The legend of Hopalong Cassidy lives on in Cambridge, Ohio where he grew up as William Boyd. In June, 2016, a bronze statue was placed at the Guernsey County Senior Center to honor this local hero. June was a fitting month for this to happen as June 5 was both the birthday of William Boyd and the date of his marriage to Grace.
Laura Bates had a vision and a dream to have this memorial statue built for her hero. Through the efforts of Laura and her dedicated Hoppy Fan Club members, money was raised for a life size statue of Hopalong Cassidy. Laura has been the organizer for Hopalong Cassidy Festivals in the Cambridge area for 25 years, and has printed a monthly newsletter that she shares with Hoppy’s Fan Club.
Guests appeared from all over the United States for the dedication, which Laura emceed in a western turquoise and purple outfit – the favorite colors of Hoppy’s wife, Grace. Why, the courthouse in downtown Cambridge was even lit in turquoise and purple to honor this special dedication.
This celebration recalled those special values that Hopalong displayed and taught. He was a good man doing the right thing…the kind of cowboy who was clean living and never shot to kill anyone in his movies or television shows. Hoppy never smoked or drank and supported his home county even when he was in Hollywood. During WWI and WWII, when Hoppy bought savings bonds, he always gave the bond credit to Guernsey County.
The bronze statue made by Alan Cottrill, international sculptor, was brought to Cambridge a couple days earlier to be set on its foundation. Laura said this was not an easy thing to watch as they had a rope around Hoppy’s neck and were swinging him around so much that she feared he would be broken. No harm was done but it still was a very traumatic experience for her.
Having this statue placed at our Senior Center makes it the only Senior Center in Ohio with a bronze statue by the talented Alan Cottrill. His work is detailed and outstanding with a couple of his popular creations being the Thomas Edison bronze statue on display in Washington D.C and one of Woody Hayes on the Ohio State campus.
Many dignitaries were in attendance to give words of praise for this legendary cowboy. Several mentioned that his words should continue to resonate throughout America. He stood for those values that we long to see come back. He always reminded children at the end of his programs to be mindful of how we treat each other.
At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, several honored guests placed special soil around the bottom of the statue. This soil came from near the cabin where the Boyds stayed when films were being made in California.
The program ended with the reading of Hoppy’s Creed. The final words were:
Be glad and proud to be an American.