Rodeo Hall of Fame

Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame board member Marie Smith helps hang the new exhibit at the local museum to showcase the newest inductees.

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It’s moving day at the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame. Not so much that it’s going anywhere, having settled in on Pearl Street in the Western Culture & Art Center a little over a year ago.

More of a moving day for the newest exhibitions, now that the ProRodeo Hall of Fame rodeo has wrapped up another great rodeo.

The Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame rearranged its centerpiece display in the gallery to include photographs and memorabilia of the 2021 inductees Fritz Truran and “Dynamite,” which were on display at the Western Village during rodeo week.

It’s a good collection and a prominent display that will remain up for the next several months.

“We try to rotate the exhibits every three-four months,” board member Marie Smith, who along with Judy Thomas changed out the exhibit last week. “We’re continuing to build the collection. It’s all gifted.

“As people pass away or clean out rooms and find things, they bring them to us. So, we’re continuously getting new things from the public. A lot of people here from Ellensburg.”

The latest inductees take center stage. Frederic Gregg “Fritz” Truran (1916-45) was not a ranch-raised cowboy, but through hard work and a little grit, he became one of the best saddle bronc riders in the Cowboy Turtles Association.

He won the coveted Madison Square Garden and World Saddle Bronc Riding Championships in 1939. The following year, he repeated, adding Pendleton’s prestigious Sam Jackson Trophy and a World All-Around Championship title to his rodeo resume.

Dynamite was a famed bronc from Leo Moomaw’s (1894-1969) Colville reservation bucking horse string. Over Dynamite’s lengthy career (1919-1937), he bucked off many of the top bronc riders, including world champion Howard Tegland at the Ellensburg Rodeo and world champion Frank Woods.

The exhibit straight away from “Fritz” Truran and Dynamite was a display is what makes the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame unique and to its own. There is one of the first rodeo posters from the early 1920s and a classic handbill from 1984 when the first family of country music, Johnny Cash and June Carter, played the arena.

“This poster is not the original from 1923, but one of the very first ones. The image was reused later. Johnny Cash and June Carter playing here was pretty cool. The concert was actually put on by the fair.”

The room has its permanent displays, giving it an anchor to build and reshape around. The center that once displayed and paid tribute to longtime stock contractor Frank Beard and his wife Charlot, now showcases the likes of Fritz Truran and Dynamite.

Clymer Foundation and executive committee president Nancy Schnebly was the lucky winner of a Kathi Murphy handmade quilt from this year’s auction and fundraiser.

Rodney Harwood: award-winning journalist and columnist. Lover of golf and the written word. I can be reached at rharwood@kvnews.com

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