inductees - Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame welcomes first classWritten by Saige Albert
Douglas – In an event that has been nearly 15 years in the making, the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame inducted its first class of honorees in a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 2.
“It was an amazing success,” says Scott Ratliff, president of the Board of Directors for the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame. “We had over 500 people show up for the induction ceremony and celebration.”
The Hall of Fame Inductees were welcomed and inducted by the Board of Directors and Senator Mike Enzi.
“This event was really about celebrating the first class of individuals inducted into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame,” Ratliff continued. “It is about recognizing what cowboys stand for.”
Boot Hill and Pokey’s Barbeque of Gillette catered the event, providing food and fun for the families of inductees.
While many of the members inducted into the Hall of Fame have passed, Ratliff adds, “The event allowed us to recognize people who might not otherwise have been remembered for their work. It also allows families to feel the pride in what the inductees accomplished as horsemen and women.”
At the beginning
Hall of Fame Board of Directors Vice President Russell “Pinky” Walter began working on the idea of a Cowboy Hall of Fame for Wyoming nearly 15 years ago. At the time, he says he was unable to garner enough support, but he kept in touch with Paulette Moss of Riverton to keep the idea alive.
“We kept in touch over the years,” says Walter. “Then, Scott Ratliff came up with the same idea several years ago. We got in touch and contacted people around the state.”
Soon, a statewide committee was developed, and the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame was born.
“It took a lot of time to put this together,” he comments. “We finally got organized enough to start taking nominations. This fall, we voted on them and came up with our first class of inductees.”
The Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame recognizes those cowboys of Wyoming who spent their lives dedicated to western traditions.
“The Hall of Fame is about recognizing and appreciating those individuals who spent a lifetime being a cowboy,” Ratliff says. “We aren’t talking about just rodeo cowboys. We are talking about those people who made their livelihood on horseback.”
“We’ve needed this Hall of Fame for many years,” Walter adds. “This program will do nothing but grow.”
Walter also notes that the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame has seen support from across the state.
“We’ve had some wonderful sponsors,” he comments. “Our Board members have a wide range of knowledge.”
The Board of Directors includes Ratliff, Walter, Secretary Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Treasurer Paulette Moss, Administrator Nikki Ratliff, Cindy Garretson-Weibel, Perry Askin, Wendy Auzqui, Jen Hernandez, Valerie Remick, Wade Lupher and Windy Noble.
Top financial supporters of the program, donating more than $1,000 to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame, include the Wyoming Business Council, Mitch and Dixie Maycock, Torrington Livestock Market, First Interstate Bank of Gillette, Boot Hill and Pokey’s BBQ, Kim Medicis, Alice Vollman and The Wrangler Horse and Rodeo News.
Ratliff notes that currently, the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame exists only as a virtual museum.
“Our first class of Hall of Famers will be available online very soon,” he says. “Our next goal is to obtain the resources to capture as much as we can on video.”
By capturing the thoughts of family members, friends and others about the inductees on video, Ratliff hopes to highlight the accomplishments of the individuals and remember their memories.
Walter adds, “We have also had interest from several places about a permanent Hall of Fame. We are a ways away from that right now, but we will figure it out.”
With promise that the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame will continue to grow for many years, the Board of Directors sees a bright future for the endeavor.
“We want to continue to recognize more cowboys every year,” Ratliff comments. “We couldn’t be happier with how the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame has turned out.”
First class of inductees
The first 34 members of the Wyoming Hall of Fame were inducted on Nov. 2 in Douglas at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds. Inductees and their hometowns are listed below.
Edwin Earl “Cam” Camblin, 1877-1950, Gillette
William B. “Will” Jones, born in 1933, Powder River country
Joseph Michael Maycock, 1873-1946, Gillette
Charles “Ellis” Reynolds, born in 1924, Moorcroft
Les Gore, 1925, Wheatland
Robert Mills “Bob” Grant, 1926-2012, Wheatland
James Clay “Jim” Hageman, 1930-2006, Douglas
Anthony Wilkinson “Andy” Sedgwick, 1882-1964, Cheyenne River country
Anthony, 1838-1894, and John, 1845-1914, Wilkinson, Laramie County
Paul Bruegman, 1947-2001, Cheyenne
Guy Edward Holt, 1883-1946, Cheyenne
Billie Jean Shepperson Beaton, 1919-2014, Midwest
John Charles “Jack” Esau, 1891-1973, Douglas
Richard Quay “Dick” Hornbuckle, 1893-1959, Douglas
James Edward “Jamis” Johnson, born in 1943, Bates Hole country
Robert W. “Bob” Manning, 1929-2006, Lost Springs
J. Ralph “Scotty” Scott, 1902-1982, Douglas
Rhea “Bud” Tillard, born in 1923, Douglas
Nate Champion, 1857-1892, Kaycee
John Robert “Cub” Forbes, born in 1950, Kaycee
Raymond D. Hutson, born 1938, Sheridan
Ben C. “Benny” Reynolds, born 1942, Sheridan
Howard “Jack” Wesley Sipe, Sr., 1938-2011, Sheridan
Slim Whitt, 1929-2014, Ten Sleep
Tim Barkhurst, born in 1939, Saratoga
Frank N. “Fearless” Carroll, 1919-2013, Encampment
Ronald “Ron” Garretson, born in 1942, Elk Mountain
Cecil “Ray” Weber, born in 1932, Baggs
Charles A. “Chuck” Fenton, 1920-2014, Shoshoni
Frank Rhodes, 1919-2012, Thermopolis
Bill “Cody Bill” Smith, born in 1941, Thermopolis
Jack Hickey, born in 1929, Lonetree
Joseph “Rex” Wardell, 1901-1977, Big Piney