Treasures from the Vault

A new exhibit entitled “Treasures from the Vault” has opened in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s 101 Gallery. The display features newer acquisitions as well as items from smaller collections owned by the Hall that have not been out for public viewing in some time. 

The major featured collection in the show is 32 years’ worth of NFR jackets from 1990 through 2021. This collection originates from two donors, Jim Crapnell and Jeannie Cunningham. Other pieces in the exhibit include belt buckles, Hap Henriksen and Edd Hayes sculptures, NFR wine collection, barbed wire collection, Rodeo Ben and Wrangler apparel, a portrait of Ike Rude and Coors advertising and logo items. 

“It’s fun to bring out items that have not been on exhibit in a while or maybe not at all,” said Kent Sturman, Director. “As with any museum, we have more items than we can ever put on display at the same time or year-round. Having a variety of artifacts in our collection allows us the opportunity to build creative exhibits that each tell a portion of the story of professional rodeo and our western heritage.” 

Since its beginning in 1979, the Hall of Fame has collected items from across the rodeo world. Often these items do not correspond to an inductee or other display and are usually kept in storage. This gallery display is meant to highlight some of the newest additions to those collections as well as feature items not seen before. 

The buckle display includes a NFR Hesston belt buckle series dating back to 1974. Other buckles in the exhibit are from the National Western Stock Show, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and the Cody Stampede. The Hap Henriksen sculptures are of Mountain Men, Cowboys and Rodeo Clowns. They are unique and different from the bronze sculptures normally done in western art. 

The wine bottles in the collection came from Harla Kadrie, a former longtime employee of the PRCA, and each one features biographies of champion cowboys on the label. The Edd Hayes sculptures displayed are from his “Legends of Rodeo Collection” and are of Jim Shoulders and Dean Oliver. 

Leo Ververs collected, tagged, and created the barbed wire displays in the exhibit. He donated the panels in 1992. Still a fundamental part of the taming and closing of the West, barbed wire comes in a multitude of varieties and styles. This collection features over 100 different types. 

If you ever wondered how the Wrangler brand came to be, read about Polish-born tailor, Rodeo Ben. His story was featured in rodeo comic books that were sold with each pair of Wrangler jeans in the 1950s and 60s. The display highlights some apparel designed by Rodeo Ben. 

The focal point of the exhibit is a six foot by 12-foot Coors beer print advertisement that is from a 1991 advertising campaign launched by Coors. The campaign was a series of images of rodeo cowboys in rodeo events that highlighted a bottle of Coors as an animal. This print shows two cowboys team roping a Coors beer bottle “steer.” The print, mounted on a wooden panel, used to hang in a night club in Lafayette, Colorado. 

“Treasures from the Vault” will be on display in 101 Gallery until September. 

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