A marker dedication ceremony for a famous cowboy will be one of the highlights of Miami's Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery's Week of History from today through Thursday.
The ceremony will take place at "Booger Red's" grave site in the cemetery at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
And the city will hold its first GAR Cemetery History Tour from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday.
Cemetery/Parks Supervisor Kim Horn said, "One of the most unique individuals highlighted this year is Samuel Thomas Privett Jr. "Booger Red." His story is fascinating. He was one of the most famous bronco riders in history and was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City in 1975."
She added, "When two Texans - Col. (Ret) Jerry M. Bullock, a retired pastor and military historian, and Lt. Col. (Ret) Jim Lanning, an editor/publisher and preacher - who are interested in their state's history discovered the fact that Booger Red was buried in an unmarked grave in our ceme- tery in 1924, they visited the site and instantly began making plans to right that wrong."
Bullock said at the age of 12, Privett was already called "that redheaded Kid Bronc Rider." He got his nickname from an accidental explosion when he was 13, which caused a disfiguration of his face.
During transport to the doctor, a small boy looked at Tom's face and said, "Gee, but Red is sure a booger now, ain't he?" Each time his brother would repeat that remark it brought a smile to Privett's face, which led to the nickname "Booger Red."
Old time rodeo fans say he was the greatest bronc rider that America has ever pro- duced. However, few people knew his real name was Samuel Thomas Privett Jr., but his nickname, "Booger Red" was famous. For a
quarter of a century he was known to thousands as the greatest master of outlaw horses in America, Bullock said.
"If he was ever thrown from a horse, the time and place of such an occurrence is not recorded," Bullock said. "The unanimous con- sensus from those who knew him was that "Booger Red" rode tens of thousands of bucking broncos - including 86 in one day - and was never thrown. Not even once."
He added, "Not only was he an expert rider, but he was a showman as well, often tucking his thumbs into his suspenders and cran- ing his neck to speak to the crowd as he rode. Riding outlaw broncs seemed as natural to Booger Red Privett as walking." Booger Red's wife esti-
mated he rode 25,000 to 40,000 broncos in his life- time and offered a standing prize for anyone who had a horse that could throw him. There's no record that he ever had to pay.
She intended to put a marker on his grave, but hard times kept her from it. She moved back to her home town, San Angelo, Texas shortly after his death, leav- ing the legendary cowboy in a lone unmarked grave in Miami.
Bullock said "Thanks to Jerry J. Herrmann, (a former Miami News-Record edi- tor), Kim Horn, Lonnie Stogsdill of Green Country Monument, and the several Miamians who responded with interest to our request for assistance "Booger Red" will have his marker in the Miami GAR Cemetery."
"We hope to see you there so that we can thank Miami personally for remembering a Texas champion," Bullock said.
Bullock and Lanning, along with their wives, will be on hand at 2 p.m. Tuesday, for the marker dedication
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ceremony. Then on Thursday from
5:30-8 p.m. the first GAR History Tour will be held. It will start at the gazebo.
Horn said attendees will receive the new walking tour brochure that details infor- mation about some of the memorable people who are buried in GAR Cemetery along with a map marking each gravesite location. In addition, located at each marker will be display boards containing photos, past newspaper articles, and historical summaries for each person.
Attendees can do a walk- ing tour at their own pace or the American Legion will be onsite with their van if people would like to be driven to each grave.
"A unique twist will be that at some of the loca- tions, family members, friends, or community members will be at the grave to talk about that individual," Horn said.
"The GAR Cemetery is full of persons who made history and it is important to remind citizens about their stories. We are excit- ed that our cemetery is starting this grand tradi- tion," stated Interim City Manager Tim Wilson.