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Wyoming People

Inaugural inductees - Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame welcomes first class

Written 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.”

Purpose

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.”

Support

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.

Moving forward

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. 

Region One

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

Region Two 

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 

Region Three 

Paul Bruegman, 1947-2001, Cheyenne

Guy Edward Holt, 1883-1946, Cheyenne

Region Four 

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

Region Five 

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

Region Six 

Slim Whitt, 1929-2014, Ten Sleep

Region Seven

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

Region Eight

Charles A. “Chuck” Fenton, 1920-2014, Shoshoni

Frank Rhodes, 1919-2012, Thermopolis

Bill “Cody Bill” Smith, born in 1941, Thermopolis

Region Nine

Jack Hickey, born in 1929, Lonetree

Region 10

Joseph “Rex” Wardell, 1901-1977, Big Piney

 

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..