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Hall of Honor to induct three

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Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 12:00 pm

The Frontier Times Museum kicks off Bandera’s National Day of the American Cowboy celebration by inducting three, great Texans into its Texas Heroes Hall of Honor on Friday, July 26.

 Those inducted into the Hall of Honor in ceremonies this year will be rodeo champion Stephanie Byrd D’Spain, trail driver extraordinaire Suzie Heywood, and former county agricultural extension agent Werner Max Lindig, whose remarkable career affected the agricultural history of Bandera County, museum officials said. 

Established in 2009, the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor is a way for the museum to honor Texans who have exemplified what it means to be a great Texan who embodies the spirit of Texas. 

The ceremony will be held at the museum’s outdoor Texas Trail Driver Theatre on the museum grounds with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m.

Ranch Radio’s Richard Lee will serve as the master of ceremony, and musical entertainment will be provided by Lew Pewterbaugh. 

 The museum provided the following biographical sketches of the three inductees:

                                  Stephanie Byrd D’Spain

When thinking of a child prodigy, most would think of a child who can play the piano or violin exceptionally well.  Stephanie Byrd D’Spain could be called a child prodigy of the rodeo arena.

 D’Spain began riding as a small child and by age 6, she was already competing in the Bandera Youth Rodeo.  Her preferred competitions were straightaways, poles, barrel racing, and goat-hair pulling. By third grade, she joined 4-H and began competing in 4-H rodeos.

Through 4-H, D’Spain competed at the state level every year from third grade until the summer she graduated from Bandera High School in 1999.

 In the state 4-H competitions, she won the Stake Racing competition seven years in a row.  Winning state competitions led her to the two, 4-H Regional Rodeo competitions in Louisiana and Arkansas in 1994 and 1995.  She continued to be a champion, winning first place again in Stake Racing both years.

  Through her rodeo days, D’Spain won 15 saddles and 200 buckles. After marrying Wiley (Trey) D’Spain III in 2000, she stopped competing in rodeos and today is focused on raising her five kids. In 2018, she became part of the museum’s exhibit “Stalls of Fame” that highlights Bandera’s rodeo champions. 

                                                   Suzie Heywood

On Labor Day weekend in 2004, the Bandera community lined up along Main Street to cheer on the start of a historic Trail Drive, the likes of which had not been seen since the days of the original trail drivers of the 1870s.

           Organized by the Bandera County Regional Foundation, “Celebrate the Western Trail – Bandera to Dodge City” was a 48-day, 655 mile trail ride that celebrated Bandera as a major staging area for the cattle drives that passed through Bandera Pass to the Western Trail the trail that carried more than six million head of cattle to market.  The trail boss for this massive undertaking – a 65-year-old grandmother, Suzie Heywood. 

            As the trail boss, Heywood was responsible for this enormous undertaking, overseeing the logistics of the trail ride and the safety of every rider on a horse or on a wagon. Her own grandfather, Robert Jennings, was an original trail driver, driving cattle up the Western Trail in the late 1800s, making the trip even more significant for her. 

           Her expertise came from participating in numerous other trail rides which even earned her the title of Female Trail Rider of the Year from the National Trail Ride and Wagon Train Association.  That competition judged her in horsemanship, trail etiquette and camp management against 450 other riders. 

            There also is more to riding for this cowgirl.  Married to former NFL football player and U.S. Marine Ralph Heywood, Suzie Heywood stood by his side while he battled Parkinson’s disease.  After his death, Suzie was instrumental in pushing the NFL to provide more benefits for former players to help with medical expenses after their days of playing were done.

                                                    Werner Max Lindig

In all communities, there are a few great men and women who have a tremendous impact on the lives of their fellow citizens.  Werner Max Lindig was one such man, museum officials said.

Born on a farm in Hye, Texas, Lindig’s love of agriculture led to a career as a Bandera County extension agent.  Coming to Bandera in 1956 during a historic drought, Lindig focused on developing programs to help the local farmers and ranchers increase the quality and productivity of their livestock and products. 

With more than 60,000 sheep and 60,000 goats in the county, Lindig felt they helped carry locals through the devastating drought. His primary interest, however, was educating the young people of the area about agriculture.  He produced programs that trained them to judge livestock, wool, mohair, grasses and range and helped them with their show projects.

 His youth teams won numerous state and national awards.  Lindig believed the programs also developed self-confidence, presentation and etiquette that helped shape the lives of the students involved.

 Lindig was involved in numerous community enrichment programs, including those that renovated Medina Lake County Park, planted pecan trees on the county courthouse lawn and established a separate water district for the county to protect the county’s water rights from San Antonio. After his retirement in 1980, he continued to judge livestock shows in a number of shows, including the State Fair of Texas, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.

While Lindig received numerous distinctions and awards, he felt the greatest award he received was to see the accomplishments of the young people whose lives he touched. To memorialize his legacy of training youths, the Werner Max Lindig Junior Livestock Memorial Scholarship was established after his death in 2011.

 With his wife Earline, he raised four daughters, Kathy, Janna, Dianna and Maxine.  His daughters would like to invite his students and those he influenced to a pre-ceremony reception and reunion at 5:30 pm in the museum’s Western Art Gallery.  His son-in-law Peter Lovett will sing a special song written in Werner Lindig’s honor during the event.

 In addition to being inducted into the hall, each inductee will have a display area in the museum’s Hall of Heroes with items that highlight their life and career. 

The museum is located at 510 13th St. in Bandera.  The ceremony is free and open to the public. 

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