LUSK – Area locals Al and Eva Titchener were inducted into the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association Hall of Fame with recognition of their contributions to the Association on Nov. 6.
Whenever the rodeo circuit came through Lusk, the Titcheners welcomed any and all contestants to a backyard barbecue. Through this experience, they gained friendships and gave rodeo-goers a chance to have a home cooked meal and a chance to kick back and relax after hours spent in the mud and dirt of the arena.
Dale Rising and his wife at the time started the tradition, but it was carried on by the Titcheners. The Risings also helped greatly by providing funds for some of the food for the barbecues and is a good friend of the Titcheners. Others attendees would also bring sides.
Eva said, “it just grew from just a hand-full of people to a point where we had an average of about a hundred people there every year.” Other than the local’s, Eva recalls there were many other out-of-towners that were welcomed and became part of the barbecue family. “I remember there was this one guy – a great, big, guy, he was about 6’6” – he asked one day at the picnic – could he go in and watch a little bit of the World Series…we said sure, make yourself at home. We go back in in a little while and he’s just sacked out big time on the recliner,” Eva said. “People became very comfortable – we made so many friends.”
Being a schoolteacher of Family and Consumer Economics, Eva had to find time to sneak away to tend to their barbecue and often relied on friends to man the event until she could be there. Eva recalls one year the school was on lockdown the day of the barbecue and coincidentally the rodeo also ran late. But the Titchener’s friends were there to help. “They were just starting to serve people when I got out of the building. I came flying into the backyard and everybody was applauding me because I finally got out of lockdown,” Eva said.
Al included that his wife takes great care of him and Eva noted and they were both involved in the rodeos by Al running gates and gathering awards for participants, and she assisted with registration and running day-sheets.
The Titcheners were inducted alongside Bill and Elayne Nevill of Iola, TX who were also good friends and spent time helping out at the barbecues.
A tradition running for about over ten years did not go unnoticed. To be inducted in the Hall requires a nomination. The National Senior Pro Rodeo is for participants 40 years and older and the Titcheners were voted in by being a big supporter of the rodeo.