Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Grace Boyd’

Hopalong Cassidy Statue Dedicated

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Laura Bates, Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club founder, stands beside the newly dedicated bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy with the sculptor, Alan Cottrill.

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.

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John Gilliland was the cowboy, who posed for Alan Cottrill when he designed the statue. He was kind enough to imitate that pose again at the dedication ceremony..

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.

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Laura Bates watches as the Hopalong Cassidy statue is unveiled.

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.

Hoppy Grace

A picture of Grace Boyd was presented to the Senior Center and can be found in the entrance hall.

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.

Hoppy Plaque

This plaque beside the statue acknowledges all those who contributed to keeping alive the memory of William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy.

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.

Hoppy DirtAt 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.

 

 

 

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Rootin’ Tootin’ Western Fun Hopalong Cassidy Festival

Pritchard Laughlin Civic CenterMore fun than a pig in mud !  That description summed up the feeling of those participating in the 23rd Annual Hopalong Cassidy Festival held at Pritchard-Laughlin Civic Center during the first weekend of May near Cambridge, Ohio. Everyone there seemed to be having fun in this beautiful springtime setting!

From the moment of arrival, you were greeted outside the center with some good old-fashioned BBQ by Smokin’ C BBQ from nearby Old Washington. This provided a break from the action anytime hunger appeared during the day. Their pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ baked potatoes are always favorites.

Festival LobbyInside was where the legend of Hopalong Cassidy was being kept alive. The lobby contained Western actors from days gone by. They autographed pictures, posed with fans, and answered questions in a friendly manner.

The large banquet room had hundreds of items for sale from days of Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Daniel Boone and other favorite Western stars. Fans and dealers from all over the nation come to explore over one hundred tables of collectibles to see if they can find a treasure.

Panel of Stars

Julie Ream narrated a Panel of Stars including: Darby Hinton, Johnny Crawford, and Don Quine.

Cowboys from the past seemed to be one of the main drawing cards.  Meet the Stars drew a large crowd in the Bar 20 Annex.  These stars were all from California, but enjoying the small town greeting. Western history expert Julie Ream, who remembered the days of attending Charm School, informed the audience that her cousin, Cactus Mack McPeters was the first to make a Western with Republic Pictures, while her Uncle Rex Allen, The Arizona Cowboy, made the last Western for them.

Representing The Virginia was Don Quine, who played the role of the grandson, Stacey. Today he spends his free time writing a book, but he would not give any inside information as to what that book was about. Perhaps it is his memoirs.

An actual descendant of Daniel Boone, Darby Hinton accidentally fell into a role in the Daniel Boone TV series when his mother, running late as usual, dropped him off in front of the studio while she went to park the car. Here he was to try out for the part of a von Trapp lad in Sound of Music. So when Darby went inside, he fell right in line with the rest of the youngsters. He charmed those interviewing and got the part easily. However, when his mother arrived, she discovered he had gone to the wrong floor and instead of interviewing for Sound of Music, had accepted a role in Daniel Boone as his son. Today he is working on a PBS documentary of the life and times of the real Daniel Boone.

A sense of humor seemed to be the strong point for Johnny Crawford, who appeared on Rifleman for five years in the role of a son. When asked what he did when he became an adult, Johnny said, “I never grew up.” Music seemed to be his avocation these days and he sang Sweet Sue to the group…well, as much of it as remembered. Johnny said he could do the beginning of most songs.

Look Alike ContestAnother highlight was the Look-Alike Contests for young and old alike, which was judged by audience clapping. Youngsters dressed in Western gear competed for trophies, but just being there was the most fun for all of them.

In the adult division, Johnny Crawford served as moderator and put the competitors through their paces. While he sang, he had them perform in various ways such as dancing, cracking the whip, doing tricks with their guns, and testing their beards to see if they were real.  Gabby Hayes quipped, “My teeth aren’t real, but my beard is.”

Johnny noted, “Being a cowboy is a hard life.”

To which Gabby responded, “Durn tootin’.”

The Roy Rogers Look-Alike was a real estate broker, who wore his Roy Rogers hat to work every day. His rendition of Happy Trails to You brought a round of applause.

However, John Wayne’s Look-Alike was the overall winner of the contest. This big, strong fellow looked and sounded like The Duke. His dance steps were even quite smooth for a cowboy of his size.

Laura Bates, founder and chairmanLaura Bates, the founder of the Hopalong Cassidy Festival, paid tribute to Grace Boyd, Hopalong’s wife. Laura and Grace had become good friends over the years with Laura visiting their California home on the Pacific Ocean frequently. Laura dressed in a shirt of Hoppy’s that Grace had given her, and had the table covered in a scarf from their home. While the festival was to honor hometown cowboy hero, Hopalong Cassidy, his wife actually was a guest there for several years and became a real favorite of those attending. Grace went to the corral where cowboys and their families go after they leave this old world at the age of 97.

Many of the attendees come year after year to the Festival. One couple from Jacksonville FL said they had been there for 17 years. Seeing old friends, who are fans of Hoppy, is one of the best reasons for coming back year after year. See y’all next year!

The Hopalong Cassidy Festival is held annually at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center near Cambridge Ohio.  It is easily reached from I-70 at Exit  176. Turn right coming off the exit onto Glenn Highway Road, and in about half a mile the civic center is on the left side of the road.

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