Relive the Old West Legend of Dodge City Through Exhibits, Education and Entertainment.

Martina McBride, 2016 Cowgirl Entertainer/Artist

 

martina-mcbride3“They don’t recognize that [domestic violence] until it is too late. So it’s an ongoing education that you have to give young girls.”

Martina Mariea Schiff was born on July 29, 1966 in Sharon, Kansas to Daryl and Jeanne Schiff. Her father, a farmer and cabinetry shop owner, introduced Martina to country music at a young age. After school she listened to, and sang along with, recordings of popular women country artists. Her father fronted a band, “The Schiffters,” and at the age of eight or nine, Martina began singing with them. Over the next few years her role with the band increased as she played keyboard. She joined a Wichita rock band, the Penetrators, and in 1987, she formed a band, Lotus, which rented space from a studio engineer, John McBride who she married in 1988. In 1989, the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee to launch their country music careers. The two worked for Garth Brooks who was impressed by Martina’s enthusiasm and made her his opening act. She obtained a recording contract from RCA Nashville Records in 1991. Her debut album, The Time Has Come, was released later that year. Over her career she has had 13 studio albums and several concert and compilation albums. In early 1996, she had her first number one hit “Wild Angels” which was the title song from her third album. Her second number one song was “A Broken Wing” from her album Evolution. She won her first Female Vocalist of the Year from CMA in 1999. This was followed by three more in 2002, 2003 and 2004 tying her with Reba McEntire for the most wins. Her 17 nominations for this award also tied with those of McEntire. Her number one hits continued in 1999 with “I Love You,” from the album Emotion. The number three country song “This One’s for the Girls,” off her 2003 album Martina, was a number one song on the Adult Contemporary charts. In 2010, Martina’s run with RCA ended when she signed with Republic Nashville. Her 2016 album Reckless released through Nash Icon Records, debuted at number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Over the years, she has played a larger part in writing her songs on her albums. Martina has been very active in charitable causes, working as spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Tulsa Domestic Violence and Intervention Services. Every year since 1995, she has hosted Middle Tennessee’s YWCA’s celebrity auction. Martina was awarded the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award in 2003. Martina and husband John have three daughters, Delaney born in 1994, Emma born in 1998 and Ava born in 2005.

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Orin Friesen – Cowboy Entertainer Artist

Orin-Friesen-Cowboy-Entertainer-Artist-2015“I never wanted to be anything but a cowboy.”

Orin Friesen was born in York, Nebraska on September 1, 1946. Orin is a cowboy of many talents as a radio broadcaster, musician, author, actor, lecturer and business manager. He grew up learning how to cowboy, working with cattle and horses. As a youth in York, NE, he was 4-H King and a member of the York Trail Riders Saddle Club. He built a radio transmitter in the early 1960’s and received a ham radio license in 1963. In 1964, Orin graduated from Henderson High School in Nebraska. He has been in broadcasting for over 50 years, beginning his career at the Bethel College and Kearney College radio stations. He transferred to Wichita State University where he earned a BA in Speech/Radio & Television. Since graduation, he has been employed at a number of radio and television stations; the vast majority of them in Kansas. His voice has been heard on KFDI in Wichita since 1977, doing his “Cowboy Hour” radio show for many years. In 1994, Orin started his first cowboy band, the Home Rangers and, in 1999, he started the Prairie Rose Wranglers. He has recorded 17 albums of cowboy music with the Home Rangers, Prairie Rose Wranglers, Diamond W Wranglers and Prairie Rose Rangers. He has performed with Michael Martin Murphey, Roy Rogers Jr., Rex Allen Jr. and fellow KCHF inductee, Barry Ward. Orin produced the Great American Cowboy at Carnegie Hall concerts in 2003 and 2004, and concerts in China in 2006. He also produced the nationally released radio show special “Music of the Wild West.” He was curator of the Hopalong Cassidy Cowboy Museum from 2003 to 2007. He is on the board of directors of Lone Chimney Films, which won the Western Heritage Award for Best Documentary from the National Cowboy Museum & Hall of Fame for “Road to Valhalla.” Orin has received many honors and accolades. In 1990, he was named the first Broadcaster of the Year for the International Bluegrass Music Association. The Academy of Western Artists made him Disc Jockey of the Year for 2002. In 2007, the Elliott School of Broadcasting at WSU honored him as Alumnus of the Year. Orin received a Distinguished Service Award from the IBMA in 2012. He is also a member of the America’s Old-Time Country Hall of Fame. In 2015, Orin received the Authentic Cowboy of the Year from the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Reenactment & Pow Wow Association. In 2014, Friesen authored the book, “Goat Glands to Ranch Hands:  The KFDI Story.” Currently, he is the operations manager of the Prairie Rose Ranch and Chuckwagon, curates their Silver Screen Cowboy Museum and is the leader of their house band, the Prairie Rose Rangers. Annually, Orin produces the Western Days Festival at the Prairie Rose. He raises and trains his own horses on his Rocking Banjo Ranch in Butler County, and has worked numerous roundups and cattle drives over the years. He hosts the KFDI Radio show “Bluegrass from the Rocking Banjo Ranch.” This show was one of the first big bluegrass radio shows in the U.S. and at one time syndicated on 35 radio stations nationally. Orin is musical director for the upcoming documentary about the song “Home on the Range.” In his spare time Orin has lectured on various cowboy history topics. On November 6, 1982 he married Bekki Gardner. Orin has two sons and a daughter and a granddaughter.

Year inducted: 2015

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Barry Ward – Cowboy Entertainer Artist

Barry-Ward-Cowboy-Entertainer-Artist-2014“But the best part of a farm is a family,” from “Farm Family” on his Christmas CD.

Barry Ward was born in Dodge City, Kansas on September 26, 1953 to Leonard and Joan Ward. Raised on the family farm near Copeland, he grew up in ranching and farming. He attended Dodge City Community College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University. After college he returned to Copeland as a fourth generation farmer. In 1982, he married Dodge City resident, Victoria Schlegel and together they raised their two sons, B.J. and Hunter, and daughter, Sierra, in the house Barry grew up in. Barry served as a role model for youth when he coached both football and basketball at South Gray Junior High School in Copeland, Kansas. As a child, Barry dreamed of playing the guitar and when he was 35 years old he took his first guitar lesson from Ron Rolland in Dodge City. He began writing songs and soon sang at churches and western events. He became known as “The Landsman” due to his ties with farming and the land he cultivated being reflected in his music. Over the years he has been a regular performer at the Fidelity State Bank Dodge City Days Breakfast. He sang at the “Home on the Range” production by the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association celebrating the Kansas 150th anniversary in Wichita. He has entertained at the Kansas State Fair. In 2007, Barry was commissioned by the City of Greensburg to write “Up From the Debris” for the grand re-opening of the City after a devastating tornado. In 2008, Barry decided to pursue a full-time career as a musical entertainer, and moved with his wife, Victoria, to a ranch in Elbert, Colorado where he set up his production company Flying W Productions. He has performed in 22 states and two foreign countries, including the at 2002 Olympics in Utah and, in 2003, at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Barry was 2008 Male Vocalist in the Western Division of the Gospel Music Association. He was the first western entertainer to perform in Cameroon, Africa in 2010. Barry was named the 2013 Western Music Association Male Performer of the Year. His recording of “Eli Crow” written by the late Paul Hendel garnered him the Will Rogers Award as 2012 Song of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists. Several of his songs were included in the 2014 Kansas Cowboy CD released by the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association. In 2014 the closing credits of the documentary The Great American Wheat Harvest featured his song “Harvest in the Fall.” His CD Lonesome County Road received the CD of the Year Award from Rural Roots Music Commission.

Year inducted: 2014

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Stan Herd – Cowboy Artist

Stan Herd Cowboy Artist 2013Always, my pictures involved the land-fields of wheat and alfalfa, crossed by country roads leading nowhere and everywhere.”

Stan Herd was born in Protection, KS in 1950. From an early age he was interested in drawing and portraying life in rural America. He attended Wichita State University on an Art scholarship. After college, Herd returned to his agricultural roots by pioneering an art form called Crop Art. His work involves manipulation of plants, soil and rock to create masterpieces on such a grand scale that they must be viewed by airplane, hilltop or another high vantage point. Herd’s Crop Art, or Earthworks, have been created around the world including England, Cuba, Australia and the United States. He has been featured in Rolling Stone, Esquire, Interview and Art Forum magazines. One of his most famous Earthworks, “Countryside,” was installed in 1994 in New York on property owned by Donald Trump. In 1994, Herd produced a book featuring his crop art. An award winning film, “Earthwork,” was released in 2010, holding its Kansas premiere in Lawrence. Along with the attention Herd has received for his Crop Art, he has been recognized for his mural works throughout the United States. Here in Dodge City he has murals on the Bank of America and National Beef buildings. Herd currently resides in Lawrence where he plans his works of art as well as his commercial commissions of Crop Art which have included Neiman Marcus, Papa John’s Pizza, TNT’s TV series “Dallas,” Absolut Vodka, Garth Brooks and U.S. News and World Report.

Year inducted: 2013

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Geffrey Dawson – Cowboy Entertainer

Geffrey Dawson Cowboy Entertainer 2012“No matter what brand you ride for, give ’em 110 percent.”

Geffrey Bert “Geff” Dawson was born Feb. 8, 1961 in Abilene, Kansas to Glen and Joan Dawson. He was raised on the rural outskirts of that famous cattle town of Abilene. In 1979, he graduated from Abilene High School. His  high school activities included playing in a stage band and drumming in the school chorus. He also competed in wrestling and in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. He continued rodeo competition at the college level while attending Kansas State University where he studied Animal Science and Agricultural Education.

Shortly after college, he married Dawn Heideman at Abilene in 1985. They have two children, Justin Lee Dawson and Carmen Nicole Matzke; and a granddaughter, Haddie Elizabeth Matzke. Geff holds memberships in the Western Music Association, the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association and Academy of Western Artists Association,  and is a founding member of Cowboypoetry.com. In 2005, he was chosen as the performer from Kansas to appear on “Best of America by Horseback.” In 2006, he won both  the People’s Choice Award and the Champion Cowboy Poet at the Colorado State Fair, and was the National Champion Poet in Utah.

He was the featured performer for the “Salute to the Great American Cowboy” at Branson, MO in 2008, 2009 and 2012. He has performed for the returning troops at Fort Riley, was the featured cowboy on the belt buckle at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, Abilene, and won the Best of the West National Champion Cowboy Poet. In 2010, Geff’s CD, A Tougher Horse, hit #1 on the playlist for cowboy poetry CD’s. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Geff performed at the Symphony in Flint Hills. In 2012, for the fifth year in a row, he was chosen by both Purina Mills and Olathe Boot Co. to represent their cowboy image. Geff currently owns and manages the historic 2 bar D ranch near Alma, Kansas and manages the historic Illinois Creek Ranch in Wabaunsee County.

Year inducted: 2012

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Charlie Norton – Cowboy Artist

Charlie Norton Cowboy Artist 2011“[Horseshoeing] keeps me grounded to the past.”

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 “Birth Place 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.

Year inducted: 2011

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Earl Kuhn – Cowboy Artist

Earl Kuhn Cowboy Artist 2010Earl Kuhn was born to Emil and Zita Kuhn on October 5, 1947 in Victoria, Kansas. As a child he lived in Plainville, where worked from the age of five through high school at a family run grocery store. While at Fort Hays State College, Earl developed his talent as a western artist by painting and drawing for friends, and by painting rodeo signs around the region. While at FHSC he met Kaye Lukens, a rodeo cowgirl from Medicine Lodge, Kansas. In 1970 they married and lived in St. John for a year before moving to Medicine Lodge where Earl taught high school Art. He opened his Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art in Medicine Lodge in 1979. The Kuhn’s hosted the Indian Summer Days Professional Western Art Show each fall during the 1980’s in Medicine Lodge. This event brought in artists from throughout the U.S. In addition to many venues in the U.S., Earl’s paintings regularly show in Amarillo; Tucson; Houston; Denver and Oklahoma City. His watercolors won “Best of Show” at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo’s “Best of the West” Western Art Show in 2001. He has won gold, silver and bronze metals at the National Western Artists’ and Texas Cowboy Artists’ Annual Shows. In 1986 he received the Mercedes Boot Award for Best of Show in painting at the Texas Cowboy Artists’. exhibit. Kuhn was the 1989 Artist of the Year at the American Royal Western Art Show. He had Best of Show in Albuquerque at the Chuckwagon Art Show in 1995. Earl’s work has been selected for many event programs, prints and posters, and has graced numerous magazine covers. The Kuhn’s have three sons, Kelly (Michelle), Kory (Stephanie) and Kerry (Misti). Grandchildren are Megan, Garrett, Amy, Kauy, Kolt, Kendall and Kody. Shown here is a reproduction of Earl’s painting “Preschool” featuring his grandson Kauy, son of Kerry.

Year inducted: 2010

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H. Russell Moss – Cowboy Entertainer

H Russell Moss Cowboy Entertainer 2009“I could put any kind of trick on a horse.”

Russell Moss was born on December 4, 1911 to Joseph Thomas and Susan Jane Moss on a ranch near Mount Moriah, Missouri where his father was a foreman. Russell worked with saddles since the age of eight. As a young man, Russell learned the art of saddle making from the legendary Monroe Veach of Trenton, Missouri. In 1930, he married Sylvia Mae McCollum. Making their home in Trenton, Missouri, they had one child, Juanita (Robson). He was a charter member of the Wyandotte County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse, and a rider and trainer with Ray Knapp and his Roughriders. During his time with them he established a riding group, Russell’s Juvenile Riders, in Raytown, Missouri. 1945 he opened Moss Saddle Shop in Kansas City. Later he moved his shop to Chanute where Sylvia drew designs and hand tooled leather. In 1950 former actor, Reb Russell, helped him move his shop to Coffeyville. In 1961, he moved the saddle shop back to Kansas City. Russell did trick riding as well as saddle making and was good enough to be offered work out in California, which he turned down. He has been featured in the Kansas City Star, Kansas City Kansan, Coffeyville Journal and other newspapers, and is cited in Jim Hoy’s book Cowboys and Kansas: Stories from the Tallgrass Prairie. He crafted a saddle for Kansas Governor John Anderson and repaired saddles for Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Tex Ritter and Clint Walker. Clint Eastwood was among his friends. Russell and Sylvia had six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. After Sylvia passed away in 1963, Russell married his second wife, Genevieve, in the early 1970’s. She died a couple of years before Russell who passed on November 19, 2007.

 

Year inducted: 2009

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Marion McLain – Cowboy Entertainer

Marion McLain Cowboy Entertainer 2008“Rarin’ to Go!”

Marion “Mac” McLain was born in Nebraska on May 13, 1889 to Frank and Marietta (Marnie) McLain. In 1908 the family moved to the Hostetter Ranch near Sun City, Kansas from Toronto, Kansas. He worked as a farmer and stockman during his young adulthood. Mac is best known for being the owner of “McLain’s Roundup” which was the world’s largest independently owned rodeo. It ran from 1922 to 1939 at Sun City. Open to any contestant who could pay the entry fee, the rodeo drew world champions including, Bob Crosby, Irby Mundy, Everett Shaw, Dick Truitt, Ike Rude and Bud Hampton as well as locals. Mac provided top quality stock, did marketing, and attracted contestants, specialty acts and bands for this annual event. Along with this rodeo were carnival rides. In the later years of the McLain Rodeo Mac started off the rodeo with a “Grand Entrée” with his two sons, Max and Mark, from his marriage on November 2, 1912 to Ruth Lillian Massey who hailed from near Sun City. The couple also had a daughter, Marjorie. Mac was involved in founding the Cowboy Turtle Association. Created in response to unfair treatment of rodeo contestants, they called themselves the “turtles” because though they were slow to organize they eventually stuck their necks out. The CTA later became the Rodeo Cowboys Association, which is predecessor of the PRCA. He was a life member of the CTA, RCA and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Frank died in Greensburg, Kansas August 21, 1972 at the age of 83. Though all his children are deceased, his memory lives on in his grandchildren who next to his McLain’s Roundup were the crown of his life.

Year inducted: 2008

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Lance Brittan – Cowboy Entertainer

Lance Brittan Cowboy Entertainer 2007“It truly is a family affair. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”

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.

Year inducted: 2007

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