PRCA Hall of Fame is a great place to visit
The end of March I spent a couple days in Colorado Springs. My sis had surgery and I went to offer moral support (actually more like harassment). She had surgery early Monday morning and came through with flying colors. But while she was sleeping off a pretty good dose of anesthetic I thought the PRCA Hall of Fame would be a good place to visit while she was sleeping. Really a good dose of anesthetic is a whole lot like a good drunk, just sleep it off.
I hadn’t been to the Hall of Fame in quite a few years and I knew they had added on to it, so off I went on Monday afternoon. I should have known better! Nothing is open on Monday. Well, they would be after April 1st, but this was the end of March.
But the trip wasn’t a total loss. I spent some time at the bronze outside. “The Champ” as it’s called is Casey on Necktie. The statue is about double life size and is really a “work of art,” only this really is! It was sculptured by Edd Hayes. The attention to detail is unreal.
And about as interesting as the statue is some of the donors that paid for it. Of course, Casey was among them, but Charlie Daniels and his wife, and the Charlie Daniels band also were major contributors.
Once inside, the last time I was there considerable space was devoted to Jim Shoulders, as well it should be. I think he won a total of 12 world championships – seven in the bull riding and five all arounds. Then there were about as many runners-up, so all told, Jim Shoulders is pretty legendary.
I got to see him ride a few times when I was younger, but usually only at Cheyenne. But when he stopped competing, and went to contracting, I got fairly well acquainted with him. He was a character. Jim always had fun, and was always ready for some gag or another.
He was the contractor for the National High School Finals at Topeka, Kan., in 1968. John Hutson and I announced that. What an experience!
The rodeo was held at the Kansas State Fair Grounds, which was a race car track. To hold the rodeo, they filled the infield with dirt and sand, then set up chutes and a portable panels. Really nothing wrong with the idea or the set up, except for one slight problem. They hadn’t figured on the rain, or at least that much rain.
On Monday, we ran all the cutting horses, and were going to start with the rodeo events Tuesday afternoon. Late Monday afternoon it started raining, and rained all night. By Tuesday morning the arena was a lake.
There was no choice, Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 we started the first performance. Somehow we managed, and it rained again Tuesday afternoon but quit about an hour before the evening performance. The lake was a little fuller.
When Jim Shoulders contracted a rodeo, he ran things. He was riding a big buckskin horse that was broke to death. It was probably Wednesday afternoon or could have been Thursday, and Gerald Roberts was one of the rough stock judges. We were just starting the afternoon performance, and introducing everyone. Gerald was making his was across the arena wearing five buckle overshoes, when John introduced Jim Shoulders, the stock contractor.
Jim busted into the arena on that buckskin horse, full bore in the mud, and got right behind Gerald when he set that horse into a slide and just sent a wall of mud and water. Gerald was covered. That was Jim Shoulders! Most of us would have easily walked a horse into that arena, but not Jim. I don’t think the man ever had any fear of anything.
At the Hall of Fame, there is a lot about many of the rodeo greats, and a few not so great. Don’t plan on stopping for a potty break and spending half an hour. I don’t think you could see it all in a full day. And, it’s not just cowboys of yesterday, there are some of the modern day greats also. Rodeo has forced the expansion of the Hall Of Fame.
Bill Linderman is another that took up a fair amount of space, and well earned. Toots Mansfield, Dean Oliver, Shoat Webster, Clown and Bull Fighters, Benny Bender and Wilbur Plaugher are there too. Wilbur was one of the most athletic big men I ever saw.
I like museums. If you don’t want to go to Colorado Springs, Colo., then you might consider the museum Kings has put behind the store in Sheridan, Wyo. Here again, don’t plan on being there a hour and seeing it all. I’ve been there several times, was there just last fall, and I don’t think I have still seen it all.
Getting to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame isn’t difficult, Take exit 148 off 1-25 and that will be Rockrimmon Blvd. Just about a quarter mile on Rockrimmon turn left on Rodeo Drive, and again left into the parking lot. Really pretty simple.
Oh yes, my sis is making a complete recovery, and will have only three radiation treatments, one a month, and no chemo. Thank you Lord!