The El Paso chapter of the Corral of Westerners was organized in 1968 by a group of southwestern writers including C. Leland Sonnicheson, who was the first sheriff of the group. Membership was restricted to women until 1976 when Betty Ligon, who was the entertainment and art editor for the El Paso Herald-Post, became the first woman member. The first woman sheriff was Sybil Schmidt, another early woman sheriff was Cheryl Metz, wife of noted historian, Leon Metz. Other early sheriffs were Col Bert Wright, Leon Metz, Bob Miles, UTEP Professor James Day, Jim Murray and Ed Leonard.
The National Corral of the Westerners was started by two men in Chicago in 1944. It has chapters all over the world and the United States. The local group met once a month and had guest speakers. The group’s focus is promoting the history of the American West, which most definitely includes El Paso. This organization published their own publication, “Buffalo Chip Gazette Bulletin” and still wore buffalo bolo ties, a tradition started in the early days of the group.
Another group at one point did splitter off and started their own group called, the Mt Franklin Corral of the Westerners. Nancy Hamilton, another El Paso noted writer, was sheriff at one point. This group, however, since disbanded.
The El Paso Corral of the Westerners is still around today and meets once a month at the Country Inn and Suites on Sunland Park drive.