FRONTENAC — State representative Adam Lusker conducted a ceremony in honor of the late Kansas legislator Bob Grant.

The ribbon cutting event took place at about 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Bob Grant Bison Herd along U.S. Highway 69 north of Frontenac.

Nicknamed “Buffalo Bob,” the legislator earned his title for his ongoing efforts advocating the local bison herd be maintained for generation after generation to enjoy.

Grant served in the Kansas legislature in the 1990s and again in the 2000s. He died in December 2015, and a bill was signed in 2017 to rename Crawford County’s bison herd. Lusker said the bill is a way to honor Grant’s memory and keep his legacy alive.

According to Lynn Grant, Bob’s widow, efforts to save the herd began in 2001.

“They talked about eliminating it and letting the bison here die out and close it up, but there were a lot of people who didn’t want that to happen,” Grant said. “Bob just kind of took charge and they fought for quite some time.”

In 2005 it was decided to not only keep the herd going, but also repair fences and bring in new bison.

“It just became a mission and then in 2013 the bison were moved to West Mineral so they could reseed the grass up here,” Grant said. “That was only supposed to be for about a year and a half, but we just got some bison back.”

Grant said she was excited by the turnout at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“It’s just heartwarming to see all of these people we’ve known throughout the years,” she said. “It was a long battle to get to where we are now.”

Grant maintained that this kind of preservation is a non-partisan issue, having drawn support from people of different political affiliations.

“People will come out to that little parking area and they’ll just be out taking pictures even when they’re not from here,” she said. “It’s just something that’s good for southeast Kansas and Crawford County.”

 — Brandon Schmitz is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be reached at bschmitz@morningsun.net.