Woodward, Okla. —
FREEDOM - Former State Representative Elmer Maddux said in 2006 that having a highway named for him was "the honor of a lifetime."
However, being named this year's 75th Freedom Rodeo "Old Cowhand" comes in at a close second in top lifetime achievements.
"It's a real good honor," Maddux said, of becoming a part of this long-held Freedom Rodeo tradition.
HOW THE 'OLD COWHAND' IS PICKED
The Freedom Chamber of Commerce's President, Brent Smith, said 3 finalists for the "Old Cowhand" honor are selected each year by the Chamber's rodeo committee, then a community vote is conducted.
"We're looking for somebody who is known and respected in the area," he said. "It's a local person who has a big heart, who has done a lot for Freedom, and that means Mr. Maddux this year."
And the "Old Cowhand" doesn't necessarily have to be a cowboy, he added. "It can be anybody from the Freedom area."
To honor the winner, each year the "Old Cowhand" is recognized during each night of the Freedom Rodeo and presides over the arena action, Smith said. The 2012 Freedom Rodeo will be held next weekend, Aug. 16-18.
"Then, at 11 a.m. (Aug. 18), during the free Chuckwagon Feed at Pecan Park, a recognition program for Mr, Maddux will be held," he said.
Maddux heartily invited everyone to attend the free Chuckwagon Feed and celebrate Old Cowhands' Day with him, his wife Rita, and the rest of his family and many friends on Saturday, Aug. 18.
In fact, Maddux said that the opportunity to meet with old and new friends is his favorite part of the annual rodeo in Freedom.
"The whole thing is a pleasure to watch," Maddux said of the rodeo. "But I enjoy meeting with the people, all the fellowship. That's more important to me."