WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees


“Not very much exciting happens on a ranch,” says John Daniel Klump, better known as Dan Klump. Dan was born in 1928 in Bowie, Arizona. Dan started school in Willcox but finished high school in Bowie.

When Dan entered the 6th grade, the teacher wanted everybody to read a paragraph out loud. Dan didn't read so well; as he stumbled over even the smallest of words like: an, and, the. The teacher asked, "How did you get this far in school without reading any better?" Dan said, "I take my books home, and my Mom would read to me and I can remember real well." Dan stayed after school until he was reading just fine.

Dan liked to go to the movies when he had the money. It cost 10 cents to get in and see Gene Autry, Roy Roger, the Lone Ranger and later Rex Allen. To make some movie money, Dan would hunt for gallon jugs or burlap sacks. He would gather the glass jugs and burlap sacks and take them to the lumberyard. They would pay him 10 cents for a gallon jug (which they used for kerosene), and they paid him 5 cents for a burlap sack.

Dan played basketball and ran track. After school, Dan would be a boxing-sparing partner for Manny & Johnny Gonzales. Bruce Huffman was their coach. Dan said they would watch the old Joe Lewis movies to learn more about boxing.

Dan's mom wanted him to go to college and get more education, but Dan didn't have time to go to college. He was too busy.

About 10 years after Dan graduated from Bowie High School, he married Belva Bliss (June 30,1955). Belva and her mother-in-law got off on the wrong foot. Belva was late for her own wedding. Dan's mom sure wanted Dan to go back home, but Dan waited. He waited about thirty minutes, but that thirty minutes has turned into 45 years of marriage, 5 girls and one boy.

Just before Belva came into the picture, one of Dan's younger brothers was trying to assist Dan in finding a wife. The younger Klump sent off to Sears and Roebuck to order a wife for Dan. Sears wrote back a very nice letter saying that those were mannequins wearing the clothes, not real ladies.

Dan has been pretty well hooked on this ranch life from a very early age, when he was 5 years old, he got to ride horseback alone and ever since he has been a cowpuncher working wild cattle. The Klump's always wanted the kind of cattle that would go to the top of the mountain and get that blade of grass out on top. Wild cattle combined with a few "little ol' rough spots in the mountain" like Rat Hole Canyon and Hells Hole tested his skills.

Dan was not a rodeo roper or never entered a parade; he was a cowpuncher who worked side by side with his Dad. Dan said, "In 72 years, I never worked for regular wages, but I was never out of work."

I asked Dan what has changed the most. He said, "No screw worms like there used to be. No rain like there used to be. Not as many Hereford Cattle. If you needed something, you went horseback and put everything in a tow sack. It's gone from wagons to pick­ups." He said, "I got my drivers license at age 12. It cost me 50 cents, and it was supposed to be good for a lifetime."

"I've been having fun all my life. I like to mess with them damn cattle. Where there are plenty of nice big shade trees where you can take a nap in the middle of the day. Not much very exciting usually happens on a ranch."

Prepared by Eddie Browning.