The Duncan Banner
Those at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center are tossing their hats in the air over the success of this year’s National Day of the Cowboy.
In the past three years, the most people that have shown up for the event was 150. In its fourth year, National Day of the Cowboy drew in 481 people of all ages on Saturday.
“It went great,” said Leah Mulkey, CTHC education coordinator. “We stayed busy and people were here until 5 p.m. I know Fred Whitfield being here had a lot to do with it.”
Whitfield is an eight-time PRCA World Champion Roper and a living legend as a highly successful black rodeo competitor.
In the first 30 minutes of the event, Mulkey said there was already a crowd waiting to meet Whitfield and buy his book “Gold Buckles Don’t Lie: The Untold Tale of Fred Whitfield.”
“He had a good time too and it was nice to meet him,” said Mulkey.
“He signed cowboy hats and took photos for kids. He even got out into the interactive area to give Stacy (Cramer Moore, CTHC director) and some of the kids roping lessons.”
In addition to Whitfield, Wallace Moore, author of “Ebony Horse Soldiers,” did a bit of reading from his book. As a profession re-enactor, his animation drew attention.
The theme this year for the event was Black Cowboy: Tall Tale or Top Hand and the public seemed to enjoy learning more about the subject from the visitors, Mulkey said.
The children’s area stayed busy and face painting was a popular activity. A laser shooting game was a new activity; one that was liked by adults and the children.
“The longhorn herd was supposed to be there but they weren’t able to round them up,” said Mulkey. “The cowboys did come in all dressed up and on their horses though and they were surprised by how many people came up to them to talk and to pet the horses.”
Next year’s focus for National Day of the Cowboy will be celebrating Allan Houser’s 100th birthday. Houser was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator born June 30, 1914 in Oklahoma. He passed away Aug. 22, 1994.
“We’re celebrating Allan Houser’s 100 birthday with 12 other museums in Oklahoma next year,” Mulkey said. “We’re going to try to find something to focus on that (for National Day of the Cowboy).”