B O O T H I L L M U S E U M
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
“Practice, practice, practice, can make you better…”
Rosie Rezac was born in Emmett, Kansas to Matthew and Bernice Wilson Rezac on February 17, 1935. She was raised on a farm near Onaga. From an early age she did almost any farm chore including milking cows, slopping the hogs, helping pull calves and driving tractors. She developed a fondness for horses and riding skills early in life. By the time she was a teenager, her work riding was in demand by her neighbors. She helped with cattle roundups, assisted in day work, and excelled at roping stray calves and yearlings. As a member of the Pottawatomie County 4-H club, she competed in horseshows – the faster the event, the better. She began competing in other shows in neighboring counties going all the way to the State Fair. Her talent for training and breaking colts became known throughout the neighborhood and beyond. After graduation from Onaga High School in 1952, she worked her way through college at Kansas State University earning a BS in Education in 1958. Though she had no children of her own, children were important in her life, and she was important in the lives of children. Rosie’s first teaching job was in a one-room school in Wabaunsee County. She also taught school Geary County Country School, Junction City Junior High and Council Grove Elementary School. She taught more than 41 years before retiring to ranching full-time. All through her teaching career she was active in ranching and horsemanship. Rosie was instrumental in forming the Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association and was a charter member. She became best friends with Faye Peck Heath who shared her interest in riding and showing horses. If one was at a horse event, the other was usually there as well. Though they often competed against each other and wanted to win, contests were undertaken in good spirit. Rosie took up farriering, shoeing horses for prominent working ranchers in eastern Kansas. Rosie held memberships numerous saddle and horse organizations. She was a lifetime member of the Morris County 4-H Foundation. For five years Rosie was a High Point EKHA Yearend Rider in the 18 and older division. In May 1966, she received a Master’s in Education from Kansas State Teacher’s College. That same month, on May 5, she married successful farmer and rancher, Earl Clymer, in Kelso, Kansas. The marriage ended with the death of Earl on August 29, 1974. During their time together were a powerful team. She repaired machinery, followed strict stocking rates for native and tame grass pastures, and bred and showed Arabian horses. Toward the end of her life, she was a lay minister, dressing to play the role of 19th century circuit rider. She was president of the Santa Fe Trail Parish Council. On November 4, 2000, Rosie Clymer died at her ranch in rural Morris County.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame connection: Rosie was best friends with, and competed against, KCHF 2020 Rodeo Cowgirl, Faye Peck Heath.
Rosie was instrumental in forming the Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association and was a charter member. Though she had no children of her own, children were important in her life, and she was important in the lives of children.
“Let George do it.” What people said when they wanted something done.
Though he was raised in Kansas, George R. Henrichs was born to George R. and Sylvia H. Henrichs in Miller, South Dakota on February 3, 1929. He grew up in Phillipsburg, Kansas graduating from Phillipsburg High School. On August 21, 1949, he married Norva Jeanne Wolfe in Phillipsburg, Kansas. They had three sons, Kent (Marcia), Dr. Kelly (Ronnetta) and Dr. Kirk (Jill). In 1953, he graduated from Kansas State University. As an Army ROTC student, he did his active-duty time from 1954 to 1956. After the Army he was assistant manager of Montgomery Wards in Newton, Kansas. Later he was transferred to the store in Dodge City. It was there his career as a cowboy historian took off. George served as executive director of Boot Hill Museum from 1959 to 1977. During his tenure, he guided the Museum’s growth from a single building to the entire Front Street replica and the addition of other auxiliary buildings. George remained on the Museum’s board of directors from 1979 to 2008, which he presided over part of that time. While he was at the Museum, he was instrumental in the development of its Santa Fe Trail rut site west of Dodge City. He was a lifetime member of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce and served as chairman 1967, 1976 and 1987. George has also chaired the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was chairman of the Dodge City Centennial in 1972. George was a founding member of Dodge City Days Roundup Rodeo, has been parade marshal for the Dodge City Days parade, and has chaired Dodge City Days. On two occasions he was chairman of the Dodge City United Way. George and Norva Jeanne purchased the Silver Spur Lodge, Restaurant and Conference Center in 1977 which they owned until 1998. He became active in the travel and tourism business. George served as president of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality and the Kansas Lodging Associations. He was a founder of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK). U.S. Senator Pat Roberts appointed Henrichs to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. He served the Midwest region of Best Western International as governor. He was a member of the Kansas State Highway Commission from 1974 to 1985 and he has been president of both the National Highway 50 and Highway 56 Associations. George was a member of Dodge City Kiwanis Club rising the office of president. During his time at the Silver Spur, he was an adjunct instructor at Dodge City Community College teaching Kansas History for over 10 years. As an historian he gave many presentations about Dodge City and the “old west.” He also wrote “The Dodge City Story” and penned many articles about western history. Because of George’s love of Boot Hill Museum, he had a vision to bring gaming to Dodge City in the form of slot machines at Boot Hill to produce revenues to help the museum grow. From this desire, he became actively involved in the movement to get gaming on a state level and into Dodge City. Through his involvement with Clark Stewart and Boot hill Gaming, he and others came up with the idea that once gaming had the approval of the state, a fund would be set up with a portion of the gaming profit going directly to Boot Hill Museum and other entities in southwest Kansas to promote tourism. This vision was fulfilled when the Mariah Fund was formed. George was very active in the First United Methodist Church of Dodge City serving on several boards and singing in its choir. He also was a big band style singer and sang at charity events. On May 4, 2008, George R. Henrichs joined Norva Jeanne, who died December 6, 2007, in Dodge City leaving behind his three sons, grandchildren Shannon, Holly Deutsch & husband Ryan, Kevin, Kyle and Kody, and three great granddaughters McKenna, Kaia and Mila Deutsch.
“In the movie we did a square on our white horses…Roy [Rogers] called the dance – a thrill of a lifetime!”
Arlene Delores Petrowsky was born, the youngest of 11 children, to William and Margaret (Rodenbeck) Petrowsky near Kingsdown, Kansas on August 18, 1928. She began riding at five years old and dropped out of school during the eighth grade to help on the farm and with chores. If it had four legs, she and her sister, Cretia, was on it. From a young age she attended every rodeo she could and was determined to teach herself trick riding with her horse and a trick saddle she purchased. By her teens, she had mastered the skill and contacted Mr. and Mrs. Joe Stoddard of Nampa, Idaho who she saw in an ad asking for girl riders in “Western Horseman” magazine. She left home for the Stoddard’s small ranch where, a month later, she was joined by Donna Rosium who rode for the White Horse Ranch, Naper, Nebraska. Ernie Kirkpatrick also of White Horse taught them roman riding which involves a rider standing on two or more horses with each foot on a different horse. They trained about three months before going on the road. Their first show was a fair at Jordon Valley, Oregon. They went on the Winnemucca, Nevada where she fell off her horse onto the track after the horse was spooked. That didn’t slow her down. She walked it off and continued riding. In these shows the women rode up to five horses at once; and the horses were not tethered together. At a show in Napa, California she met actor Bill Elliot, who played Will Bill Hickok. She boldly asked if she could ride his horse “Stormy Night” and he let her! With the Stoddard’s, she, Donna and rest of the troupe participated in shows throughout California, before Frank and Lois Hall bought the outfit and renamed it the “Valkyries and Their Flying White Horses.” Arlene and Donna lived in Hall’s house in Palm Springs for two months. The Valkyries then relocated to the Broken Arrow Ranch in North Hollywood for six months. Here they got plenty of television exposure and met Roy Rogers through their trainer Merle Christenson, Rogers’s double. Rogers put them in the motion picture “The Heart of the Rockies,” which was released in 1951. Rogers “called” the square dance as Arlene and Donna did it on their white horses. In 1950, the Valkyries appeared before 102,000 people in the Los Angeles Coliseum doing their square dance, which Roy Rogers again called, and they appeared in the rodeo grand entry. On March 25, 1951, Arlene married Wilbur “Leon” Dixon. Together they had a son, William Floyd. In the early 1960s, she and Leon managed the Cowtown Stables in Wichita. Arlene continued to do trick riding and barrel racing at rodeos for the next few years. After their divorce she and her son moved to Edwardsville, Kansas where she kept three or four horses. In the early 1980s, Arlene changed her last name to LaMar, a name inspired by a TV ad. She spent her later years working for the Love Box Co., Kansas City, Missouri until three years before her passing on Christmas day, 2017 in Kansas City.
“If anyone could horseback a herd of chickens down the road and keep them between fences, Van Haines could!”
Van E. Haines was born to Herbert A. and Anna Pearl (Hanger) Haines on April 28, 1907, in Pontiac, Kansas. He was raised on a nearby homestead where he learned how to work with horses and cattle while meeting their daily needs. By the time he reached adulthood he knew all the cowboy skills and occasionally participated in small area rodeos as a saddle bronc rider. By the time he married Dottie Helen (Daniel) in 1934 in Rosalia, Kansas, Van had worked for large ranches in the remote regions of the Flint Hills of eastern Butler and western Greenwood Counties. Here, he and Dottie often lived in homes without electricity and running water so he could watch cattle on horseback. Van earned the respect of area ranch managers for his ability to quietly handle all responsibilities of a working cowboy. When sons Gerald and Richard were old enough, they rode with him riding fence, checking cattle, fixing water gaps, gathering and holding herds, and heeling cattle for special work. Two of the highlights of a year were receiving cattle from railroad pens to trail them out to pasture and trailing them back to shipping pens for market. Van married his second wife, Dorothy Marie (Harsh-Hoyt) in 1969 in Oklahoma. Van worked with several ranchers during his life, including Gwynn Leggett, Merle Teter, C.R. Nuttle, Bob Zebold, Jahren, Wiedeman and Satchel Creek Ranches – all in eastern Butler County. His last assignment was as manager of the Gano Ranch near Ordway, Colorado, owned by Nelson Hobart, who also owned the Satchel Creek Ranch. Van had a knack for crafting much of his own equipment used for cowboying. Van E. Haines died in El Dorado, Kansas on July 8, 1993, with Dorothy preceding him. Van left behind his two sons, several grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
“Cowboy poetry is a way of looking at those misadventures of life with tongue in cheek and finding humor in it.”
Poet “Lariat” Ron Wilson was born in Manhattan, Kansas on October 18, 1955, to W. John and Glenna Wilson. He grew up on the nearby Lazy T Ranch, where he and his family still work and live today as a past Farm Bureau Family of the Year. The Wilson family grew wheat, corn, milo and hay; and raised cattle, horses, hogs and children there. As a young man, Ron was active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America. He was president of the local 4-H and a member of the state winning 4-H livestock judging team. He served as Manhattan Chapter and Kansas presidents of the FFA, and was national vice president from the central FFA region. Ron earned a BS from Kansas State University in Agricultural Education with a specialty in animal science, as well as a Master’s in Mass Communications from KSU. He was a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum, and worked for the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. While in Washington, DC, he met Christina Mosher from Illinois who was an aide to Secretary of Agriculture, John Block. They married on August 20, 1983, in Washington. Together they have four children, Joanna, Stephen, James and Elizabeth who have all been active in 4-H and FFA. Ron has served as vice president of Public Affairs for the Farm Credit Bank of Wichita. Since 1990, Ron has been director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at KSU. Ron began writing poetry as a hobby and his performances are consistently rated 5 out of 5 for excellence. Kansas governor Bill Graves has proclaimed him “Poet Lariat”- not “Laureate.” Ron was named an official spokesperson for the National Day of the Cowboy organization. He has been an ambassador for the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum. He is a founding member of the Bibles and Boots Chapter of Cowboys for Christ. Ron chairs the annual Cowboy Poetry contest. Among his many honors was being featured on the cover of “Country Living” magazine, being a Horizon Award winner from the Heartland Chapter of the Academy of Western Artists, winning first place in a cowboy poetry contest at the Kansas Cowboy Symposium in Dodge City, and being named one of 50 Kansans You Should Know by “Ingrams” magazine. Ron has performed at the American Royal, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, Symphony in the Flint Hills story circle, the 50th anniversary of the TV show “Gunsmoke,” the groundbreaking of the new Boot Hill Museum building and at John Wayne’s birthplace. He was the only cowboy poet to present a cowboy poem at a Kansas governor’s inauguration. His weekly show “Kansas Profile – Now, That’s Rural” is heard on radio stations throughout Kansas and is distributed to newspapers in the region. He appears in many other media outlets on a regular basis. Ron is a member of the Kansas Chapter of the International Western Music Association, International Chisholm Trail Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Manhattan Rotary Club, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Horse Council, Kansas Barn Alliance, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame
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