The 101 Gallery is used primarily to display Western art collections and other specially created exhibits that pertain to the sport of rodeo. Exhibits in this gallery are changed at least twice a year.
Current exhibit: “Hafley-Shelton Wild West Exhibit”
The Hafley-Shelton Wild West Exhibit opened in the 101 Gallery at ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy on May 1. It will remain in the gallery until the end of September.
The exhibit features the Hafley-Shelton Collection which was donated to the Hall in 1983 by Tom Shelton, the only son of Reine (pronounced Reen) and Dick Shelton. The Collection contains over one thousand items that trace back to the turn of the last century. The exhibit is only a sampling of the artifacts as many are too fragile to place on exhibit and must remain in archival storage. The exhibit was originally on display at the Hall in 1984 and remained up for five years. By the 1990s, it was a traveling display sent across the country to other museums and even made an appearance during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. When it returned in 1999, it has remained in the Hall’s collections until now.
Part of the collection is on loan to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, TX where both Mamie Francis and Reine Hafley Shelton are inductees.
California Frank Hafley’s Wild West Show ran from 1910 to the mid 1920’s. Following the closure of his Wild West Show, Frank Hafley then did traveling rodeo shows and was a rodeo stock contractor.
The Shelton’s performed in his show and then went on the rodeo circuit. Dick Shelton was a pro rodeo cowboy and won the steer wrestling at the Madison Square Garden’s rodeo five times in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Reine was also a rodeo champion in trick riding and breakaway roping in the 1920’s. They both retired in 1937 from the Wild West Shows and rodeo.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the Wild West show attempted to capture a sense of the frontier with staged re-enactments of battles with Native Americans, herds of buffalo and elk, trick shooting demonstrations and bronc riding exhibitions. What the Wild West shows did was combine the drama and shock of vaudeville and circus acts with western elements. They presented a stylized vision of the American West that has never really left the imagination. These shows traveled by rail car to multiple cities every year. The largest producers included Gordon “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, “Buffalo” Bill Cody, Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, and “California” Frank Hafley. At one time there were over one hundred different travelling shows. For Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, 218 performers, 180 horses, eighteen buffalo, ten elk, five steers, and four donkeys traveled to England. With the end of World War I, the Wild West Show began to decline in popularity while the new sport of rodeo began to take off.