Weekend event to focus on Texas Ranger history

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is hosting its third bi-annual Lone Star History Conference this weekend. The event will span over three days, from Friday until Sunday, and will include a multitude of speakers over the Texas Ranger’s history and involvement, as well as two book debuts.

Following a welcoming at 5 p.m. Friday, Wende Wakeman, Texas Rangers Lt., will be speaking on her personal perspective as the highest-ranked woman in the Rangers.

Christine Rothenbush, marketing and development coordinator for the museum, has helped on advertising and publicizing the event. She is especially excited for Wakeman to speak.

“I’ve heard she’s a good speaker ,and I’m really interested to hear the first lady of that rank — it’s quite an achievement,” Rothenbush said.

Kemp Dixon, adjunct professor of history at Austin Community College in Austin, will finish the night by speaking on Texas Rangers and World War II. He has written on the topic in his novel “Chasing Thugs, Nazis, and Reds: Texas Ranger Norman K. Dixon.”

Saturday will be an all-day event with breaks for lunch and dinner. Beginning at 8 a.m., Jim Willett, Director of the Texas Prison Museum, will speak on history and executions. He will be followed by a presentation on Cross-Deputation by Historian of the U.S. Marshals Service, David Turk. The morning session will close at 1 p.m. with a spotlight on legendary Texas Ranger Fank Hamer by John Bossenecker, San Francisco trail lawyer and former police officer, who will be previewing his latest book release at the conference.

“Exhaustively researched and action-packed, John Boessenecker’s rendering of an extraordinary lawman’s life will thrill casual readers and enlighten fellow historians about the winding paths to justice in the United States,” Scott Zasch, author of The Capture: A Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, said of Bossenecker’s previous work in a review.

The conference will reconvene for presentation by Dave Johnson, author of “The Horrell Wars,” on The Horrell’s and the feuds in Lampasas. Jim Dillard, author of “The Noble John Olive,” whom he will speak on, will follow him. Bill Neal, retired lawyer and author of many historical novels, will speak on the Wells Fargo Scam. The event will continue with “Walker’s Creek Demonstration” by Doug Dukes and Glenn Hadeler. Bob Alexander, retired special agent of the U.S. Treasury Dept. and board member, will also be debuting his newest book and will speak on the life of Sgt. Baz Outlaw.

“Alexander should be praised for his balanced treatment of Outlaw as a good-bad Ranger.”—Harold J. Weiss, Jr., author of “Yours to Command,” Alexander said.

The afternoon portion of the event will close with a demonstration for the ree-nactment group, Top Guns.

The evening portion will begin with Assistant Chief Frank Malinak presenting on the modern duties of the Texas Rangers. Bill O’Neal, State Historian of Texas, will hold the closing presentation over the Reel Rangers.

Beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, a writing panel made up of authors, publishers and researchers will be taking questions on a variety of topics, including how to become a published author and what steps may need to be taken.

Rothenbush is excited for the event and sees it as an opportunity for many.

“It’s going to be pretty intense, but it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Rothenbush said. “If someone only has an interest in a handful, they can come and go.”

She also feels that the length of the conference helps draw in visitors from out of town and state.

“A lot of the people that come to it are not local,” Rothenbush said. “We’ll have people that come in for it or fly in for it because they are so enamored with the history of the Rangers that they want to come to this. It’s kind of a one-stop-shop for everything Ranger related.”

For more information on the Lone Star History Conference, visit www.texasranger.org or call (254) 750-8631.