Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame officially opens to public

Tamara Sevao, Online Editor

The Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame (ERHOF) has been a non-profit organization since 1997. For years they have been residing in a small corner in the Western Culture and Art Center. When it finally worked out for them to have their own home, they were ecstatic. 

“[We were] very excited. The whole board was,” ERHOF board member Marie Smith said. “Some of the board members have been on this board for over 20 years and that’s been their dream all along.”

ERHOF took over what was formerly known as the Downtown Pharmacy building on Pearl Street. The building is attached to the Western Culture and Art Center and owned by Clymer Museum. 

They renovated and renewed the space. They now have new lighting, new floors, new paint and  large moveable walls that allow displays to be hung. 

The museum includes multiple sections including all-around champions, inductees, steer wrestling, roping and more. Anything from photos to actual boots can be found in this walk down history. 

Each year, ERHOF inducts two or three people and honors them in a celebration including  their family and friends. Due to COVID-19, the celebration  was not able to happen but it did not stop them from honoring two new people. 

They decided to honor Mabel Strickland and Slim Pickens, both who have passed away, since there could not be any in-person awards given. 

Since there is no admission fee, ERHOF has always had to find ways to bring in more money. 

They typically hold a banquet and art auction around Labor Day weekend each year. Events such as Whiskey Tasting and First Friday Art Walk also help drive in some foot traffic. However, all of that had to be cancelled this year. 

“We kept thinking we could do something in the future, and we were waiting for things to change,” Smith said. “It just couldn’t come together. There were too many rules that didn’t allow us to have enough people.”

In the midst of trying to make money, ERHOF is hoping people will sign up to become members. There are three levels: single, family, corporate. Guests can fill out a brochure in the museum if they are interested. 

“We certainly welcome all because that is one way we can help survive, pay the rent and keep things running,” Smith said.