By Julia Jones, Correspondent
A local VFW post looked more like a rodeo on Saturday as about 100 cowboy hats filled the main room for a celebration of all things western.
The Bell County Cowboy/Cowgirl Hall of Fame inducted six new members on Saturday, June 24 at VFW Post 4008. The celebration began with a barbecue lunch and an auction to raise money for the organization, then focused on honoring the inductees. Secretary Julie Oglesby, who was inducted in 2008, explained why this event is important to her and to the community.
“It’s very near and dear to my heart and if I talk about it too much I well up and cry because all these guys I grew up around,” Oglesby said. “Rodeo was our lifestyle when I was a kid.
It all deeply means a lot to me that we don’t lose the history.”
The Hall of Fame was started for that purpose–to remember the impact that cowboys and cowgirls had on history. President Jim Howell expressed why he believes the inductees should be proud.
“It’s really an honor because it’s kind of steadily fading away,” Howell said. “We’ve got a bunch of good old people out there and we’ve got a few young cowboys and cowgirls who are coming up also.”
The inductees were David Shepperd, Dennis Lisenbe, Chris Hammack, Ronald White, Bobbie Moore Jr. and Thomas Bever. They were nominated by a committee that examines candidates based on their involvement in western life. Julie Oglesby gave a description of the different types of people that can be inducted.
“There are several different categories,” Oglesby said. “We have a merit that includes artists, poets, people who help on ranches…and actual cowboys that rodeoed, cowgirls that rodeoed, and ranchers–people that actually ride cattle for a living.”
The Hall of Fame had been working with County Commissioner Bill Schumann to find a permanent home to showcase the history of both the inductees and western life in Central Texas. Texas House Rep. Hugh Shine announced at the ceremony that this new home will be located in the Bell County Expo Center inside the new equestrian center. Schumann got involved to help preserve what he thinks is valuable educational information for the future.
“We’re just trying to protect the heritage and just trying to keep it part of history so that future generations can have something to look at and refer to,” Schumann said.
The new equestrian center in the Expo Center is expected to be complete by summer 2018.