New sign at Fairgrounds honors champions

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska businessman Cody Garnett is welcoming the installation of a new sign at the Osage County Fairgrounds, honoring rodeo champion cowboys and cowgirls from Osage County.

It’s Garnett’s sign, and it furthers the mission of the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum, which he owns downtown. The museum’s name refers to both Ben Johnson Sr., an outstanding rodeo performer who settled in Osage County, and his son, Ben “Son” Johnson Jr., who was a rodeo performer, a stuntman and a movie star.

Garnett says people often overlook the social diversity of the cowboy community. He explains that he recently counted up the number of Native American cowboys honored in the museum and determined there were at least 17 of Osage ancestry, as well as outstanding competitors from other Native American backgrounds.

“That’s a huge, significant part of the museum,” Garnett said.

In addition to individual rodeo champions, the new sign at the Fairgrounds gives recognition to special events such as Cavalcade Rodeo, a week-long annual event that dates back to 1947, and the Ben Johnson Steer Roping competition that has been taking place on Father's Day since 1954. The steer roping competition is a benefit to raise money to fight cancer.

Garnett is also currently working on preparations for Ben Johnson Days, which will be roughly June 15-19 and coincide with the annual Osage County Cattlemen’s Convention. Pawhuska residents and visitors to town will have the opportunity to attend trade shows, parties, rodeo competitions and other events during a hectic multi-day stretch.

"It's going to be a cram-packed week," Garnett said. If you haven't already booked your room at a Pawhuska bed-and-bath, it may be difficult to find one, he said.

"All of the surrounding communities are going to be feeling a good financial impact from this, too," he said.

For more information about Ben Johnson Days, you can also visit the Facebook Page dedicated to the subject or call 918-429-6349.

In addition to everything else on his plate, Garnett has been updating displays at the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum. The museum is located at 201 E. 6th Street. The phone number is 918-287-9922.

Photo cutline: Cody Garnett, owner of the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum in Pawhuska, is pleased with the installation of a new sign at the Osage County Fairgrounds that honors champion cowboys and cowgirls from Osage County.