Every year Western Legends is proud to Honor our local Cowboys and Cowgirls, as well as their families for all of the hard work and dedication they put into our loving western community. Learn more about Western Legends Heritage & Music Festival's Honorees.
2020 Western Legends Honorees
The 2020 Western Legends Honorees are four gentlemen who have contributed greatly to helping Kanab become what it is today. This year it is our pleasure to honor Melvin “Jack” Jackson Mognett, Que Johnson, Nolan Button, and Marvin Button. Together, these men encapsulate the spirit of what makes Kanab unique and special. Their tremendous contributions to the town, its infrastructure, and its culture are why it is our pleasure to name them our Western Legend Honorees.
Que Johnson is the sixth generation in his family to call Kanab “home.” Que enjoyed working his ranch throughout his life, eventually passing that passion, and the ranch itself, on to his son and nephews. Que served on the Kanab Irrigation Board, The Monument Advisory Committee, The Kane County Resource Committee, and The Kane County Planning and Zoning Commission, and in 2011 was The National Day of the American Cowboy Honoree at Ogden Pioneer Days. Together with his wife, Karla Kohler, Que has three sons, Russell, Scott, and Marc, along with six grandchildren.
He enjoyed branding calves, deer hunting, and racing horses to see who had the fastest horse. In around 1963-1964, his dad became the independent owner of the Molly’s Nipple Ranch.
Que graduated from Kanab High School in 1970, and after a semester at SUU served an LDS Mission in the South West Indian Mission (Arizona/New Mexico). After his mission, he spent another year at SUU and drove tour buses through Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon National Parks, all the while working his weekends and days off at the ranch.
By 1976 he went to Utah Technical College, now UVU, where he earned his Associates Degree in Heating and Air Conditioning. It was while he was there he met his wife, Karla Kohler, from Midway, Utah. He lassoed her and after four years of marriage and working for a heating and air-conditioning company,
Que has been very grateful for the good people of Kanab, Utah, and proud of the fact that this has always been his true home. He is grateful for his western conservative way of life. He has tried to be honest, have faith in God, be self-sufficient, use common sense, work hard, love his family and raise them to be the best they can be.
Melvin Jackson “Jack” Mognett & Sons
– First image: Melvin “Jack” Mognett & wife Vi – Second Image: Son’s Danny & Butch
Melvin Jackson Mognett, or “Jack” as everyone knew him, became a true legend with his unassuming manner, vision to serve his fellow community in making Kanab a better place, and his ability to motivate the community to see his vision. Understanding who Jack was is to understand a world where your neighbors’ comfort and happiness means every bit as much as your own.
Jack was born in Phoenix, AZ, on Valentine’s Day, February, 14, 1909. He was born to an affluent family in the area, but never felt like he fit into the society. His grandfather, Marion Francis Mognett, was one of the original settlers in the Phoenix Valley where he brought with him cattlemen to settle the area. He ran thirty thousand head of cattle from Sedona Valley into Ula Bend. We aren’t sure why, but Jack ran away from home at the age of 13 years old and began learning construction.
In 1936, Jack rode into Kanab on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was in town building the road from Houserock Valley into Fredonia Valley. One morning, he went into Kanab for breakfast at the old Kanab Hotel. As he walked in, he noticed a pretty, tall, auburn-haired woman named Vi, as everyone called her. He went back to Kanab every weekend to date this girl, despite her father’s opposition. Joseph Chatterley, Vi’s dad, was not happy about his daughter’s choice of a suitor. For one thing, he viewed construction workers as transient. For another thing, Jack was not LDS. So, Joseph used an advantage he had to eliminate Jack as a threat. Joseph served in the city government and oversaw the draft board. So everytime it was Joseph’s turn to send in a list for the draft, he included the name: Melvin Jackson Mognett to fight in the war. Finally, the draft board responded to Kanab asking them to please quit sending Melvin Jackson Mognett in as he is an “F4”. Jack had a bad back and could not be used in the war.
Jack and Vi ended up eloping to Cedar City, UT, and got married on July 19, 1937. Jack followed construction for a few years and after they had two children they decided to settle their family in Kanab, UT. Jack and Owen Johnson started a sawmill. They ran it until after the war ended when the Whiting brothers came back from war and outbid them on the lumber, so they closed the sawmill. Jack wasn’t sure what to do, so he was in Dan Frost’s store, having a coke with the other men. All the men in town met there for a Coke, including some cattlemen. They told him that if he could build them reservoirs for the cattle, they would pay him. He didn’t have the money for a tractor, so Dan frost told him that he would sponsor him. They went to New Mexico and bought a Caterpillar tractor, which was the start of his business.
Jack was smart and inventive. Before his sons, Melvin “Butch” & Danny, were old enough to drive heavy equipment, he was working on the Arizona strip building and cleaning reservoirs for the cattleman. In order to get his tractor from one location to another, while he was working alone, he got creative. He hooked long ropes to each lever in the tractor and ran them through his open windows of his truck. He would start up the tractor and drive both the truck and the tractor with the ropes to save him from having to walk back to get the tractor or the truck. He was so happy to have his sons come along to help him. They started driving trucks and equipment at the age of 8 years old.
From 1948 through the 1950’s, he did the assessment at Lake Powell. He also built a gravel road where Highway 89 is now. If he hadn’t done this assessment work, Wahweap Marina and Stateline boat docks would not exist.
Other major projects include building the dike above Kanab City Park and the baseball fields. The north end of Kanab flooded every year, so the people that lived close to the park asked him to help solve the problem. Vi put a 2-quart jar on the mantelpiece. People from all over town would stop by to put money in that jar whenever they had extra. When he collected enough money, he would fill a tank of diesel fuel and start the tractor up to go work on the dike. With the help of Uke Gardner and Duff Pugh, Via dn Jack once again used the jar, and the town’s generosity, to this time build a park, tennis courts, and baseball fields for the local community.
In the late 50’s, Jack and Uke Gardner started plans to bring Kanab into the new age of television. They needed a road to go up to the TV Towers and a shed to house repeaters for the TV service. After they had pushed half the road in, they figured out that they needed water on the road to help smooth it out. Gene Mitchell in Fredonia owned a water truck, but the only thing that was strong enough to pull it was an old power wagon that Jack bought from the army surplus. He was never able to get a title for it so it couldn’t be driven on the road. He had already learned from experience that a certain highway patrolman was bound and determined to keep that vehicle off the road, and Jack didn’t have any extra money for a fine. So, one day, Lenard Johnson, the Kane County Sheriff, showed up on Jack’s doorstep and told him to follow him in that power wagon so they could finish the road. Jack had his youngest son, Melvin, drive the power wagon up to the TV tower while Lenard escorted them down the highway with lights and sirens.
Jack did so many things to help develop the area. Jack pushed the right of way for the power lines from the Dam in Page to Boulder city, NV. He built the Fredonia baseball parks and fields. He leveled the ground for the hospital, and built storm drains on 300 W. He asphalted the streets in Kanab and Fredonia, and built the road into the Ranchos. He put in sewer and water lines, and built Potter’s reservoir and the sewer ponds. He was a master teacher and he employed many people. He taught people to run heavy equipment, and he could spot where a person was talented and would help them develop their skill. He was always happy and kind. He loved life and would always befriend a stranger. He would never pass a hitchhiker without picking them up.
After all he did to improve the town, if Jack could drive around Kanab today, he would refuse to take credit for the part he played in helping to build such a wonderful town. Instead, he would say, “Do you want the wagging of the world’s tongues, or do you want the Lord’s blessing? I choose the Lord!”
Jack passed away in February of 1982. Hi son’s Melvin “Butch” & Daniel “Danny” carried on the business known as J.D.M (Jack, Daniel & Melvin) Sand & Gravel. If Jack were still with us, he would be happy to know the citizen’s of Kanab have a better place to live because he quietly and humbly worked to make the lives of his family and friends better.
Marvin Kelvert Button
Marvin Kelvert Button was born on November 5, 1939 in Kanab, and spent a great deal of his childhood working alongside his parents and farming with his dad. Throughout his career, Marvin worked as a construction mechanic, building fences, water catchments for the Forest Service, and later started his own trucking company before finally starting the local cattle business he ran throughout the rest of his life, which his family still owns today. Marvin served as a City Council Member, a volunteer firefighter, and as President of the JC’s. He is survived by his wife, four children, 13 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
He spent a lot of his time building fences all over Southern Utah with his father. They built the fence from Kanab to Page during the time that the Dam in Page was being built. Together he and his father helped build water catchments for the Forest Service on the Kaibab.
Marvin worked as a mechanic for the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, as a logging truck driver, and then as a shop foreman for Kaibab Sawmill and a shop manager with Arizona Fuels.
Marvin started his own trucking company, MB Services, and later built his shop, Settler’s Cove Diesel Repair. He later sold the shop to his son, Danny, after spending many dedicated years in the business, and continued with his trucking company.
For a while he also worked for JR Jones at Two Mile Ranch hauling cattle. In 1975 Marvin, his dad, and brother went into the cattle business; Button Cattle Company. They leased some BLM land in Nephi Pasture and leased some more land on the Arizona strip. His family ran a successful farming and cattle operation that still exists today. Marvin always had oil in his blood and cow manure on his boots.
Marvin never went anywhere without a few dogs and grandkids in tow. His family spent a lot of time with him, checking, moving, and caring for the cows. He taught all of his kids and grandkids how to drive on those trips to tend cattle. For civic service, Marvin served as a City Council Member, a volunteer firefighter, and as President of the JC’s.
Unfortunately, Marvin passed away in May of 2019. He left behind his wife, four children, 13 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
Nolan Dean Button
Nolan Dean Button was born in Kanab, Utah in 1951. Nolan was a skilled equipment operator and loved working outdoors. He worked at Cal-Pack and later Garkane Power before starting a cattle business with his father and brother. He helped install a lot of Kanab’s roads and various utilities, working on ditches for irrigation and helping to create Kanab’s infrastructure in small subdivisions, as well as for the animal sanctuary. Nolan was proud to fight forest fires with equipment, whether it be with the BLM, Forest Service or Park Service or pulling Houston’s equipment. He is survived by his wife, Arvon Shakespear, and their four children, fifteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
He often spoke of the joy of building fences with his father and other family members. Deer hunting was another favorite for him, along with riding in the hills.
For a while Nolan worked with Rolly Harper in California before attending trade tech college in Salt Lake, but he always said the red hills brought him back home. Upon returning to Kanab, he worked with his parents at the Bargain Barn before he began his lineman career at Cal-Pack with his friend and mentor, Ladell Alvey. He continued on with Garkane Power for many years, and later served on their Board. In 1975, along with his father and brother, he went into the cattle business and continued doing that for 17 years until he sold his portion to his brother, Martin, in 1992.
Nolan had worked with his father for many years in the dirt and chose to pursue this passion for the remainder of his life. He helped install a lot of Kanab’s roads and various utilities, working on ditches for irrigation and helping to create Kanab’s infrastructure in small subdivisions, as well as for the animal sanctuary. He additionally worked on a fair amount of projects for the school districts to improve facilities and safety for the football field and with the new track. He worked on the grazing allotments for the cattle and improvements of the grasslands health on the BLM land, as well as doing the earth work for the fire house.
He always took a great deal of pride in his work and was a skilled operator. As Nolan would say, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”
Nolan Button was laid to rest in July of 2014.
Take a look at 2019’s Western Legends Heritage & Music Festival Honorees.
– Harold “Hal” Hamblin –
Hal Hamblin- THE ROCKIN h RANCH
Hal says his ranching operation is fairly small, but it’s a combination of six generations of ranching efforts that goes back to Francis Marion Hamblin. (the brother of Jacob Hamblin) on the Hamblin side, and Adeline Amarilla Riggs, (Jacob Hamblin’s sister) on the Riggs side of our family.
Ranching was something Hal grew up loving, working with his father Metz Hamblin, and grandfather Foote Hamblin, until he was 18.
Hal’s dad insisted he go to college and further his education. Along with his pushing and the love of basketball, I was able to get my degree in education from Southern Utah State College, now known as Southern Utah University. During my junior year of college, my father developed cancer and he passed away in January 1972 at the age of 51. On April 8th of the same year grandpa Hamblin died. The best men I knew were gone. I pled with Grandma Hamblin to give me a year to complete my education, come home, and see if I could keep the ranch together, but gradually it began to be sold off. After graduation, I ignored a letter from Coach LaDell Anderson inviting me to try out for the Utah Stars basketball team. I married my sweetheart, Cynthia Heaton of St. George, and we returned to Kanab. I was employed by the Kane County School District as a teacher and coach; we started a family and began rebuilding the ranch.
The ranching operation we run today is a combination of both sides of my great, great grandparents. We run approximately 120 head of mother cows and 20 to 25 replacement heifers. We own or share crop about 110 acres of alfalfa and three-way mix hay.
Bottom line: I hope my father, grandfather and great grandfathers are happy with what we have done with their ranch. I hope my grandchildren learn to work with the land and cattle as we have and to cherish their heritage. This life style or way of life is why you and I are here today and may God bless your outfit as well as ours.
– David Johnson –
David is a 6th generation rancher, born in 1941 in Kanab, Utah to the late Owen & Adeline Johnson. He he still resides in his hometown of Moccasin, AZ & has spent his entire life working cattle & horses.
When David graduated Fredonia High School he attended Dixie State College for one year. He returned home to help with the ranch after his father was in an accident. He went to work for the Whiting Brothers sawmill grading lumber in Fredonia, Az. He then married his high school sweetheart, Christine Millet Baker. They have 4 children, 12 grandchildren & 11 great grandchildren.
Over the years David has expanded his ranching operations to include along with private land the cattle & horse permits that run down in Kanab Gulch & Hacks & Gramma Canyons in the winter & up on the Kaibab Forest in the summer months.
David in reflection says, “ I never got rich off the cattle business but was rich in relationships & friendships forged throughout the years. I got to work with some of the very best men & had a front row seat to watch some of the young boys & girls in this area turn into top hands. I have also enjoyed the camaraderie of neighboring ranchers. The experiences & adventures we have all shared are worth more than anything money could ever buy.”
The spirit of his forbearers resides in his soul as demonstrated by his life’s work. David has done his best to instill in his children & his crew that the stewardship of the land & preservation of ranch life is of the utmost importance. He has also instilled in his children, a love of the family ranch. He feels a responsibility to pass this ranch safely into the hands of the next generation. He strives to leave his land better than he found it & hopes to inspire the upcoming generations to do the same.
David would like to thank the people of Western Legends for helping keep the heritage alive in our area through putting on these activities each year.
– Bruce Bunting –
Bruce was born and raised in Kanab and is a 1964 graduate of Kanab High School. He played football, basketball and ran track. He is the son of Hubert and Mary Bunting.
Bruce’s family occupation is working and maintaining Centennial Ranch which was started by his great, great grandfather in the mid 1800’s. His youth was spent in the Johnson Canyon area working the ranch with his father and three brothers maintaining a herd of 150 cows. That is where he gained his true love of ranching. They moved the cattle from summer range at Johnson Canyon in the fall to the Kaibab mountain Range for the winter which Bruce continues currently.
In the 1950’s and the 1960’s the movie companies were in the area, and due to his experience with horses, he was hired right away. He was in the cast as an Indian, member of the Calvary and a lawman in the following movies and TV episodes such as : How the West Was Won, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, and Wagon Train.
After graduation from High School Bruce attended Dixie State College until he was called to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Afterward he attended the College of Southern Utah, studying Law Enforcement. It was at college that Bruce met his wife Leah. They were married in 1967 and now have 9 children and 26 grandchildren.
Bruce was the Chief of Police in Parowan Utah and later Chief of Police of Kanab City while still working the family ranch. Bruce then was hired as head custodian at Kanab High School which allowed him to work more hours at the ranch while not at the school. He retired after 30 years and is now running the ranch full time with his family.
They have increased the operation to 175 head of cattle making improvements on the water and the range land to maintain a healthy balance with the land and herd. In 1998 Bruce was elected to the Kane County Conservation District and has been serving as Chairman to the board since 2000.
“Ranching is my passion and I am happy that I have been able to continue.”
Previous Western Legends Honorees
– 1999 Honorees –
- Merrill McDonald
- Faye Hamblin
– 2001 Honorees –
- Fred Heaton
- Vard Heaton
– 2002 Honorees –
- Trevor Leach
- Wallace Ott
– 2003 Honorees –
- Leroy Judd
- Norman Carroll
– 2004 Honorees –
- Earl Henrie
- Norris P., Maud Brown & Sons
– 2005 Honorees –
- Preston Bunting & Sons
- William Lloyd Cothern
– 2006 Honorees –
- Calvin & Anna Johnson
- Sylvan & Farris Johnson
– 2007 Honorees –
- Clark & Dora Veater
- Francis Marion Hamblin III
– 2008 Honorees –
- Robert Dee Houston
- Dennis Farnsworth Judd
- Lyle Heyborne
– 2009 Honorees –
- Violet Honey
- Cliff & Reva Swapp
– 2010 Honorees –
- Mel Heaton
- Theo McAllister
– 2011 Honorees –
- Virgil Robinson Riggs
- Merlyn Vivian “Cowhide” Adams
- Ronald G. Mace
– 2012 Honorees –
- Carlyle S. Hulet
- Effie & John Rich
– 2013 Honorees –
- Calude Glazier
- Henry Eyring Bowman
– 2014 Honorees –
- Wesley Theo McAllister
- Thomas Chamberlain
– 2015 Honorees –
- Elmer Jackson
- Kelvert Button
– 2016 Honorees –
- Doug Hunt
– 2017 Honorees –
- James Ott
- Robert Ott
– 2018 Honorees –
- David R Finicum