Hall of Fame completes historic photograph restoration, new exhibit features project

Our Mission

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy educates the public about rodeo, its history and impact on Western American culture, and provides recognition to rodeo notables of the past and present and serves as an inspiration for the future.

To bring an appreciation of the American Cowboy and the sport of professional rodeo to the hearts and minds of the public through education, recognition, inspiration and preservation.

Our Vision

The Elite of Professional Rodeo

The colorful history and equally colorful legends of professional rodeo live on at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Since the Hall’s opening in 1979, 279 people, 35 animals and 30 rodeo committees have been inducted. More than 100 individuals are nominated each year, but only a few are selected.

Be a Part of Rodeo History

Rodeo fans from around the world can help honor and preserve America’s original sport for generations to come by joining the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Membership Program. Memberships start as low as $75 a year.


2022 Legend of ProRodeo Selected

ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Mike Cervi has been named the 2022 Legend of ProRodeo.

 

Cervi will be honored at the 15th annual Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala on Nov. 28 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

“Thank you very much,” said Cervi, 85. “I’m honored and appreciative.”

Cervi, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2003, has been involved with rodeo since 1950 and as a stock contractor since 1967.

“I started clowning rodeos when I was 14 years old in Canada for Harry Vold,” Cervi said. “I did that for three or four years and that led me into the rodeo business. I have been involved with the cattle business all my life also. Once you got attached to rodeo and were a part of it, it is pretty hard to shake it and do something else.”

Cervi’s career as a stock contractor for rodeos was on a list of the country’s biggest on the PRCA trail like Houston, Denver, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Nampa, Idaho, and Waco, Texas. He was named a two-time PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year (1983, 2001), and he sent countless horses and bulls to compete at the National Finals Rodeo. He was also a longtime member of the PRCA board of directors, who helped the sport leap into the 21st century.

“It is the people you meet and the friendships you make, the lifelong friendships that mean a lot,” said Cervi about what he enjoyed most about his lifetime in rodeo. “Those friends are very important to me.”

Cervi is the 17th man to be honored as a Legend of ProRodeo, following Jake Barnes, Jim Shoulders, Clem McSpadden, Harry Vold, Larry Mahan, Shawn Davis, Dean Oliver, Donnie Gay, Benny Binion, Mel Potter, Neal Gay, Michael Gaughan, Keith Martin, Cotton Rosser, Bob Tallman, and Clint Johnson.

“The people who have been honored with this award (Legend of ProRodeo) are people who have done a lot for rodeo,” Cervi said. “I feel very fortunate to be amongst those type of people. I know probably all those people and I would not have ever thought I would have been amongst those people (as the Legend of ProRodeo).”


"Save America's Treasures: Panoramic Photo Project" Exhibit Now Open

Save America’s Treasures: Panoramic Photo Project Display

This display is the culmination of three years of hard work cleaning, repairing, and digitizing 120 panoramic and oversized photographs. With the help of a Save America’s Treasures Grant from the National Parks Service administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame can now share these amazing images with guests both in person and online. The display of many of the images will be featured in the 101 Gallery until next Spring (2023). For more information about the project, contact Megan at 719-528-4754.


Save America's Treasures Grant and Exhibit Press Release

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is proud to announce the completion of its Panoramic and Oversized Photograph Restoration Project.

 

This project started in 2019 when the Hall received a Save America’s Treasures Grant from the National Parks Service administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The grant was to help with the humidifying, flattening, cleaning, repairing, and digitizing of 120 panoramic and oversized photographs that dated from 1912 to 1959. The Hall was awarded $95,500 in grant funds that had to be matched, dollar for dollar, by the Hall of Fame.

After an extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hall and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts were able to complete the project this September. The three-year long project is now finished, and the Hall wishes to thank the many individuals, businesses, corporations, and rodeo committees that helped match the grant funds through their generous donations.

“It was customary back in those days to take a group photograph of everyone involved in the rodeo,” said Kent Sturman, Director of the Hall. “These groups include not only the contestants, but the producers, officials, clowns, personnel, workers, and in some cases, even the rodeo band and local Native American groups. As a result, when these images were printed, they were quite large and panoramic in nature. Some of the committees whose photos are in the collection, donated to this project.”

Many of the photographs were taken in the arena with several on horseback while others were taken just as groups in front of places such as city hall or the local courthouse. Many of the Madison Square Garden group photographs in New York City were taken in the basement of that historic building.

All final paperwork, reports and budgets are being finalized to submit with the final grant report and the original photographs are being shipped back to the Hall from the lab in Philadelphia this week.

“We are so happy that this project is now complete, and the images will be forever preserved for future generations,” Sturman said. “Our fund-raising efforts were derailed almost a year with the pandemic, but we were granted an extension from the IMLS to raise the funds and complete the restoration of these incredibly historic photographs.”

The 120 photographs, which had not been thoroughly studied since their arrival at the Hall, received top treatment and are now available for viewing on the Hall of Fame’s digital database where they can be viewed and enjoyed by anyone.

To showcase the completed photographs, an exhibit in the Hall’s 101 Gallery opened Sept. 28, and will remain in the gallery until later in the spring of 2023. The exhibit features many of the restored images and items from collections that tie-in with the rodeos featured in the photographs. One of the images was enlarged to five feet wide to encourage visitors to identify the cowboys and cowgirls at the 1953 Madison Square Garden Rodeo.

Another wall of the exhibit showcases the process that the images went through at the conservation center during the humidification and digitization stages. Before and after images tell the story of how well the photographs were restored and repaired. Even the most damaged images look new again.

Still another wall showcases the changes in the Madison Square Garden contestants from 1923 to 1959. Visitors are encouraged to examine the photographs and note the changes and similarities in western wear styles of both the audiences and the rodeo participants.

“We encourage folks to visit the Hall and view this amazing exhibit,” Sturman said. “And if they are not able to visit in person, they can view the collection on our digital database. There will be a link on our website at prorodeohalloffame.com.”

The Hall of Fame is looking for volunteers who would like to help in identifying the cowboys and cowgirls in these photographs. Since most of the image’s date back to the first days of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, many rodeo legends are pictured. Most often seen are Everett Bowman and Hugh Bennett, both Turtle Association officers. Casey Tibbs also makes an appearance in many of the images. To learn more about volunteering, contact the Hall of Fame at 719.528.4764.


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