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NOTABLE 
PEOPLE

Our past is rich with history. Each and every one of us makes the wonderful community that we are. We have many  famous people who have called Westmoreland their home too. 

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Benjamin Butler

Born in Westmoreland, Kansas and raised in Wamego, Kansas, Benjamin studied painting at Emporia State University before attending graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to earn his Masters of Fine Arts in 2000. He subsequently moved to New York City, having his first solo show of paintings at Team Gallery in 2002. He soon earned critical accolades for his paintings of mountains and trees, and followed with international exhibitions in New York City, Toronto, Tokyo, Vienna, London, Berlin, Austin, Basel, Beijing, and Los Angeles. He is currently represented by Tomio Koyama in Tokyo and Klaus von Nichtssagend in New York.

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Billie Jean Moore

Billie Jean Moore was a college basketball coach. She was the first head coach in women's college basketball history to lead two different schools to national championships. Moore coached the California State-Fullerton Titans from 1969 to 1977, winning the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (CIAW) national title in her first year in 1970. She led the UCLA Bruins from 1977 to 1993 and won the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national title in 1978. Her overall college coaching record was 436–196.  Moore was the head coach of the first United States women's national basketball team to compete in the Olympics. In 1999 she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Billie was born in Humansville, Missouri and her family later lived in several places in neighboring Kansas before settling in Westmoreland. Her father was a principal at Westmoreland High School and coached both boys’ and girls’ basketball in Westmoreland.

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Whizzo the Clown

Frank Oliver Wiziarde was an actor and television personality who was known primarily for his performances as Whizzo the Clown in the Kansas-Missouri area from the 1950s through the 1980s. Frank began performing in the "Wiziarde Trio" founded by his mother and father in the 1920s. The family called Westmoreland, Kansas home and opened a bakery and restaurant there as well during the period. In 1930, the Wiziarde family created the Wiziarde Novelty Circus, a traveling circus that appeared at stores and county fairs, in which Wiziarde performed until the act's disbanding at the end of the 1936 season.

He began his television career in 1953 in Kansas City, Missouri, working for KMBC-TV. The station wanted to produce a children's program, and Wiziarde came up with the idea for Whizzo, based on his experience performing as a clown for his parents' circus acts. His show went on the air in 1954. He switched stations several times going to KCMO-TV in Kansas City and then WIBW-TV in Topeka, but kept his character of Whizzo the Clown. Whizzo's last show was on May 20, 1987.

Today, the Wiziarde Barn is being preserved at the Rock Creek Historical Society Museum in Westmoreland. 

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The Marlboro Man

The Marlboro Man, Wayne Dunafon, was one of several real-life cowboys who became an enduring symbol of the Marlboro cigarette brand in television and print ads.  He had a competitive rodeo career spanning 38 years.  Mr. Dunafon also modeled jeans, then began working for Marlboro as a "Marlboro Man' from 1964 to 1978.  He was a rancher in the Westmoreland area beginning in 1940.

 

Mr. Dunafon was a charter member and director of the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association, Manhattan.  He was a member of the Westy Saddle Club, the Cowboy's Turtle Association, Rodeo Cowboy's Association, Rodeo Cowboy Alumni Association, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association, the Kansas Livestock Association and the Screen Actors Guild.  Mr. Dunafon was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2005.

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