One of Bill Austen's happiest moments came in the summer of 2006.

    He was named the marshal for the Dodge City Days Western Parade that year, but not before Dodge City Roundup officials enjoyed a little bit of intrigue.

    They finally shared the news with Austen at the Dodge City Days press conference — and he was stunned.


One of Bill Austen's happiest moments came in the summer of 2006.
    He was named the marshal for the Dodge City Days Western Parade that year, but not before Dodge City Roundup officials enjoyed a little bit of intrigue.
    They finally shared the news with Austen at the Dodge City Days press conference — and he was stunned.
    "When we dumped that on him, he cried," Roundup President R.C. Trotter told the Globe. "He was very touched and honored. That was his proudest moment, to be recognized."
    Then Trotter pointed to a photo of Austen from the 2006 parade. The photo shows Austen riding in a car decorated with a sign saying "Parade Marshall," wearing a cowboy hat and stretching one hand toward the crowd.
    "That hand — that was him," Trotter said. "That hand out there means he's getting ready to say something."
    Austen's son, Doug Austen, said his father was thrilled to serve as the parade marshal.
    "That was a big deal for him," Doug said. "He just was always proud of his town, and he got to kick off one of the biggest events of Dodge City Days."
    Austen died Thursday of a massive brain bleed. He was 76.
   
'A desire to be a cowboy'
    Austen enjoyed cowboy things: Wearing his favorite jeans and cowboy hat, watching the films of movie legend John Wayne and helping out at the Dodge City Roundup PRCA Rodeo.
    Up until his death, he was an active