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HP Wells Family Films - Texas Cowboy Reunion (1939)

Bill Minter

Silent | 1939

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  •  A close-up view of cowboys and cowgirls riding together at the rodeo 
  •  A game of golf 
  •  Beautiful family scenes in the yard 
  •  A humorous group takes a canoe ride on Fort Phantom Hill Lake 
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This home movie from the HP Wells Family Films opens on the Stamford Rodeo, also known as the Texas Cowboy Reunion, in 1939. Men and women ride horses in a cloverleaf pattern, and men ride bucking broncos and wrangle calves. The film also includes scenes of a game of golf, a father playing outside with his young daughter, and a group canoeing on a cold day.
The Texas Cowboy Reunion is an annual event founded by thirteen businessman from Stamford in 1930. Each year it is held around July 4 just west of Stamford, bringing together working cowboys, rather than professional rodeo cowboys, to honor their traditions. The event is held along with the Texas Old-Timers Reunion, the Texas Quarter Horse Show, and the John Selmon Memorial Art Show.
The Reunion includes rodeo events like calf roping, wild-cow milking, steer and bronc riding, barrel racing, and a cutting horse contest. Other entertainment includes a parade led by the Hardin-Simmons University Cowboy Band.
In its first year, the Reunion brought together 98 cowboys and 12,000 spectators, a number that grew to 70,000 by 1937. The event suffered a decline in interest during World War II, and although it never returned to its former glory, it did attract about 60,000 attendees in 1955. Eventually, crowds decreased to about 10,000 people annually, an attendance that holds to this day.