Six to be inducted in Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Fame
The Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum on Friday, July 8, 2016 will induct new members into its Hall of Fame. The event will be at the Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave. The 2016 inductees are:
MARY SHAW DRAKE
Mary didn’t have a horse of her own until in junior high – not for lack of hints, but she had a natural riding ability that was enhanced over the years through constant training. She was the Utah High School Rodeo Queen in 1994 and was in the top five at the National High School Rodeo Finals. In 1997 she fulfilled her dream of becoming Miss Rodeo Ogden. At the same time she held the titles of Lehi Roundup Queen and Miss Rodeo Hooper. She won the Miss Rodeo Utah title as well and spent her time preparing for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant that took place in Las Vegas. She competed against 35 young women, and came out on top as Miss Rodeo America. Throughout 1998 she traveled 100,000 miles, covering 22 states while she advertised rodeo. She had a serious setback in May of that year when she was thrown from a horse, causing a spiral fracture that required eight screws and a metal plate in her lower leg and angle, and has needed surgery again at a later time. She spent three weeks recuperating, and then was back on the road. After the completion of her reign she completed her schooling at Weber State University in Technical Sales, and later earned a Master of Science in Health Promotion at Brigham Young University. In 2005 she married Capt. Aaron Drake, a JAG in the United States Air Force. They lived in Alabama and Colorado before moving back to Utah.
The Wrights have been running a cattle ranch in canyon country for more than 150 years. One of seven brothers, all but the youngest are competitors, with the oldest, Cody, a World Championship performer. He was born 1977 in Toquerville, Utah, and when about 22 joined the PRCA. Compact in size, and well-muscled, over the years he worked his way up to two world championships, won in 2008 and 2010. In 2008 he was followed by a documentary filmmaker from Southern Utah State University. “Born to Ride” premiered in Cedar City in April 2009. He qualified for the WNFR eleven times between 2003-2013. His is a close-knit family, and often his winnings, and that of his brothers, would go toward adding cattle to their ranch. Memorial Day became a family holiday, when all of them would get together to round up the cattle and brand the new calves. His biggest competitors are his brothers. They often traveled together to the competitions. He noted that having his brothers by his side made the year go easier. Now his sons and nephews are competing and making their mark, creating one of the strongest rodeo families in the business. He says his hobbies are his wife, Sharee, and his children. He enjoys watching the strides they are making in life.
Ken was the oldest of 11 children, raised by hard-working parents during the Depression. After graduating from South Summit High, he worked at for Brooklawn Creamery in Oakley, until called on a mission for his church. Upon his return, he went back to Brooklawn, and picked up an interest in rodeo. He accomplished much while competing in the old Rocky Mountain Rodeo Association. Between 1956 and 1972 he won 18 championships in the bareback, bull riding, and all-around categories — all accomplished while raising a family. When he finished his competitive years, he worked as a pick-up man at the rodeos; first at the amateur level, and then as a professional in the PRCA where he worked for Bar T Rodeo Company. Ken has spent most of his life in service to others, including 23 years in the LDS bishopric; Summitt County Commissioner 1966-1971 and 2002-2006; Mayor of Oakley 1985-1997; Utah Schools Boards Association 1968 – 1972; South Summit School District Board Member 1958 – 1974; RMRA President two times; RMRA Bareback Riding Director for much of his competitive years; and Oakley Independence Day Rodeo Committee 1954 to the present. All his life Ken has been known as a champion of rodeo, a hardworking cattle rancher, and a leader of his community. Whether riding a bull, picking up a cowboy after his ride, or growing a small town amateur rodeo into a nationally prominent PRCA event, Ken has personified the very best of the Western way of life.
Marvin was born 1910 in Logan and at the age of five had already manifested a love of horses. He grew up to be an outstanding contestant, not only in saddle and bareback riding, but in all events, even serving as a trick rider, trick roper, rodeo clown and judge. He was the first cowboy to fly to a rodeo in an airplane. He competed in the Boston Garden Rodeo as well as at Madison Square Garden; and, took top honors at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934 as well. Marv was an all-around champion in Utah for seven years. He was self-employed as a rodeo cowboy, participating in every rodeo within 1,500 miles of Logan; a guest ranch operator – Big D stables, located on the Logan River; a big game hunting guide; and, a riding instructor – an occupation he pursued when only 18 years of age. Marv was a charter member of the Cowboy Turtles Association, that evolved into the PRCA. He started the Logan-Cache Mounted Posse, and with the Box Elder Sheriff, Warren E. Hyde, Paul Scott and attorney Walter G. Mann, organized the Intermountain Quarter Horse Association. He was struck by lightning on June 14, 1953 and killed instantly. He was married to Leah Wood, and they had two children – Marlene Dunbar Griffin and Don William Dunbar.
Don was born in 1931 and grew up on a cattle ranch on Crow Creek in Idaho. The middle of three brothers, he learned to work hard when just a lad. He was shoeing his own horse at the age of ten, and eventually taught horse shoeing at Weber State College for 16 years. He had the extraordinary ability to calm and handle nervous and unruly horses. He also rode broncs in local rodeos along with participating in calf roping. Among varied skills was his ability as a cowboy poet, who performed throughout the west to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences. His work shoeing horses and writing cowboy poetry was his way of keeping the cowboy way of life alive. It was his heritage and his legacy. He always put a smile on the faces of the people around him, whether it was nailing a shoe on a horse, visiting in the grocery store, or performing his favorite poems on stage. He was a member of the Utah, Idaho and Wyoming cowboy poets association, and was one of the first cowboy poets to be invited to Elko, Nevada, where he became a favorite. He won the Cowboy Poets of Utah Pioneer Heritage award, and numerous belt buckles. He and his brother, Don, also published five cowboy poetry books, and many unfinished poems were found in notebooks after his death. Don and his wife, Arlene, were married for 63 years, and raised six children.
NORMAN “SHORTY” THOMPSON
Norman Thompson, better known as “Shorty,” owned and operated a ranch in Pleasant View for 60 years. Part of the ranch included an arena that attracted youth from all over the state. They would go there every night to practice riding bareback, bulls and roping. Shorty would use his own horse for roping. Then, he would take the saddle off and the young people could practice their bucking skills. There weren’t too many nights that you didn’t see a cloud of dust and lights on at the arena. Shorty would kill a pig or lamb and cook it in a pit. It would cook all day while team roping was going on. In the evening, there would be a big dinner for everyone, with many a card game played after. The roping went on for many years. He traded cows and horses a number of years, and knew everyone from all over the state. Many people still remember buying their first horse from Shorty. He always had a team of horses that usually pulled a wagon loaded with politicians through the parades. He also used the horses to pull feed or hay into the fields — better than using a conventional tractor or bale wagon, he thought. Shorty helped promote rodeo, and on more than one occasion served as the arena director of the local high school rodeo, college rodeo, and state finals. He was a man who always had a smile on his face and a clap on the back, and who stood by his word. He was a man of integrity.