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Museum Offers Reception, Exhibit for Copter Cowboy

Museum Offers Reception, Exhibit for Copter Cowboy photo 9/5/2010 2:19:33 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. On Thursday, September 9, at 7:00 p.m., the Western Heritage Museum & Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame will host a Grand Opening Reception for the cowboy art and ranch photography of Russell G. Hill, also known as the “Copter Cowboy with the Red Grasshopper.”

For the past thirty years, Hill has gathered cattle by helicopter on many of the largest ranches in West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  His art and photography, which will be on exhibit at the Museum through October 10, reflect this unique perspective on the world of ranching and cowboys. This marks the first formal exhibit of his ranch photos, many of which were taken many years ago.

Hill was born and raised on the Hill Ranch southeast of Hobbs in Gaines County, Texas.  A graduate of Seminole High School, Hill earned an art degree from Sul Ross State University and taught briefly before joining the Air Force.  For seven years, Hill flew helicopters and jets, including a one-year tour of duty in Viet Nam flying rescue helicopters. After leaving the service, Hill pursued graduate studies in Art Administration and Philosophy at Texas Tech University.

Hill was then hired by Bell Helicopter to go to the Middle East to teach Iranian army pilots how to fly helicopters—until he was forced to leave during the revolution of 1979.  Upon his return, he moved home to the Hill Ranch, where he started Hilco Helicopters and served as the fixed base operator for several years at the Gaines County Airport.

Today, Hill and his wife Lynn, who together run a cow/calf operation, represent the fourth generation on the Hill Ranch, which was founded in 1906 by his great-grandparents.

At the Grand Opening Reception, Hill will be available to sign all photo copies and limited edition artwork.

For more information, please contact the Museum at 575.392.6730.

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