Looking for a Hall of Fame type cowboy

WYOMING – The Cowboy State is looking for a few great cowboys.

This is the season to honor that heritage by nominating cowboys and cowgirls you believe are eligible and worthy of induction with the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Nominations close the last day of February 2019.

Anyone may put forth any nominee. Clear instructions for nominating are outlined at the WCHF website, and photos may be submitted along with each nomination. Only online nominations submitted by the end of February 2019 can be accepted.

When nominations close, forms will be sorted and sent to regions in which the nominees reside. A person may possibly be nominated by more than one person, in which case all completed nominations will be forwarded together to the Regional Committees.

Earl Hardeman 2018 inductee

Earl Hardeman (WCHOF)

One Jackson Hole cowboy made the hall last year as the 2018 inductees included Earl Hardeman. The Kelly Cowboy was born January 4, 1925 to Gerrit and LaMar Crandall Hardeman. Gerrit immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands in 1910 and homesteaded in Kelly, Wyoming in 1919.

At the age of five, Earl rode bareback for the 6-mile roundtrip to Kelly School, bundled up in so many layers that he never would have been able to climb back on if he fell off. His pioneer parents thought that, without a saddle, the horse would keep him warm and he had less chance of getting hung up if he fell off.

Earl and the family moved to Wilson in 1955. Earl married five years after that—a nurse named Pat Weaver in 1960. Soon followed two children Robert Hardeman and Heidi Hardeman. Earl moved his family to the ranch in Wilson in 1967. Earl was very proud of his children and raised them to enjoy his way of life, participating in the work on the ranch, 4-H, and rodeo.

The Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame had this to say about the icon:

As more and more Teton County ranches became covered with homes, Earl and his family were hailed as icons of a disappearing way of life. In 1976 National Geographic did an article on ranching in Jackson Hole and focused on the Hardeman ranch. In 1978 the BBC spent time with Earl off and on for a year and compiled a one-hour documentary titled “The Rancher.” That segment was one part of a 13-part documentary called “Americans.” The series documented the profiles of real personalities behind the stereotypes the world knows as Americans.

In 1988, Earl was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Earl lived another 15 years. He passed away on February 18, 2003.

Earl Hardeman feeding cows with a team. (WCHOF)

A wealth of knowledge about Wyoming’s significant cowboy culture exists across the state, and cowboys and cowgirls are best known by those they live and work among. Therefore, Regional Committees will first review nominations of potential honorees in their region. Selected nominees will then be submitted to the WCHF board of directors for final selection in May.

Regional committees will also identify nominees they wish to recognize at the local level, independent from that nominee’s consideration by WCHF for induction. While the WCHF may induct a small number of nominees each year, Regions are welcome and encouraged to honor local cowboys and cowgirls in the number and manner they choose.

All correctly completed nomination forms will be kept in a pool for future selection, if not selected the first year nominated. Both WCHF and the Regional Committees may choose the number of inductees to be honored, with no minimum or maximum set.

Inductees to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame will be publicized statewide and honored at an Induction Ceremony in September.

Your participation in nominating worthy candidates for WCHF is important to the Cowboy State’s ongoing heritage. Please take the brief time necessary to fill out and submit those nominations as soon as possible.

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