The Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers


History & General Information

“The year was 1959 and a good year it was. It was in the hustle and bustle of activities of that time, generated by the rapid growth of the oil and gas business in Midland that the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers was born. …
It was also the Centennial year of the oil industry in the United States, and Midland residents were desirous of arranging and staging something special to show their appreciation for what the industry had meant to Midland. … [T]he very first celebration honoring Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers was held on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1959, with headquarters at Hotel Scharbauer. … The celebration was such a huge success from every standpoint that its sponsors and others decided to make it a biennial event.

The association was organized for the sole purpose of recognizing, honoring and entertaining Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers, and it has met the challenge in grand style. From the beginning, the reunions have been among Midland’s most delightful and enjoyable social functions. Long may they continue.”

— Bill Collyns, 1991

Following the first meeting of the Petroleum Pioneers in 1959, the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers was duly chartered as a non-profit corporation in the State of Texas.

Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers was founded for the purpose of gathering and preserving historical data and materials relating to the early day development of the oil, gas and mineral industry in the area defined as the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico.

Top Pioneers
John P. Butler 1995
William H. “Bill” Collyns 1997
Maurice R. Bullock 1999
Harvey Herd 2001
Robert M. Leibrock 2003
L. Decker Dawson 2005
Myra Robinson 2007
T. B. O’Brien 2009
Delmon Hodges 2011
Edwin H. Magruder, Jr. 2013
Herb Blankinship 2015
Ernest Angelo, Jr. 2017
Jim Henry 2019
Engineering & Technology Awards
Jim Henry 2011
Dave Feavel 2011
Dennis Johnson 2011
Dennis Phelps 2011
Van Temple 2011
Dennis Johnson 2011
Dr. Sam G. Gibbs 2013
Charlie McCoy 2015
Fred Newman 2017
Steve Melzer 2019
Bob Trentham 2019
Board of Trustees
*Members of Executive Committee
*Nita Bedford – Secretary
*Bruce Brady
Steve Castle
Arlen L. Edgar
*Mark Edgar
Hans Hansen
*Dexter Harmon
Jim Henry
W.R. “Bro” Hill
Delmon Hodges
John Kennedy
*Chris Morphew – Chairman
Joseph I. O’Neill, III
Mike Robinson
*Pete Schrenkel – Vice Chairman
*Jeff Sparks
*Jerry Tochterman
*Bill Watson – Treasurer


Membership is welcome to anyone who has worked for twenty or more years prior to October 1st of the year in which application for membership is made in the exploration, development, production, transportation or processing activities of the oil and gas business within the Permian Basin. There are no initiation fees or dues; reunions are funded by sponsors and/or registration fees.

To be eligible, a person need only meet the above requirements and register with the Executive Committee by submitting information on the Membership Form. It is not necessary for a person to have lived continuously in the Permian Basin, nor is it necessary for the person to have continued actively in the oil industry.

Persons termed “Vested Member” are those widows/widowers who lived with their Pioneer spouses in the Permian Basin for twenty or more years prior to membership and were married to them at the time of the Pioneer’s death and who have not since remarried.

Current membership includes over 750 Pioneers who are located in over 100 towns and cities.

Click here for the Membership Form. (PDF file)
Click here for the Pioneers Brochure (PDF file)

For more information, please contact the Museum at 432-683-4403.