B O O T H I L L M U S E U M
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
Dan D. Casement
Dan D. Casement was born in 1868. In his early years he grew up in Ohio moving away to attend Princeton and Columbia Universities. He later resided in Colorado where he ran a ranch and helped his father build a railroad. When he was 21 his father gave him his Kansas land, but Casement did not become resident operator of Juniata Farms at Manhattan until 1915. With the outbreak of World War I he went overseas in 1917. Though he was 49, he insisted on serving his country. Dan was a founder of the American Quarter Horse Association and was one of the first two Kansans to be inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. For more than three decades he won carload entries at stock shows. He and his wife Olivia raised three children, Mary, Francis and Jack. Dan died in 1953; Olivia had died earlier in 1942. His children are gone and his descendants have scattered across the country, but his legacy lives on in his writings. He wrote extensively for the American Hereford Association of which he was an honorary lifetime member. He served as an expert for the National Cattlemen and the Kansas Livestock Association. Dan loved the land and the livestock that dwelled on it. He was known for being outspokenly honest and had a great rapport with other livestock men in his travels.
“It goes without saying that a good cowman is likewise a good horseman.”
Bill Kurtis was born on Sept. 21, 1940 to Wilma M. and William A. Kurtis in Pensacola, FL where his father was a Marine Corps general. After his father’s service the family settled in Independence, KS. Bill first broadcast at KIND-AM radio at Independence Junior College. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1962 with a B.S. in Journalism. He obtained a Juris Doctor in 1966 at Washburn University School of Law. Bill began his TV career anchoring at WIBW-TV in Topeka. In 1966 he gained prominence when a tornado hit the capital city. After warning his viewers, he stayed on the air for 24 hours covering the devastation. He soon headed for Chicago to work at WBBM-TV News where he moved into the anchor position. In 1982 he joined network TV as anchor on the CBS Morning News. Three years later he returned to Chicago to produce documentaries for the Peabody Award winning series The New Explorers and to serve as anchorman for WBBM-TV until 1996. In 1990 he started Kurtis Productions, which produces shows for the A&E network. Bill frequently hosts and narrates on A&E for Cold Case Files and American Justice. During his career Bill has received numerous honors and awards, including over 20 Emmys, the Cable Ace Award, a Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Thurgood Marshall Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago International TV Awards, the Illinois Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters 2003 Hall of Fame Award. Since the early 2000’s Kurtis has been active in the promotion and raising of grass-fed beef. He owns the 10,000 acre Red Buffalo Ranch in southeast Kansas and founded the Tallgrass Beef Company.
“For God’s sake, take cover!” (warning viewers of the 1966 Topeka tornado)
Melvin Fields was born to Merle and Edith Fields at their family farm near Wayside, KS in Montgomery County on August 2, 1938. Melvin began riding horses when he was four years old as he worked on the farm. By the time he was nine, he knew rodeo was his passion. At the age of 15 he experimented with bareback and bull riding. His first rodeo was at Altamont, KS where he won the bull riding competition in 1954. In 1956 he won the All-Around at the Kansas High School Rodeo Finals and came in second at the Nationals in Reno, Nevada. Melvin competed in five events during his two-year amateur rodeo career – bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, calf roping and bulldogging. He began his clown career in 1958 working with famous clowns John Lindsey, Bobby and Gene Clark, Jerry Olsen, Kajun Kidd, Junior Meek, Buck LeGrand and Wiley McCray. From 1961 through 1963 Melvin competed only in weekend rodeos while stationed at the Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville, Alabama as he served his country in the U.S. Army. From 1964 until his retirement in 1971 he won numerous riding events and placed 11 times in bull riding at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. After retiring, he became a rodeo judge and coached at Coffeyville Community College from 1982-4. Melvin has raised and trained quarter horses and paint horses, and for several years was manager of country singer Roy Clark’s Horse Farm. For 20 years he has served as a consultant for the mechanical and construction firm Logan And Company and has been a liaison between them and the Coffeyville Resources Refinery. Melvin continues to work with young people in the rodeo field and attends numerous rodeos and rodeo reunions across the country.
William Ronald ‘Buck’ Mead was born October 20, 1914 to William Robert and Eunice Mae Mead north of Mullinville, Kansas. On March 14, 1937 he married Ruth Hopkins in Greensburg, Kansas. They had a son, Ronnie, and two daughters, Marjorie and Karen. Buck was a cowboy who worked many ranches in Kiowa County, including the Robbins, Greenleaf, Parkin and Pyle. He also ranched in Clark, Comanche and Ford Counties. Buck had worked for the late George Broadie. Though Buck was primarily a working cowboy, he did participate in some rodeos in team tying and calf roping. He moved to Kiowa County in 1981 and was a member of the Kiowa County Saddle Club. In 1987 Buck was named “Outstanding Cowboy” at the Clark County Fair Parade. Buck was so highly regarded that in March 1988 The Cowboy Supply Store in Greensburg named him their first “Cowboy of the Year” and celebrated “Buck Mead Days.” On October 14, 1995 Buck Mead died just a few days before his 81st birthday.
“…I rode broncos on all the ranches and rode all day instead of eight seconds!”
Lance Brittan is a native of western Kansas. He was born in April 1974 and grew up near Scott City around horses and cattle. He attended Garden City Community College for a year on a baseball scholarship. His rodeo career got off to a rocky start when he began riding bulls at the age of 19. He spent more money than he got and he got hurt most of the time. His career took off when it dawned on him to switch from bull riding to bullfighting when he saw bullfighters getting checks every weekend for something he grew up doing. By December of 1995 he attained professional status. In 1997 he became eligible for the Wrangler Bullfight Tour. The very next year he qualified for the finals becoming one of the top six bullfighters in the world. In 1999, in only his fourth year as a professional, he competed against four former champions in the toughest Wrangler Bullfight Tour Finals in history to win the championship. Lance still bullfights and protects cowboys in top rodeos around the country including Denver National Western, Rodeo Austin, Greeley Stampede, the Casper Wyoming Snake River Stampede and the Dodge City Days Round-Up Rodeo. He currently resides in Colorado with his wife, Cami and their two daughters, Madison and Morgan, who travel with him to a majority of his rodeos.
“It truly is a family affair. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
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