The Pony Express

Newsletter of the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Association


March 2018

Howdy Pardners! Here’s your semi-annual Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame (ERHOF) Pony Express newsletter. We are very grateful for your continuing support! Hot off the Press! As members, you are the first to hear it: The 2018 Inductees to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame are Jake Barnes, Clay O’Brien Cooper, Kay Hageman, and the Frank Wallace Family.

  • Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper are one of the most successful teamroping pairs in the history of professional rodeo. Texan Barnes has won 7 World Team Roping Championships (1985-89, 1992, 1994) and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1997; in Ellensburg the famed header won the championship buckle in 1982, 1985, and 2005. California-raised Cooper was a child actor before he became a professional roper; his first movie appearance was alongside John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972). The acclaimed heeler shares 7 World championships with his partner Barnes and is also an inductee to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.


  • Kay Hageman was, for five decades, the key player in the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce’s marketing and coordination of Ellensburg Rodeo events. Headquartered in the old Antler’s Hotel, Hageman worked alongside legendary rodeo announcer and Chamber director George Prescott (’98 ERHOF inductee) before becoming director herself.


  • The Frank Wallace Family members are longtime Kittitas Valley ranchers, horsemen, rodeo volunteers, and time-event contestants. For four generations, Frank Wallace and his descendants have contributed countless hours to furthering the traditions of the Ellensburg Rodeo.

ERHOF’s New Exhibit at the John Clymer Museum:

As you know, the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Association now stores and exhibits its collection at the John Ford Clymer Museum and Gallery, 416 N. Pearl, Ellensburg. We hope you will visit our new exhibit–“The Indian Rodeo Trail”–portraying the role of Native Americans in the history of the Ellensburg Rodeo. The exhibit will run through March 31 in the Clymer’s McGiffin Room. ERHOF curators Edna Madsen and Mia Merendino (who is Clymer Director) developed the present exhibit, which spotlights ERHOF Inductees the Yakama Indian Nation, Nason/Aronica family, and Kenny Stanton, and the Hooper Collection (see below), and many images from the Frank Oechsner Collection of black and white photography. ERHOF has also mounted a Trevor Brazile exhibit in the Clymer’s northern-most window and a rodeo animals and photographers (featuring John P. Foster) exhibit along the wall adjacent to the museum gift shop.

Hooper Family Indian Artifacts Collection:

ERHOF recently received a generous gift of native moccasins and accessories from the children of the late Dr. William and Pat Hooper of Ellensburg. ERHOF Board member Mia Merendino states the collection is “primarily Columbia Plateau Native American, most likely Yakama” and dates to the 1940s. Included are gauntlets, a beaded hatband or headpiece that spells out “Ellensburg Rodeo,” three pairs of beaded moccasins, and a Nez Perce cornhusk bag. The Hooper collection is currently on display at the Clymer as part of ERHOF “Indian Rodeo Trail” Exhibit. The late Dr. William “Bill” Hooper was born and spent his life in the Kittitas Valley. He and his wife Pat were avid horseback riders and rodeo aficionados, and they began collecting Indian artifacts in the 1940s. Preceded in death by his wife, Dr. Hooper passed away late last summer, and daughters Nan Bews and Laurie Anderson generously gave the couple’s valuable Indian collection to the Hall of Fame.

Pfenning Centennial Saddle:

Can you help us purchase Dr. H. E. Pfenning’s ornate 1920s Hamley saddle? Doc Pfenning was a local veterinarian who helped to found and organize the first Ellensburg Rodeo in 1923. He is a 1997 Inductee to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame and we have a chance to buy his saddle from an Oregon collector for $3000.00. As the 100th anniversary of the Ellensburg Rodeo approaches, please contact ERHOF archivist Mike Allen ( if you would like to help.

Coming Up: “Shades of Fame,”

Our Seventh Art Fundraiser Auction, And Much More: Look for the unique, artist-decorated lampshades that will be auctioned at our annual banquet. We also plan a Whiskey Tasting, and our Induction Press Release, the Art Auction Program, and Induction Biographies will appear in July and August issues of the Ellensburg Daily Record. A new ERHOF show “Ellensburg Rodeo Cowgirls” will open in the Clymer’s McGiffin Room in July. This year’s twenty-second annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will take place Thursday, August 30, 5:30 pm, at CWU’s SURC ballroom. And, of course, we’ll continue to produce and help distribute the Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court Poster, work the Repp Weststar Ranch Roping, and mount exhibits at the Ellensburg Rodeo’s Driver House headquarters, Kittitas County Fair Armory Building, and the Western Village during rodeo weekend. Don’t Forget Our Website and Facebook Page: Our site provides historic photographs, biographical essays of ERHOF inductees, a virtual museum tour, ERHOF membership info, important links, and much, much more c/o We are on Facebook at

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