Tues. - Sat. 10am - 5pm
Sundays: 1pm - 5pm
Mon. group tours by appointment only.
Price of Admission
Adults $3, Seniors 65 and older $2, students $2,
children 5 & under free, NMJC students free,
New Mexico Junior College
5317 Lovington Highway Hobbs, NM 88240
Lea County boasts of more professional rodeo world champions than any other place in the United States. The Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center is a New Mexico non-profit corporation whose purpose is to:
Commemorate those persons from Lea County who have made outstanding contributions in rodeo, as a ranch cowboy, and related individuals who have influenced the growth of our communities through their leadership; enhance and compliment the educational process at the New Mexico Junior College, providing scholarships, educating the public and research in the area of the history of Lea County; and collect artifacts of and serve as a living memorial to the indomitable spirit of westerners past, present, and future.
Founded in 1978, the Cowboy Hall of Fame was initially a long-time dream of Lea County rancher and professional roper, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper. Tuffy’s idea was presented by Sylvia Mahoney, New Mexico Junior College’s rodeo coach, to the college’s interim president, R.N. Tydings. Mr. Tydings and the NMJC Board strongly supported the idea. It was decided that the dream could become a reality and belonged on the NMJC campus where the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the rodeo program would complement each other.
Original Board of Directors of Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center Front: Sylvia Benge Mahoney, Dessie Sawyer, Loys Madera, Daisy Clayton Back: Dr. Bob Anderson, Bob Eidson, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper, Tom Pearson, John Shepherd, Bill Zimmerman Not Pictured – R.N. Tydings, Stan Newman, Leo Sims, Muriel McNeill
Outgrowing its location in 2005, the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame combined efforts with the New MexicoJunior College, making the vision of a newer, more attractive facility come true. With the passing of a bond, fund raising, and support from the community, the NMJC built the expansion, developing the WesternHeritageMuseum and housing the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame. Thus was the birth of the: WesternHeritageMuseum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame. This new expansion provided the opportunity to offer more educational offerings, more cultural events, and emphasis of the petroleum industry.
The Hall of Fame is governed by a 13 board members, one of whom is a representative of the NMJC Board of Trustees. The other 12 board members are elected by the general membership, composed of approximately 400 individuals.
Membership is open to any individual interested in preserving our heritage and honoring those who have given so much of themselves. Members are entitled to free museum admission. Members elect new inductees and honor them at an annual banquet and ceremony. Induction into the Cowboy Hall of Fame is commemorated with the presentation of the Bronze Cowboy Award. This award is given annually to no more than three men and women who have roots in Lea County and who have distinguished themselves in the rodeo world or have contributed to the area’s ranching industry. The inductees have a case displaying their achievements and memorabilia.
In addition to the Bronze Cowboy Award, the board presents a special recognition award, the Silver Concho, to men and women or animals not eligible for induction but who deserve to be remembered for their service throughout the county. A Young Rancher Award and Working Cowboy Award recognize those who are actively preserving the fast-fading cowboy way of life. Come visit us! Learn history, honor rodeo and ranching legends, and see the Old West come alive!