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Cowboy Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Inductees

11/3/2016 5:39:05 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame in Hobbs, NM has announced the recipients of this year's inductees into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. The Bronze Cowboy Award, as it has traditionally been known, is the highest award given by the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame. The recipients will be inducted Saturday, November 5 at the organization's annual Llano Estacado Banquet.

"The Board of Directors for the Hall of Fame are pleased to announce that Bert Madera, Phil Smith, Sr., and Charlcia Taylor are this year's inductees," said Dr. Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director of the Museum and Hall of Fame. "All three of our inductees are incredibly worthy of this honor, and we are pleased to add them to the Cowboy Hall of Fame."

The awards will be presented Saturday, November 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the annual Llano Estacado Banquet to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn. Following the banquet, attendees will dance to the music of Gary Nix and West! Texas Band. For tickets or additional information call the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame at 575-392-6730.

About Rubert Fred "Bert" Madera (1943 - )

Bert Madera is a rancher who was raised on the Pitchfork Ranch near Jal, NM. The son of Rubert and Loys Madera, the Pitchfork was so remote with no roads to Jal that his father flew him to school in a Cessna 120 every day. The New York Times once ran a picture of Bert, his father and the plane. In fact, he and his father would drop bottles out of the plane to let neighbors know when it was time for the upcoming Pitchfork branding, and everyone managed to find the bottles and show up for the brandings.

Ranching was Bert's life. As he grew, he became very active in 4H, raising championship steers. His grandfather even registered a brand in Bert's name.

In the early 1980s Bert began a new and slightly controversial program of ranching called Holistic Range Management, on a portion of the ranch that his father deeded to him. Bert remembers his father's comment: "It's already the sorriest part of the ranch, I don't reckon you can hurt it much more." It took several years of hard work, perseverance and mocking from those who didn't understand his methods, but today that "sorry" acreage is some of the most productive acreage on the ranch. The Pitchfork practices rotational grazing and even mob herd practices that encourages grass production and natural fertilization of the land.

Bert is considered a pioneer in holistic range management, and the Pitchfork is the longest continuous holistic range managed ranch in the Southwest. Bert and his wife Montie Carol also believe in the idea of balance on the land. In addition to holistic range management, rotational grazing and low stress cattle handling, Bert believes that the land has a natural eco-system that should be disturbed as little as possible. As one of the largest fee-owned ranches in New Mexico, Bert has had the opportunity to preserve wild life and control the killing of rattlesnakes, coyotes, rabbits, antelope and other wildlife.

In 2012, Bert and Montie Carol hosted what was dubbed the "Cattle Drive of the Century," the largest state-sanctioned event for the New Mexico Centennial. Partnering with the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and Eddy County, the event spanned four days and three nights, covering 60 miles of country, driving 90 head of Pitchfork longhorn cattle from Jal to Carlsbad. Each night included a chuck wagon meal and nightly entertainment featuring entertainers like Michael Martin Murphey. Along the trail, New Mexico Governor Suzanna Martinez stopped by to congratulate Bert and the other cowboys for the modern day cattle drive.

Although Bert has slowed down a bit in the last few years, he continues to have an active role in the ranch now operated by his son David. His wife, Monte Carol notes, "He's a bigger than life personality, but Bert Madera is the definition of a cowboy. He's the real deal."

About Chester Phillip Smith (b. January 1911 - d. 1989)

Phillip Smith, Sr. established a reputation for being the man you could count on to "get the water to the top." On the water-starved Llano Estacado, cattlemen and sheep men knew this precious commodity was a number one necessity for their herds and "Phil" was the best around for repairing and installing the windmills that brought water for the people who settled Lea County.

Born in a small adobe house near Prairieview, NM (now a ghost town in Lea County), Phil was the 7th of 11 children. At the age of 10 he harvested the feed he cut, tied it with binder twine and stacked it for winter feed for the twenty cows his mom was milking at the time. At 15, Phil left home and began working on a ranch, northeast of Lovington, where he met Dorothy McCabe of Hope NM. They were both 18 when they married.

Their first home was a tent near his parents, where Phil helped his dad "lamb out." Phil and Dorothy tried homesteading in the Fence Lake area near Trechechada. It was there that they experienced the "water wars" and witnessed a rancher gun down a nester who had fenced his animals from water. Phil himself was kidnapped and held for a while during "the Feud."

The family eventually moved back to Lea County in 1939, where Phil worked at the Pello Etcheverry Ranch, working with sheep; then the "Hawk" Medlin ranch, working with cattle. Part of his job no matter where he went was to grease and repair windmills to get water to the herds.

During WWII, Phil was exempted from joining the army because he was a family man and important to the ranching and water industries. It was during WWII that Phil moved his family to Lovington and began a sheep-shearing business. He later leased the Medlin ranch seven miles east of Lovington, where the last of his five children was born. Phil became active in the FFA program, helping his boys and others learn to care for and block their sheep. Phil was twice awarded the local FFA "Honorary Chapter Farmer" award. He was also the Seminole TX honoree in 1963. Eventually Phil and Dorothy bought the Medlin Homestead.

He remained active in community affairs through the remainder of his life. He started the Smith Windmill Service, and at the age of 68 continued to answer calls for help from the ranchers around the county, bringing water from the underground basin to the surface by windmill and small pumps. He helped erect the Eclipse windmill at the Lovington Museum. Phil lost his beloved Dorothy to cancer in 1988 and his own life in 1989. Chester "Phil" Smith was a rancher, sheep and cattle man, and the most prominent "windmill" man in Lea County. Phil was known for his work ethic, his excellent work, and his love of family and friends.

About Charlcia Taylor (April 12, 1891 - November 12, 1992)

Charlcia Taylor was born in Midland, Texas and moved with her parents to the Lea County area around the turn of the 20th Century. She was the youngest of five children. Her parents, Charles M. and Rebecca Ann (nee Aimes) Breckon, were two of the earliest pioneers of Lea County.

Charlcia met and married Steve Taylor, an open range cowboy, while working for the McGonigall Ranch for $30 a month. The couple's main mode of transportation was wagon, horseback and hack. She rode the range with Steve, helping with round-ups, brandings, and anything else that was to be done. She also helped with the cooking at the chuck wagon. Family stories tell that whenever Steve started to saddle his horse for a hard day, Charlcia was right behind him with her bridle. She traveled all over Southeast New Mexico and West Texas helping to make the great plains the place she enjoyed so well. Together, Steve and Charlcia established what would become known as Taylor Ranch.

Charlcia was a member of the New Mexico Cattle Grower's Association, the Texas Cattle Grower's Association, the American Poll Herford Association, Eastern Star, Rebeccas, Sheriff's Posse and First Baptist Church. She donated the land for what is today Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, and the Hobbs Masonic Temple.

Following Steve's death, in 1943, Charlcia and her lifelong friend Clara Fowler shared a home together until Clara's death in 1983. She was a life member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and was a charter member of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Silver Concho Award - Brice Chapman

Lubbock based Trick Roper and Cowboy performer Brice Chapman is the 2016 recipient of the Silver Concho Award. This special recognition is presented by the Board of Directors, and is awarded to men, women, or animals not eligible for induction into the Cowboy Hall of Fame but who deserve to be recognized and/or remembered for their service to Lea County.

"Even though Brice Chapman is not from Lea County, his roots are firmly planted here," noted Beauchamp. "Brice is the only person we know who has participated in every year of the Staked Plains Roundup. He has performed in front of tens of thousands of Lea County children." The Staked Plains Roundup is an annual event at the museum that features the western way of life for young children in Lea County.

Brice began to develop a unique talent with a rope at five years old. Rarely seen without one, he soon learned to do rope tricks with both hands. By the time he was 7 he was performing at the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University. From there, he quickly built a career out of a childhood hobby. Today Chapman travels the country performing his specialty act, which also includes his faithful border collie, Jackpot, and his two trusty steeds, Crossfire and Peanut. Chapman brings a unique quality to his trick-roping act with the addition of his animals, who offer their own amazing talents.

Chapman's uniqueness and level of talent has him being sought after to perform at some of the PRCA's finest rodeos. He has made appearances at premier events such as the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, the Working Ranch Cowboy's Association Finals and the National Finals Steer Roping.

Chapman has been featured on the Texas Country Reporter and RFDTV's America By Horseback, and has had the honor to perform for the families of the 9-11 victims. In 2006 Chapman was asked to perform for the President of the United States, George W. Bush, at the Congressional Picnic.

Working Cowboy of the Year Award - Zach Ozborn

28-year-old Zach Ozborn spent his youth working cows and breaking colts at the Martin Ranch, 18 miles west of Lovington. He was a three-time national collegiate champion while at New Mexico State University where he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. While at NMSU he was a member of the NMSU Ranch Horse team. Since graduation he has been a cowboy at various ranches around the state. He has worked for several horse training operations, including working with his father, Phillip, near Lovington.

Ozborn spent two years working in the oil field during the boom, and for the last two years he has been a cowboy on the Turkey Track Ranch, a division Bogle Limited. Ozborn and his wife, Vanessa, whose family ranches in Andrews County, have a 2-year-old son, Zane. His parents are Phillip and Troy Lee Ozborn of Lovington. Zach's sister, Makayla, of Lovington is a student at New Mexico Junior College.

Ozborn is a third generation recipient of the "Working Cowboy of the Year award." His grandfather, Albert "Suckerrod" Ozborn, and his father, Phillip are previous recipients. His grandmother, Lajean Burnett was the founding director of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Outstanding Ranchers of the Year Award - Mark and Annette McCloy

Lea County ranchers Mark and Annette McCloy moved to Lea County in 2001 when they purchased the Diamond and a Half Ranch between Jal and Carlsbad. After 13 years they bought a ranch on the county line between Lea and Chavez Counties, forty miles north of Tatum. That acquisition gave them holdings in the northernmost and southernmost parts of Lea County. At their Tatum ranch they raise and work race horses. At present they have 18 mares and 10 weanlings.

Both Mark and Annette McCloy graduated from Texas Tech, Mark in 1973 with a degree in Agriculture, and Annette, who was raised in Ira, Texas, with a degree in accounting and business. They were married in 1974 and began working in Morse, TX where his family operated a feed lot and farm.

They have three daughters, Jana, Shahala, and Holly. Their daughter Jana, and her husband Jake operate the Diamond and a Half ranch near Jal. Daughter Shahala and her husband Lance continue to operate the farm in Morse, Texas, while daughter Holly and her husband, Buster farm and ranch near Gruber, Texas. The McCloy's have seven grandchildren.


For more information about this or any of Museum's exhibits and events, contact Darrell Beauchamp at 575-492-2676 or email The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame is located on the campus of New Mexico Junior College, 5317 North Lovington Highway, in Hobbs, New Mexico. The museum's website is

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