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April 2008

Release Date: April 10, 2008

‘Spurs of the Moment’ to Open at ASU’s West Texas Collection

A new West Texas Collection display titled “Spurs of the Moment … 1590s to Present” and featuring more than 40 sets of spurs from the collection of Joe Russell of San Angelo will debut from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at Angelo State University.

The public is invited to the opening reception which will feature comments by Russell, who has been collecting spurs for more than half a century, and by John Klingemann, an ASU history faculty member who will speak on the Spanish charro and vaquero, who were so instrumental in the development of the spur in North America.

Various spurs will be on exhibit in the West Texas Collection and the Tucker Center, both on the second floor of the Houston Harte University Center, at 1910 Rosemont Drive. The Spanish spurs, the earliest one dating to 1590, will be on display in the West Texas Collection while spurs of the American cowboy will be exhibited in the Tucker Center. The exhibit will be enhanced by the western art of Russell’s wife, Hope.

While originally created as a utilitarian tool to help horsemen manage their mounts, spurs ultimately became an artform as well with makers adding design flourishes of their own or incorporating elements requested by riders seeking to reflect their interests or personality.

Russell began collecting spurs as an 8-year-old boy on the Cross L Ranch between Sanderson and Dryden along the Texas-Mexico border. He held his first spur exhibit in 1953 when he was a student at Texas Tech and has since amassed a spur collection in the thousands.

Some of the most interesting spurs on exhibit are from the 1600s, with samples of spurs from each century through the 20th century. Most of the early spurs were made in Mexico, some of the charro style typical of California and others of the vaquero style more common in Texas.

The opening reception is sponsored by the West Texas Collection and the Friends of the Porter Henderson Library and West Texas Collection.