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Museum Announces Inductees Into Cowboy Hall of Fame

Museum Announces Inductees Into Cowboy Hall of Fame photo 11/4/2015 4:28:01 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame has announced the upcoming induction of four Lea County pioneers into the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame.  The recipients will be honored at a banquet on November 7 at the Lea County Events Center.

“The four inductees in the Hall of Fame this year will be Guy Allen, Dorthy Bess, Jimmie Tom Cooper and Carl E. Sams,” said Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director of the museum.   “This is an outstanding group of Lea County pioneers who have distinguished themselves in the ranching and rodeo industries.  We had an exceptional list of nominees this year, and these four are the ones chosen by the membership for the honor.”

The Cowboy Hall of Fame has inducted 97 Lea County pioneers, the museum’s highest honor, since its beginning in 1978.  Beauchamp noted that in order to be considered for the honor, a person must meet several stringent criteria.  A nominee must be a long-time resident of Lea County, must be a person of good character and reputation, must have had the livestock industry as their principal business, and must be a distinguished rodeo performer or had a helping hand in the development of the livestock industry.

“There are so many qualified individuals in Lea County” Beauchamp added, “that sometimes it takes several nominations for a person to be selected by the membership.”

In addition to the Bronze Cowboy inductions, Casey Hatley was selected by the Cowboy Hall of Fame as “2015 Working Cowboy” and Rusty and Niki Henard were selected as the “2015 Outstanding Ranchers”. The Silver Concho Award, a special recognition given to an individual for their service to Lea County, will be presented to Dr. Steve McCleery, President of New Mexico Junior College.

All will be honored on November 7 at the Induction Banquet at the Lea County Events Center.  Tickets are $25 each and are available at the museum.

For more information contact the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame,


About the Inductees

Guy Allen (1958 - ) began his rodeo career at age seven when he traveled with his father, James, to rodeos. Nicknamed “The Legend” by his peers, Allen became the youngest steer roping world champion at the age of 19.  He is an 18-time PRCA world champion steer roper. He has qualified for the National Finals Steer Roping 32 times, winning five NSFR Average titles and 47 NFSR go-rounds.  From 1991 to 2001 Allen won 11 consecutive world championships, setting the record for the most consecutive world championships in a single event. His career earnings are more the $1.5 million.

Allen is considered one of the greatest steer ropers in rodeo history. He was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1996.  In addition to his many accomplishments, Allen’s horse “Two D Ole Man” (nicknamed “Jeremiah”) was voted the American Quarter Horse/PRCA steer roping horse of the year four times.

World Champion Rodeo Cowboy Ty Murray once said “Guy is one of the all-time greatest cowboys who ever lived.  He’s set the kind of world records that make you wonder if they’ll ever be broken.”

Allen lived in Lea County from 1981-1990, and again from 1993-2000.  He won a total of 11 world championships while living in Lea County. He currently resides in Sterling City, Texas.

Dorthy Bess (1928 - ) has lived in Lea County her entire life.  She was born on the Alston Ranch near McDonald, and attended school in Tatum. She met her husband James Thomas “Tom” Bess at the University of New Mexico.  Dorthy and Tom returned to Lea County and began ranching on a small piece of land that was a wedding gift from Dorthy’s father.  They worked side by side every day raising sheep, then Black Angus cattle for 59 years until Tom’s death in 2006.

Dorthy continues to reside on the ranch today. She has been a strong supporter of the 4H and FFA programs, and is a longtime member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers and Cowbelles.  She has supported agriculture in Lea County, serving on the Farm Service Agency Board and the Farm Bureau Board.  Dorthy has served as a representative of Tatum for six years for the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Jimmie Tom Cooper (1927 - ) has been a lifelong resident of Lea County, attending schools in Lovington, Tatum and Monument.  Known as one of the “ropers of his generation”, Cooper was the North American Calf Roping Champion of 1949, and won many titles including the San Antonio Rodeo in 1958. He holds a PRCA Gold Card and was a member of the U.S. PRCA for more than 25 years.

Cooper and his wife Betty Baum Cooper moved to the Hat Ranch/Monument Springs in Monument in 1967, where they still reside today raising Black Cattle. He and his brother Dale “Tuffy” Cooper owned the local service station in Monument for 13 years. He is the owner of Cooper SWD and has several fresh water stations. 

Carl E. Sams (1873-1951) was born in Denton, Texas and moved to Lea County in 1912, where he worked in the ranching industry for over 39 years. He first settled on the XL ranch and then to a ranch northwest of Lovington, where he and his wife Ada raised their two children. Using the “Anchor D” branch that was begun by his father in Texas, Carl became known for his exceptionally high grade of cattle, which included a number of registered bulls.

Carl was an early member of the Open Range Cowboy Association, a charter member of the Christian Church in Lovington, and an active member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association.  In 1959, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame honored Sams, a charter member, and a memorial membership was established in his name.  Sams’ descendants still live and work in the Lea County Cattle Industry.

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