FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Larry Ferguson was among The Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame’s newest inductees Saturday. “This cowboy could rope calves, wrestle steers or team rope,” the announcer’s voice boomed over the PA system as a video biography of Ferguson’s career played on a large screen. The large hall near The Fort Worth Stockyards was crowded with men in freshly pressed Wrangler Jeans, women in their finest western wear and some of pro rodeo’s most legendary names who were also being inducted. Ferguson was being recognized by men who were once his stiffest competitors — men Ferguson calls “tougher than boots.”
“All them guys out there are trying to beat you, I promise you!” Ferguson laughed as he spoke of the caliber of competition the others gave him. “Ain’t none of them giving you slack and they’re all good!” But Ferguson’s former competitors may have payed him an even bigger honor after the deadly explosion in his home town of West. As he accepted his honor, Ferguson told the audience he had traveled all over the U.S. and into Canada meeting people during his career. “Well the other day I found out who my friends were,” Ferguson told the crowd as he fought back tears. “When West had their tragedy, people started calling me. And calling me from all over the United States.”
He thanked the crowd for their expression of concern, but would only talk more about what happened after he left the podium. “Some people lost their lives,” Ferguson said somberly. “Several good friends. Several good friends lost their homes.” Ferguson knew almost right away one of his best friends was dead: Dallas fire captain Kenneth Harris.
“His name is lucky to us,” Ferguson said. “Its not Kenneth. Its lucky. That morning his wife put on the Facebook, ‘Please pray for Lucky. We haven’t heard from him.’ Well, I knew right then Lucky wouldn’t leave her hanging. If he could he would call her.”
When the newest hall-of-fame class of cowboys posed for their class picture they insisted one simple message be added to the photo. In front of the group of tough-guy cowboys and their families, they held simple cardboard signs.
“We love West,” Ferguson remembered the message with a slight smile. “I didn’t tell them. They thought of that. I thought, ‘Good gosh! That’s something!’ That was great. My wife got that picture and put it on her Facebook for all of her friends down there to see. I’m sure they all appreciate it.”
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