The State Fair of Texas recently announced its two newest inductees to the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor. This biennial program was established in 1992 to recognize men and women who have made significant contributions to the agricultural heritage of Texas. These individuals have been accomplished farmers, ranchers, drovers, inventors, innovators, educators, authors, legislators, and preservationists. Their achievements span 170 years, reaching back to the birth of the Texas Republic and extending out into a limitless future.
Since 2019, the induction of nominees both living and deceased are considered annually. This year, Laurence M. Lasater and Frances Richmond Cooper are being recognized for their achievements and contributions that helped establish Texas as a premier agricultural leader in the nation. They join more than 70 men and women previously inducted into the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor.
Laurence M. Lasater of San Antonio was born to Tom and Mary Lasater, the founders of the Beefmaster Breed. In 1964 he and his wife, Annette, moved to Coahuila, Mexico, where their cattle became the foundation herd of the breed in Mexico. In 1971 they moved their family to San Angelo, where they established another Beefmaster herd and founded Isa Cattle Co. He is the author of The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Raising, which was first published by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1971 and is now in its 16th edition in multiple languages. He was elected President of the Foundation Beefmaster Association and Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers. In 2019, he was inducted into the Beefmaster Hall of Fame. Laurence and Annette’s children, Lorenzo and Isabel, have since taken the reins of the family business and continue the Lasater legacy.
Frances Richmond Cooper of Mercedes began her career in 1954 as the secretary to the manager of the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show (RGVLS). In 1959, she became manager of the show, and was a key factor in the rise of the RGVLS to its position of being one of the 10 largest livestock shows in Texas. She was known as the heart and soul of the RGVLS. Upon retirement as manager in 1986, Frances was elected to the RGVLS Board of Directors, where she served until the time of her death. The Texas Association of Fairs and Events awarded her with its Lifetime Achievement award in 2002. In 2004, the International Association of Fairs and Expositions presented her with the prestigious Heritage Award. Frances was loved and respected by everyone that knew her, not only in the Rio Grande Valley, but throughout the state of Texas.
Prior Heritage Hall of Honor recipients include: Perry L. Adkisson, L.D. “Don” Anderson; Anne Armstrong; John B. Armstrong; Tobin Armstrong; Henry M. Beachell; Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Sr.; Othal E. Brand, Sr.; Dolph Briscoe, Jr.; Eugene Butler; Ogbourne Duke “O.D.” Butler, Jr.; Fred Campbell; Hoover Carden; John S. Cargile; Ben H. Carpenter; Sr.; John W. Carpenter, Sr.; Edward Cline; Susan Combs; Roy B. Davis; Eligio “Kika” De La Garza; Isaac Leonard Ellewood; Dr. Edward B. Evans, Sr.; Harold M. Freeman; Charles Goodnight; J. Evetts Haley; J. Walter Hammond; Cornelius Taylor Herring; William S. Ikard; Morgan Jones; John S. Justin, Jr.; Elmer Kelton; T.A. Kincaid, Jr.; John H. Kirby; Robert Justice Kleberg, Jr.; Herbert L. Kokernot, Sr.; Herbert L. Kokernot, Jr.; Tom Lasater; George Washington Littlefield; Watkins Reynolds Matthews; John Louis Merrill; Robert Lee “Bob” Miers; Thomas Volney Munson; Wade Lewis Pennington; Jim L. Peterson; Abel Head “Shanghai” Pierce; Lonnie A. “Bo” Pilgrim; Dr. Alfred Nelson Poindexter; Charles William Post; James L. Powell; Foy Proctor; B.J. Pryor; Col. Ike T. Pryor; J. Roy Quinby; Clarence Scharbauer, Sr.; Charles Armand Schreiner; Charles G. Scruggs; William M. (Bill) Sims; Christopher Columbus Slaughter; John B. Slaughter; Bob Stallman; Wenzel Louis Stangel; Charles W. Stenholm; Hallie Crawford Stillwell; Svante Magnus (S.M.) Swenson; Ann Burnett Tandy; Dr. T.D. Tanksley, Jr.; T.L.L. “Tom” Temple; S.M. True, Jr.; Daniel Waggoner; W.T. “Tom” Waggoner; W.R. “Billy Bob” Watt; W.R. “Bob” Watt, Jr.; and Mary Nan West Clayton Wheat Williams, Sr.
The State Fair of Texas is a celebration of all things Texan, and a great way to learn about agriculture and Texas heritage is by taking a walk through the Livestock barns or the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center during the State Fair. Visit The Heritage Hall of Honor inside the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center or visit BigTex.com/supporting-texans/agriculture/hall-of-honor to check out all of the inductees and learn more about the program.
The 2021 State Fair of Texas begins September 24 and runs through October 17 at historic Fair Park in Dallas. Hours are Sunday – Thursday, 10am – 9pm and Friday – Saturday 10am – 10pm. Tickets can be purchased online at: https://bigtex.com/buy-tickets-new/
by Gina Wiklund