One of the founders of the greatest outdoor show on earth has been bestowed the same honour as U.S. presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and country singer Gene Autry.
Rancher George Lane is the first Canadian to be inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
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While Lane was born in Des Moines, Iowa, he spent most of his life south of Calgary in Longview, Alta. at the Bar U Ranch — which is now a Canadian National Historic Site.
"He came across the border to Alberta as a teenager with a couple thousand head of cattle and ultimately built a ranching empire," said Bob Thompson, past president of the Calgary Stampede.
Bar U Ranch, politics and Percherons
Lane came to Canada in 1883 to run the Bar U Ranch and eventually bought it.
The cattleman diversified his ranch by growing grain and establishing the largest purebred Percheron breeding herd in North America.
According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Lane plucked his prize-winning Percherons from France, "both classic mares and sleek powerful stallions weighing more than a ton each."
Lane along with Patrick Burns, A.E. Cross and Archie McLean, financed and founded the first Calgary Stampede in 1912.
A year later, he was elected as a Liberal into the Alberta Legislature — but resigned shortly after so that a defeated cabinet minister Charles R. Mitchell could regain a seat in the legislature.
Lane passed away in 1925.
His formal induction was made this past weekend at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The award was accepted by his grandson and namesake, George Lane of Calgary.