27 CALF News • December 2021 | January 2022 • Todd notes, “Goodnight never told Bones how much he appreciated his skills, but he spread the news all over the Pan- handle to his rancher friends, building him an even stronger reputation.” Bones settled in Clarendon in 1896 and married his wife, Anna, in 1900. He tried ranching in New Mexico for a few years. In 1909, he became a porter for the Santa Fe Railroad. On one Panhandle train trip, Bones heard men talking about a horse that couldn’t be broke. He interrupted the conversation, told them he could ride the horse and wagered $25 on it. The mustang was in the Pampa area. When the train stopped, Bones removed his white porter jacket and put on his spurs. To the amazement of his doubters, he not only busted the bronc, but he rode him to a standstill. He collected is bet and was back on the train in a matter of minutes. His ride for the ages was memorialized by poems, songs and campfire stores. As he became more at home in Clarendon, Bones helped start the Panhandle’s first African American church. He even- tually moved to Amarillo and was only the second black to live there. With segregation as the norm, he established a separate community for blacks in Amarillo. He convinced his friend Mayor Lee Bivins to provide financial support to open North Heights. Bones invested time and money to establish a drug store/general store in the community. Even though he and Anna had no children of their own, Bones became a father figure to hundreds of black children. Since blacks couldn’t join Amarillo’s Maverick Club youth organization, Bones started the Dogie Club in 1932. He men- tored many boys in the club and got them involved in camp- ing, planting trees and sports. He led discussions on life, good citizenship and why there was discrimination. Todd points out that Bones “told the boys that soon segregation would end, and they could swim in the city pool.” Alphonso Vaughn, right, holds the National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame award, presented posthumously to Bones Hooks, pioneer black bronc rider and Amarillo civic leader. Also pictured is R.W. Hamilton, a renowned Western music song writer, singer and actor who was also honored. Photos courtesy National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame The Bones Hooks Western Heritage Wrangler Award will be displayed at the Amarillo Black Historical Cultural Center. Photo by Larry Stalcup Bones was known for bringing white flowers to the funerals of Panhandle pioneers. He also sent a single white flower to living dignitaries, including Franklin Roosevelt, Will Rogers and Sir Winston Churchill. In his lifetime he sent out more than 500 white flowers to people. In his later years, his generosity to the North Heights com- munity and across Amarillo left him low on resources. Due to the admiration he earned within the entire Amarillo area, the Amarillo Globe-Times newspaper started a fund for him when he became ill. Bones Hooks died in 1951. His funeral at the Mount Zion Baptist Church was filled with white and black mourners alike. Respectfully, each person placed a single white flower on his coffin. From bronc rider to civic leader to father figure, Bones left his mark on the West. His heritage certainly deserves the rec- ognition from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heri- tage Museum in Oklahoma City. Bones remains a pillar among Amarillo area leaders. Bones Hooks Park, established in the early 1930s, is the heart of the North Heights community. In Todd’s research for his book, one boy who learned from Bones remembered, “If it hadn’t been for the Dogie Club, a lot of us would have gone astray.” So it wasn’t just broncs that Bones helped corral. Even though his early proclamation that black children could soon “swim in the city pool” took longer than society needed to come true, his spirit lives on in Amarillo and the Panhandle. Perhaps there’s need for a Hollywood script about Bones. Why, Robert Duvall could portray Col. Goodnight. And even though the title Amarillo by Morning has been taken, maybe George Strait could write a fitting song. No matter what, the Cowboy Hall of Fame has gained a legend to rival others.  Alphonso and Linda Vaughn accept the Great Westerner award for Bones Hooks during the National Western Heritage Awards ceremonies at the National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.