Sunday, January 24, 2016

Art, cowboy culture and a sense of community all come together in Hobbs

Deep in the heart of southeast New Mexico, Hobbs is the land where high school basketball coach Ralph Tasker became a legend. But there’s more to the little town than a coach of hoop renown. As a matter of fact, the Western Heritage Museum Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame ( “is one of the really good reasons to come to Hobbs,” museum director Darrell Beauchamp said. The institution serves three different purposes in one site on the New Mexico Junior College campus, he said. There’s the hall of fame, which honors the 100 (and growing) rodeo superstars and others important to the sport who have called Lea County home, then there’s the museum that recognizes the long ranching heritage in the area, and finally there’s the exhibit hall that features an eclectic range of displays. It started in 1978 as a tribute to the many world champion rodeo performers because “Lea County has more world champion rodeo cowboys than anywhere in the country,” Beauchamp said. In addition to photos of each hall of fame member, the displays include personal memorabilia like saddles or boots or championship buckles. “And from there it just grew,” he said. The museum exhibits such items as Western buckles, boots, saddles, spurs, butter churns, wagons, tack and other horse gear and photographs of pioneers. The exhibit area is dedicated to traveling displays on a variety of topics. The ongoing display, “Wicked Plants,” through May 1, highlights the world’s most diabolical botanicals, without the risk of pain, poisoning, dismemberment or death. “These are the evil plants of the world,” Beauchamp said. “And living in the desert we have many plants that can be evil.”...more

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