‘Texas Spurs’ Exhibit opens Saturday at Tarleton’s W.K. Gordon Center

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STEPHENVILLE — A public showing of rare tools of the cowboy trade opens Saturday at Tarleton State University’s W.K. Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas.

The Hugh Edmondson Collection of spurs and bits contains spurs made by more than 20 craftsmen over the course of 120 years. A Tarleton alumnus, Edmondson recently donated his collection to the university.

“This collection provides a basis for the study of spur making; its history, the metallurgy that is part of the process, and the art involved in the design and decorations of different styles,” said exhibit curator Mary Adams.

Featured artists include Joseph Petmecky, J.O. Bass and three generations of the Boone family, descendants of Daniel Boone, the American frontier pioneer; Harold “Swede” Strong, an immigrant from Sweden; Marvin “Cowboy” Traylor, believed to have learned blacksmithing while serving time in a Texas penitentiary in the 1920s; and contemporary craftsmen Wilson Capron and Randy Butters.

Hugh Edmondson looks over some of the spurs and bits he donated to Tarleton State University. The collection goes on exhibit Saturday at Tarleton’s G.K. Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas.

The collection showcases a variety of materials, finishes, designs, sizes and shapes. A short demonstration video takes visitors inside Capron’s workshop. A resident of Christoval, he was influenced in his work by his father, a cowboy artist. Capron is scheduled to speak at 2 p.m. as part of Saturday’s exhibition opening.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 23.

The Gordon Center, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, is at 65258 Interstate 20, Exit 367 in Mingus, between Abilene and Fort Worth.

For more on the spurs exhibit, contact Mary Adams at 254-968-1886, mkadams@tarleton.edu, or visit www.tarleton.edu/gordoncenter/spur-exhibit.html.

The W.K. Gordon Museum and Research Center for the Industrial History of Texas is a facility of Tarleton State University. It is a combined museum and special collections library located at the site of the Thurber ghost town. Visitors enjoy interactive exhibits that explore the birth, operations and death of the town, which was owned by the Texas and Pacific Coal Co.

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