Master of Ceremony Harold Cash and Larry Callies, founder of the Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg, welcome inductee Tex Williams, his cousin, to the stage on Thursday during the museum’s first-ever hall of fame induction ceremony.
When Larry Callies founded the Black Cowboy Museum in 2017, he had one goal: teaching people a history they might not have heard otherwise.
“The story of the Black cowboy needed to be told,” Callies said. “I didn’t want what the Black cowboys did to go in vain.”
Now years later, that goal has led more than 7,000 visitors to the museum from 40 states and 35 countries. The museum held its first-ever Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday at the Rosenberg Civic Center to further honor the legacies of Black cowboys.
Harold Cash, a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee of the Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, and who knew many of Thursday night’s inductees personally, served as the master of ceremony for the event.
He called the inductees, “the best of the best” among the legends of Black cowboys.
Attendees came dressed in their finest cowboy boots and hats. Tables were adorned with decorative silver boots and lassos. The convention hall featured saddles, historical blurbs and photos of some of the best Black cowboys in history.
“Larry started the Black Cowboy Hall of Fame because he saw how Black cowboys were being treated,” Cash said. “All the work you’ve seen tonight is the result of the board [of directors] that Larry’s put around him.”
Guests were treated to a catered meal from Schulze’s BBQ & Catering in Rosenberg.
A silent auction was also held. While they ate and took in the scenery, a 6-minute video tribute to Black cowboys was presented. The video included cameos from Callies, Tex Williams (who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening) and many others. Callies’ band, Larry Callies and the Bronco Band, performed throughout the evening.
In total, nine people were inducted into the Hall of Fame: Bailey Prairie Kid, Clinton Wyche, Freddie Skeet Gordon, Grady Allen, Willie Thomas, Jessie Gonzales, Sloan Williams and Tex Williams.
Cash read a short biography about each of the inductees, flavored with some of his own amusing recollections.
Each inductee was invited to the stage where they received an award from the museum — a handsome silver buckle. The inductees ran the gamut of cowboy culture.
Some were all-around rodeo champions like Tex Williams, Callies’ cousin. Others like Sloan Williams were well-known bull stock and cattle breeders. Cash described Willie Thomas as the greatest cowboy of all time.
Myrtis Digthman started his career as a rodeo clown before transitioning to competitions.
Each had a unique story to tell about how they got their start in the industry and the sorts of challenges, particularly as Black men in a predominantly white industry, they had to overcome to become successful Cash described Tex Williams as someone who “learned how to move through the world without stirring up trouble. That’s not the way it should be, but that’s the way it is.”
Many inductees are honored in other cowboy-related halls of fame around the country. Most of them first began spending time with cattle and horses when they were still toddlers.
At the end of the evening, Callies announced he had a new book available for purchase at the ceremony: Here Comes Cowboy Larry, Stepping Out in Faith. The book can be purchased at the Black Cowboy Museum.
Though the ceremony is over, there is still plenty of time to learn more about the history of Black cowboys by visiting the museum at 1104 Third St. in Rosenberg.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.