ACU students survey Dublin rodeo site, ranch


For Immediate Release
March 30, 2000

ABILENE - A group of Abilene Christian University students will descend on Dublin, Texas, Saturday to conduct an archaeological site survey of the old Colborn Bowl rodeo area and the Lightning C Ranch.

The ACU student team will partner with Dublin High School students and other community volunteers for the survey.

Dublin ranchers Gene and Maxine Gilbreath and Mr. And Mrs. Craig Means have been responsible for assisting ACU history professors Dr. Vernon L. Williams and Benny Gallaway, professor emeritus, in the initial survey work of the Lightning C Ranch area. Former rodeo stars Harry Tompkins and Mary Ann Mayfield Stephen worked with Rodeo Association activist Carolyn Harbin and others to bring the ACU professors to Dublin to assist in preserving the history of the Dublin Rodeo.

For a time, the Colborn Bowl became the origin and the center of the rodeo universe as Gene Autry and his partner, Everett Colborn attracted many other notable entertainers to participate in the rodeo in Dublin. Up-and-coming stars frequented the small community as the rodeo kicked off a national tour each rodeo season.

Today many of the old structures still remain.

The ACU team will depart Abilene at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, April 1, bound for Dublin and a full day of preservation activities.

The team includes Williams and Gallaway and students from Williams' American West history course. The student team members include: Chelsea Sumners, graduate student in education from Abilene; Michael Freeman, junior social work major from Hurst; Joshua W. Lierman, junior social services major from Rio Vista; Ross Thomas, senior social services major from Abilene; Jonathan Hardman, senior secondary education major from Fort Worth; and Sandra Shields, senior applied studies education major from Abilene.

The team will engage in a number of activities to document what is left of the rodeo and the level of deterioration of these half-century old structures.

Students and their volunteer partners will map the sites, produce a photographic record of significant resources using both film and digital formats, video tape oral history interviews of rodeo participants, and begin the long process of saving the archival record of the rodeo and the people who "rode the eight seconds to glory."

The ACU team will meet local volunteers at the Dairy Queen parking lot in Dublin at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning for the morning session. Those working only in the afternoon will meet the ACU team at the same location at 1 p.m. after lunch.

Abilene area residents interested in volunteering who need more information should call Williams at (915) 674-2150 or Gallaway at (915) 673-7914. Dublin area residents should call Mary Ann Mayfield Stephen at (254) 445-2678 or Carolyn Harbin at (254) 445-2184. Volunteers can show up at Dairy Queen without calling in advance.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at craigt@acu.edu or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).


Last update: March 30, 2000
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