Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
The steers were everywhere, some loped past store fronts in downtown Woodward while others galloped down alleys.
Some went wildly, bellowing and totally out of control through the Stock Exchange parking lot.
That was about 1997 and the fondest and most colorful memory of long-time Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee member and former chairman Clair Craighead.
"My memory of it is that first year that we drove Benny Beutler's bull-doggin' steers and all the team roping steers right through town and they wound up, pretty much all over town," he said with a belly laugh.
"Yeah, and R.J. Hollon got bucked off and it 'bout killed him," said present Elks Rodeo Committee Chairman Neal Day.
This year, Craighead will be honored with Dewey Holdeman, Bud Martin, Wes Sander, Jack Pierce, and Danny Mooney as they all are inducted into the Woodward Elks Wall of Fame, Day said. Five others will be inducted posthumously including, Red Washman, Bill Holley, Gordon Craighead, Jim Eskew and Olen Thomas.
The wall exists in the Woodward Elks Lodge and has been a way the organization honors its members who have long-term service histories with the Elks Rodeo, its largest organizational yearly event.
Craighead has been working with the rodeo committee for about 21 years, he said.
It is especially poignant for Craighead, whose father, Warren Criaghead was also inducted in the Wall of Fame.
"Its the only father-son induction since the rodeo began," Craighead said.
For Bud Martin, the induction is just the right dressing for something that ended up creating some of the most valuable and warm bonds with friends.
"I was on the committee from 1984 to 2010," Martin said. "It is kind of a brotherly thing and you get mighty close and you stay that way.
The older members who have left the active committee and who are inducted into the Wall of Fame are known by the organization as the "Old Buckers," Day said.
"They help with things and serve as a type of historical knowledge for us as we keep going on," Day said.
You can see the Wall of Fame when you drop by the Woodward Elks Lodge on an open house date. The photos are lined up in the hallway of the lodge.