Sunday, January 16, 2011

Buckaroos – Not Rhinestone Cowboys

The Buckaroo Hall of Fame
The Winnemucca Convention Center
30 West Winnemucca Boulevard
Winnemucca, Nevada 89445

"Where the Old West still lives -- in the Great Basin areas of Oregon, Nevada and Idaho -- they call themselves Buckaroos, not cowboys.

It's an important distinction in the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in Winnemucca, Nevada. Here you will find no rhinestone rodeo cowboys, no Hollywood cowboys in white hats, but real working cattlemen & horsemen who lived, or still live, anywhere within 200 miles of Winnemucca, Nevada.

The town itself is a holdover from the Wild West, the place where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made their last big haul and got away clean -- and where the more law-abiding cattlemen of the day came in to get supplies, to find work, to take care of business and have a bit of pleasure.

Today, the big visitor's center on Main Street looks like a cross between an Old West gambling hall and a sports arena, and the new and growing Buckaroo Hall of Fame occupies pride of place on the ground floor. Here you will find artwork, photos and memorabilia... saddles, guns, braided riatas (hand-woven lariats), brands and other working gear used by Buckaroos.

It was Carl Hammond, then of Golconda, Nevada, who first got the idea for the Buckaroo Hall of Fame. His great uncle Frank, and his father, Francis Hammond were life-long working Buckaroos. "They were the reason I started it; Dad took me on the buckaroo wagons when I was 6 and 7, back in the early 60's when there were no fences, and it was still open range in Nevada," recalls Carl, raised in proper buckaroo tradition.

It is to preserve that vanishing history that the Buckaroo Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1989. Three buckaroos were inducted into the Hall of Fame that first year, and three or four more have been inducted every year since then. The result is a low-keyed but unsparingly authentic glimpse of what the life of a buckaroo was really like."

[CCAI extends best wishes to Carl and his remarkable family. Text and graphic from Hall of Fame website.]

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