B O O T H I L L M U S E U M
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
George Herrmann was born on April 18, 1924, in Hodgeman County, to John Henry and Mary Elizabeth (Lobmeyer) Herrmann. George grew up on the family farm near Kinsley, Kansas. On October 7, 1948, he married Rita Pauline Vogel at Wright, KS. They lived in Hodgeman County, where he farmed, ranched and built a small feed yard. In 1963, they moved to Dodge City and in 1972 to Ford, where along with Sam Davis, Tom Shirley, Ray Kimsey and Art Ebner, George built Ford County Feed Yard, Inc. He was the general manager of the feed yard until his retirement and served as chairman of the board until his death. George was an avid farmer and rancher and owned ranches in Kansas and New Mexico. George and Pauline built and owned the Blue Hereford Restaurant and Convenience Store in Ford. George was a proud member of the Kansas Livestock Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Meat Export Federation. He served on the First National Bank board in Dodge City and the Production Credit Association Board. He was an ardent sponsor of Dodge City Roundup and the local 4-H Clubs. George’s last accomplishment was writing the book “Little Did I Know,” memoir of a Kansas cattleman. George was a member of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Dodge City. He was a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus of Dodge City. He had six sons, Ronnie, Tom, John, David, Danny and Mark, who preceded him in death, and a daughter, Mary Michelle, He died at the age of 86 on March 23, 2011, in Bucklin. He left 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“Little did I know."
On December 21, 1837, Joseph Geiting McCoy was born on a farm in Sangamon County, Illinois to David and Mary (Kirkpatrick) McCoy. He schooled in the local area and spent one year at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. In 1861, he married Sarah Epler and began raising mules and cattle. McCoy is the founder of the Great Western Stockyards at Abilene, Kansas. Through his efforts the Chisholm Trail became the primary route for cowboys driving their herds of Texas longhorn cattle from Texas to Abilene. Joseph McCoy transformed the cattle business into a national industry. He was able to overcome the obstacle of a tick borne disease, Texas fever. Longhorns were immune to it, but they passed it onto other types of cattle to which it was fatal. McCoy joined the interests of the railroads, which wanted to expand freighting in the west, with that of the Texans wanting to sell their cattle back east. He advertised in Texas to lure the herders to the market in Abilene, and in 1867 the first herds arrived. Rival cow towns emerged and McCoy moved on to these new venues. According to accounts, McCoy bragged he would bring 200,000 heads up in 10 years, when in truth, two million heads passed through in only four years. Some argue the phrase "It's the real McCoy" was inspired by McCoy. Drawing on his understanding of the cattle industry from rancher to packer, McCoy wrote Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest. Published in 1874, this work established McCoy as the first cowboy historian and it is a primary source for our understanding of the era of the big cattle drive and the inner workings of cattle marketing during its formative years.
“Among the earliest vocations spoken of by the sacred historian is that of the producers of livestock...."
Gail Leon McComb was born in Stockton, KS on Nov. 12, 1928 to Leon and Florence McComb. He built a rodeo arena at the age of 19 where rodeos were held in 1949-50. He began competing in 1948, but became ineligible for ranch rodeos when he joined the RCA in 1949. McComb & Sons stock contractors consisting of Gail, his father and brother Keith began producing amateur rodeos in 1951. Gail won the ACA saddle bronc championship in 1951 despite an injured knee. In May 1952, he married Donna Miller. They have three daughters, Kathy Rees, Michele Kee and Melanie Hoch. In August of 1952, he was kicked in the ribs by a bareback horse. Though he qualified for champion saddle bronc rider and all-around cowboy of the ACA, he was unable to compete in the finals and retired from competition due to his injuries. He continued producing rodeos with McComb & Sons for the next 21 years. They produced rodeos in 48 towns, 30 which were in Kansas. They turned out bucking horses of the year 1964-66 (Western States Rodeo Association) and 1969-70 (Nebraska State Rodeo Association), as well as bareback horses in 1970 (NSRA). Gail held memberships in the RCA, ACA, KACA, WSRA and NSRA. Many of those who participated with McComb & Sons became well known. In 1972, Gail sold his business interest to his brother Keith when he was elected Rooks County Sheriff. After serving two years, he was on the Stockton Police Dept. from 1975 to 1977. Gail was a Stockton City Commissioner 1993-98. He sold real estate and was a scales/weight man for area sale barns for many years. In 1995, he sold his Hereford cow herd and retired. Since then he has written articles for Kansas Cowboy, Stockton Sentinel newspaper and Solomon Valley Anthology.
“Get back on the horse and ride."
On April 6, 1915, Harold Riley Grinstead was born to William and Elsa Grinstead in Deerfield, KS. In 1921, the family moved to Colorado. At 14, he entered his first rodeo. He married Hazel Heckart on June 1, 1936. They had seven children, Harold Richard, Billy Joe, Dorothy Marie, Arthur Earl, Nancy Irene, Terry Lee and Dianna Sue. In 1936, he began working with cattle west of Pueblo, CO. In 1944, Harold and Hazel moved to Syracuse, KS to run cattle for Hugh Ford and to work the sale barn on Saturdays. In 1963, the family moved briefly to Paradise, KS before going back to southwest Kansas where Harold and son, Bill, started a custom hay and grain hauling business. In 1974, Harold began doing what really made him happy - riding a horse through pens for Aid Feed yard in Syracuse. For the next 10 years, he worked for feed yards in Hamilton and Stanton Counties as a cowboy or boss. During this time, he became involved in The International Feedlot Cowboy Association. For 24 out of 25 years, he and his wife traveled to Nevada for the IFCA finals. From 1984 to his retirement in 1996 he worked at the Hamilton County Landfill. He remained active until suffering a heart attack during celebrity roping at the PRCA rodeo in Dodge City 1999. He was a charter member of the Syracuse Saddle Club, belonged to the IFCA and was a United States Team Roping Championship Gold Card Member. He won the IFCA Top Hand Award in 1988 and 1998, was the Bob Majors Open Roping champion in 1989, roped in Garden and Dodge City Pro Rodeo Celebrity roping and was awarded numerous prizes at the USTRC and local team ropings. His proudest moments were while roping in these contests. Harold passed away on April 5, 2009, one day before his 94th birthday.
“I've been roping since I've been big enough to throw a rope."
Charlie Norton was born Nov. 25, 1942 in Scott City, KS to Walter and Francis Norton. He spent his early years in Leoti and Wallace County, KS. He went to work for Asher Crowley in the late 1950's and early 1960's. In 1964, he joined the Army. After the military, he married Patricia J. Schulz, of Lakin, KS. They first lived in Ft. Morgan, CO where Pat taught school. In the spring of 1967, they moved to Leoti, KS where Charlie worked at the Hi-Plains Feedlot for John Carr and Asher Crowley. In late 1968, Charlie and family went to Sturgis, SD where he attended the Golden Leaf Farriers College. In 1969, he began shoeing horses in western Kansas and eastern Colorado, including those in 15 feedlots. His interests are painting, sculpting, silversmithing, saddle, chap, holster and spur making. In 1973 he cast his first bronze. Charlie phased from full time farrier to full time artist. He has been commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service and has made many bronze awards for various organizations. Unveiled in 2004, the "Birthplace of a Legend," his sculpture of Buffalo Bill at Oakley, was chosen as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. He has sculpted many other large bronze statues in western Kansas. He is a charter member of the Sharps Collectors Assn and belongs to the NRA. Charlie and Pat have three children, Tonya, Tanner and Carson, and six grandchildren.
"[Horseshoeing] keeps me grounded to the past.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
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