top of page

History of Western Celebration at HSU by: Delani Bauer

Hardin-Simmons University has had a deep seated Western heritage since its founding in 1891.

For example, In April 1954, the HSU campus celebrated its annual Fracas Week. This last week in April was selected to coincide with the return of the students who had just returned from Spring Break. HSU has always called themselves the Cowboys, but this week they truly were. (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 38, No. 27, Ed. 1, Saturday, April 24, 1954)

Fracas Week eventually would be renamed Rodeo Week, Ranch Week and Western Week. Regardless of the name changes, this all-important week in late April would continue to be built around the intercollegiate rodeo for many years. Even though the HSU Rodeo is no longer held, it will always be a part of the colorful history of the University.

Rules for the week were formulated by the student assembly, Inter-Club Council and the Rodeo Association. Fracas Week coincided with the annual Intercollegiate rodeo; first held in 1946.   The boys on campus sported western duds and grew their hair and beards out. If someone refused to participate in these activities, they were suitably penalized. Sheriff Dee Windsor and his deputies took charge to find these young men and enforce the Western law. (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 38, No. 27, Ed. 1, Saturday, April 24, 1954)

Senior day ended this fun week. Hundreds of prospective students from around Texas and New Mexico were able to experience life on campus for the day. (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 38, No. 27, Ed. 1, Saturday, April 24, 1954)

A continuing HSU tradition is Western Heritage Day which began in April of 1982, and has continued ever since. A typical year would include students from the surrounding area, from Hawley to Jim Ned. (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 91, No. 14, Ed. 1, Tuesday, April. 20, 2004)

The attractions were similar to what we have on campus each year. HSU’s Six White Horses performed. There was folk dancing, shearing, branding, and roping. Children got to sing along and hoof to the “chicken dance." May Farm would bring several animals, including baby donkeys and a llama named “Tony.” (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 91, No. 14, Ed. 1, Tuesday, April. 20, 2004)

By April 1997, Western Heritage Day was a big hit. The late Dr. Lawrence Clayton, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “We can give the children an image of life on the range without them actually encountering the problems the cowboys experienced.” This purpose statement has evolved into the Western Heritage Day as we know it today. (The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 84, No. 21, Ed. 1, Thursday, April 17, 1997)

This ongoing event helps regional children connect to their Western roots and learn more about how Abilene and the surrounding area was in the past. This event is held every April, so make sure not to miss it.



Fracas Week


(The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 38, No. 27, Ed. 1, Saturday, April 24, 1954)



Western Heritage


(The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 91, No. 14, Ed. 1, Tuesday, April. 20, 2004)




(The Brand (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 84, No. 21, Ed. 1, Thursday, April 17, 1997)


Comments


bottom of page