Western Heritage Museum Hosts Dan Berry Dedication
9/5/2010 2:25:41 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. On Thursday, September 9, at 5:00 p.m., the Western Heritage Museum & Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame will hold a ceremony for the dedication of a Desert Willow tree and memorial for Dan Berry. Presented by the Rich Anderson family, the ceremony will honor the memory of Berry, who served for 17 years as a New Mexico state representative and who was instrumental in helping build the New Mexico Junior College arena and related programs.
Daniel Carroll Berry was born in Benjamin, Texas, on September 14, 1922, as the sixth of seven children. When he was very young, his family moved to eastern Lea County, New Mexico, and his uncle eventually founded the Berry Ranch west of Eunice, which was to play a prominent role in his life for a number of years. After serving in the Army Air Force in World War II, Berry managed the Ranch for some 28 years and later leased ranches east of Eunice.
Berry also served as senior director for the American Junior Rodeo Association for several years, worked as arena director at numerous rodeos in Lovington, Eunice, Artesia, Roswell, and Monahans, and helped with the National Finals in Odessa and Snyder, Texas, and Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
As Chairman of the Building Committee, he helped build the New Mexico Junior College rodeo arena and served as arena director for the first college rodeo ever held there. He also served on the National High School Rodeo Association as director and helped with the high school finals held north of Denver, Colorado.
His community service included serving as president of the Eunice School Board, president of the County District School Board Association, and president of the New Mexico State School Board Association. In addition, he served as director of the National School Board Association and was inducted into the School Board Association Hall of Fame.
Berry’s public service included 17 years representing his district as New Mexico State Representative, and during his tenure, he served on the Tax Committee and chaired the Tax Study Committee, which was instrumental in passing the largest tax cut in New Mexico history. He also served on the Agriculture, Transportation, and Education Committees, chairing the Higher Education Committee for several years.
A highlight of his career was being appointed to the National Council of State Governments. He also served on the Western Conference of State Governments as chairman. Berry was appointed by four different Secretaries of Interior to serve on the Land Use Guidelines Committee for the western United States. He was invited twice by President Ronald Reagan to the White House to discuss land problems in the West.
The ceremony honoring the memory of Dan Berry and his numerous contributions to the region and state will be held in the front circle of the Western Heritage Museum. For more information, please contact Mary Lyle, Education and Event Coordinator, at 575.392.6730.