B O O T H I L L M U S E U M
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
lawrence and gilbert krier
On February 24, 1900, Mathias and Elizabeth Krier had Lawrence A. Krier at Atchison, Kansas. On May 11, 1921, he married Josephine Fladung in Olpe, Kansas. During World War II he moved his family to Clark County where they partnered with Arnold Berends to form Krier Ranch. They brought bull calves up from Arizona and New Mexico and fattened them for market. While working for Berends, he cooperated with neighboring ranchers especially while working calves and rounding up for shipping. In those days railroads had stock pens in every western town they serviced. Cattle were driven from ranches to the pens and shipped by rail to Kansas City. The owners got to ride in the caboose for free. Sometimes Krier Ranch received cattle via rail and drove them to the Ranch. If the cattle came into Minneola, they had to drive them through town with dogs chasing after them. Once at the ranch the cattle rested up and were dehorned, castrated and branded. They often had to be doctored for screw worms. In 1948, Lawrence leased the Barth Gabbert Ranch and changed from a yearling to mother cows. At that time, they still fed with horses. Life was not free from its trials. In the early 1950s, tiny Sand Creek, which came through the ranch, flooded and grew half a mile wide. On a lighter note, once a weather balloon hit one of the feeding cows. She became tangled up in it and no matter where or how fast she ran, the balloon followed her. She spooked the rest of the herd which trampled all the feed cakes that had just been put out. In the 1980s, Lawrence began crossbreeding successful Hereford herd to do away with dehorning and prevent cancer eye which was a problem with Herefords. Lawrence Krier, Sr. died on November 13, 1984. He and Josephine leave behind six sons, all but one continued in the cattle business. Son Gilbert born on July 3, 1927, in Olpe continues his legacy. After obtaining his GED, he joined the Merchant Marines for a short time before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps receiving an Honorable Discharge in August of 1947. He worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and then attended Kansas State University for a semester where he met his wife, Mary Lael Lincoln who he married on September 8, 1949, in Emporia. In 1952, he moved his family to the Krier Ranch to assist his father, Lawrence, who broke his ankle. After brother Charles returned from Korea, Gilbert worked as a hired hand at the Dunne & Hoffman Ranch south of Ashland and Batman’s south of Meade. Later the family moved to Ashland where Gilbert worked in the oil fields for a couple of years. He then worked in the cattle business with his father and brothers while leasing the LX Ranch in January of 1960. He resides there still today and continues ranching with his two sons. He and father, Lawrence, transitioned from Hereford to black bulls in 1968 and to black cows in 1972. In 1980, they purchased registered Angus bulls from the Gardiner Angus Ranch, which are still used on the Ranch today. During his early ranching career, Gilbert competed in local rodeos in tie down roping where he was a good calf roper and rider. In 2016, Gilbert received the Ashland Chamber’s Legacy Award. He still rode horses until the age of 85. He raised his six children with good solid religious, USMC and cowboy values. In 1998, he lost his wife Mary.
Michael R. Grauer was born at Kansas City, Kansas on March 27, 1961, to Richard L. and Nancy Reed Grauer. When he was a boy, Michael began dreaming of being a cowboy on his grandparent’s farm west of Marysville. A close family friend taught him roping when he was just a toddler. By the time he was three, he was on horseback. His and his brother’s first “horse” was a Shetland pony they named Gunsmoke.
Michael’s father worked for AT&T, so the family moved around a lot in the Kansas City region, but Michael had plenty of opportunity to play sports, to enjoy outdoor activities and help on his grandpa’s farm. Michael graduated in 1979 from Oak Park High School, Kansas City, Missouri. As early as 1977, he knew his future wife, Leslie. Their lives took separate paths, but they reconnected in 2015 and were married on March 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Michael earned his first BA in Fine Arts in painting in 1983 and a second one in Art History in 1989 both at the University of Kansas. During his first four years at KU, he worked summers at the Kansas State Grain Inspection Dept. In 1989, Grauer received a MA in Art History from Southern Methodist University and, in 2018, an MA in History from West Texas A&M University.
In 1984-1985, he interned and worked at the Smithsonian American Art Museum before becoming curator of art and Western heritage and associate director at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas from 1987 to 2018. In September 2018, he became McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture/Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Grauer has curated over 150 exhibitions and has authored over 65 publications. Grauer has received accolades and honors including being named KU Kress Foundation Department of Art History’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2012. He has served as Adjunct Lecturer in Western American Studies at West Texas A&M. His 2019-2020 exhibition, “Caballeros y Vaqueros: Origins of Western Horse Culture,” received the American Association for State and Local History Award of Excellence for Leadership in History. He serves as president of the Western Cattle Trail Association; vice president of the International Chisholm Trail Association; on the boards of the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Drovers Hall of Fame; is on the research committee for the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame; the Charles M. Russell catalogue raisonne committee and the executive committee for Westerners International. Grauer lectures on art, history, and culture across the American West.
He also performs a living history cowboy presentation called “Cowboy Mike.” His book Making a Hand: The Art of H.D. Bugbee received the Western Heritage Award for Best Western Art Book of 2020. He and wife, Leslie, currently live in Oklahoma City. He has three grown children, Matthew, Hannah and Sarah, and has grandchildren, Otto, Ezra, Red and Eloise Rae.
Fredrick and Bertha Nixon Tranter had Wendell on April 5, 1928, at Eskridge, Kansas where he schooled. During his youth he spent as much time as he could on horseback helping Flint Hills ranchers with diverse cattle operations. Wendell served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
On May 30, 1951, he married Marlys Cary in Huntsville, Alabama. They had two children Andie and Tracie. Before moving in Eskridge, they lived in Bisbee, Arizona. In Eskridge, Wendell returned to his cowboy roots where he mended hundreds of miles of barbed wire fence and loading pens and chutes in the Wabaunsee County area. Helping cattle owners throughout the Flint Hills looked after and doctored cattle personally on 5,000 acres yearly. He assisted in counting cattle off the rail cars and rounding up and loading them onto cars.
In 1980, he became ranch manager for the Kansas division of the Pitchfork I and Cattle Company, managing local operations for 30 years. He broke and trained his own horses and trained horses for other ranchers from a large area. Wendell is honored here for the rodeo which he loved. He championed in calf roping, team roping and wild cow milking. He was instrumental in founding the Eskridge Labor Day Rodeo in the early 1950s along with Ed Van Petten and Bob Widau.
With the assistance of Joe and Parker Warren, and Charlie Waugh, Wendell was responsible for the arena’s construction. This Eskridge rodeo continues to this day. He is noted for over 50 of service to the Labor Day rodeo. Wendell Tranter died on July 3, 2013.
IWilliam Martin Brewer, a former slave, arrived in Kansas in 1870 driving horses for a local rancher. Born in Louisville, Kentucky on February 25, 1854, he literally bore the whip scars from his former masters. He settled in Greenwood County where he lived the remainder of his life. His first employment was helping another person search for unbranded cattle for a rancher named Johnson. Once located, they put the Johnson brand on them regardless of the cattle’s ownership. He quit only after a year or two, perhaps because this type of cattle acquisition went against Brewer’s sense of fair play. He went to work for Jackson, a rancher a few miles west of Madison.
After Jackson’s death in the early 1890s, Brewer shined shoes at the Cattleman’s Hotel in Eureka. Here, James Bradfield, a rancher on the Verdigris River discovered him. Figuring Brewer was too good a cowboy to waste his talents shining shoes, Bradfield built a house on his land for Brewer to live in through his old age in return for his labor. This was a great deal for a black man in his 40s with no family. Bradfield preceded Brewer in death, and Bill basically became the foreman of the ranch. This lasted until the Great Depression. In his 70s, Brewer was forced to leave the ranch due to the ranch being foreclosed as Bradfield’s heirs were broke.
One Brewer’s jobs on the ranch was to herd sheep, and he was proud of his sheep dog which could find sheep no matter how well hidden. Brewer was a big man and had an even bigger reputation as a fighter. Though many of his fights were for his own protection, he never started a fight. At the age of 68, Brewer boxed in an exhibition to raise money for the Olpe School.
Brewer was also a great cook with roast turkey, mountain oysters and snapping turtle among his specialties. He was also an excellent poker player which funded him later in life. He could make a team of strong mules behave by talking or yelling at them. He worked with cattle with the best. And he was never seen to be thrown off any bucking horse in the area.
After Brewer’s life at the Bradfield ranch ended, Paul and Jennie Lamoureaux in southern Lyon County employed him. Jennie being a devout Catholic, encouraged him to join the church, which he did. When he became too infirm to work, he moved to the County poor farm in Emporia where he died in 1938 at 84. He is buried in Olpe. Of course, Bill was a true cowboy. He was virtually always the only black cowboy in an all-white world.
Dr. R.C. Trotter
Though Roger C. “R.C.” Trotter was born in Dodge City on October 7, 1947, he did not live in Dodge City as a child. Instead, he grew up in small towns in Kansas. His father was T.C. Trotter. All his early jobs were in agriculture, so he was comfortable with working with dirt and animals.
On August 16, 1969, he married Mary Creswell from Minneola. They have three children, Shannon Hare, Courtney Bauer and Seth Trotter. From 1965 to 1968 Trotter attended Sterling College where he played football and ran track. He graduated with honors in 1971 from the Kansas University School of Pharmacy.
In 1974, Dr. Trotter earned a medical degree from the KU Medical School. He started his practice in Minneola, moving to Dodge City in 1982. Being trained in sports medicine, “Doc” saw the need for a physician at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. For four years he purchased his own admission ticket and “hung out” with the EMT’s who he knew from working in the hospital emergency room. Eventually the Rodeo committee constructed a medical building behind the east grandstands. R.C. spent 20 years merely serving as a physician staying out of the workings of the Rodeo.
Having been on both the Chamber of Commerce and School Boards in Dodge City, the Rodeo Committee asked Trotter to run for Vice-President of the committee. He served one year under the late state legislator, Bud Estes. When Estes resigned in 2003, R.C. took the reins as President and has served in this capacity since then. Under Trotter’s leadership, it has since flourished.
It continued to grow in pay and contestant numbers. The Dodge City Roundup Rodeo arena has undergone great improvements and the Rodeo has grown in status. In 2012, the Rodeo was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame after only being 35 years old. USA Today named the Rodeo “No. 1 Best North American Rodeo” in August 2018. Also in 2018, Trotter won the Kansas Finest Award from the Kansas Tourism Association. Doc Trotter and Mary reside in Dodge City where he still practices medicine.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
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