In the garden behind Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboy Hall of Fame) is a small burial ground for a cavalcade of rodeo horses, a bull, and the former museum mascot.
Tombstones and wooden planks are marked with memorials for animals like the quarter horse Baby Doll Combs who rode alongside steers while a cowboy jumped off to wrestle them by the horns, and 5 Minutes to Midnight who was a “cowboy’s pal.” There’s also Hells Angels the bucking bronc, Poker Chip the rope horse, and a horse named Midnight whose epitaph concludes: “If there is a hoss heaven, please, God, rest his soul.” Abilene the Texas Longhorn who was long the museum’s mascot since his donation to the institution in 1967 used to greet guests from a custom pen, and is also buried on the museum grounds.
Most famous of the late rodeo animals is Tornado the bull. Tornado was believed to be unrideable, bucking some 220 competitors. Finally on December 1, 1967, a man named Freckles Brown rode Tornado for an epic eight second ride at the Oklahoma City National Finals Rodeo. Now the great bull is memorialized outside the museum dedicated to the rich and often wild history of cowboy heritage.
Know Before You Go
Access to the gardens is part of general admission to the museum.