Welcome back. Breaking news and long overdue is the announcement of a new museum in Pawhuska but friends this time it has little to do with Ree Drummond. Born on June 13, 1918 in Foraker, Oklahoma this man who the museum is dedicated to grew up on what is now the Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve but back then it was the Chapman Barnard Ranch and it was huge! It is said that he could ride and rope by the age of four and in Pawhuska where his dad was well known, most people just called him “son.” Millionaire film maker Howard Hughes first noticed “son’s” skills in 1940 when he hired him to bring a load of horses to Hollywood to make the film Outlaw. Hughes gave “son” more work taking care of the horses and that led to doing stunt work for the stars of Hughes’ films. John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea, James Stewart and Henry Fonda all called on “son” to do their stunts and double for them riding horses. In 1953 this man who often came back to visit the place he called home set the world record for professional calf roping, also winning the world championship in team roping along the way. By this time in his life he was acting as well, co-starring with the biggest box office stars of the day and even starring in his own pictures. His first starring role in Mighty Joe Young was filmed the same year “son” and John Wayne were in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and they went on to make many other movies together. Dozens of film and T.V. roles came his way along with numerous awards and then in 1971 he won the biggest award of all for his performance in The Last Picture Show. This man had done something no other person has accomplished before, winning both an Oskar and a world rodeo championship. Yes, by now I hope most of you know I’m talking about Ben “son” Johnson, Jr. He is in the Western Heritage Center and Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and he also has a star on the famous “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood. In his later years, in addition to supporting everything he could in Pawhuska, Ben worked to raise money on a national level for many causes including disadvantaged and disabled children, cancer research and the fight against cystic fibrosis. Ben died on April 8, 1996 while visiting his mom and it was a day when family, friends and fans from Pawhuska to Hollywood all cried. Now you know why this museum is long overdue. I hope you are wondering when and where is the Grand Opening so here’s your answer: June 12-15th from 9AM-6PM each day. The museum is located at 201 East 6th Street which is right around the corner from the Pioneer Woamn’s Mercantile. I also heard that the actor Buck Henry of Gunsmoke fame and several other old Hollywood friends will be around town during this period. As for me, I’m bound for Haskell, Texas for the Wild Horse Prairie Days which is a huge sanctioned ranch rodeo and I’m told by the organizers that all the top ranch teams from around the country will there . I’ll tell you all about it next week. Till then, I’ll see ya down the road….

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Deer Creek Station, Oklahoma

Welcome back. Deer Creek Station; back in 1887 it was just a railroad maintenance stop for the Southern Kansas Railway until the land run and a Kansas investor changed all that. Today Deer Creek Station, Oklahoma is one of the state’s premiere tourist destinations and during my three day visit…

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Welcome back. First off this week I have news of a new writer for the Bartlesville Magazine who will be introduced when the magazine comes out this week. I’ll leave his identity a mystery but this is a man in his late sixties who went to school locally and has traveled many miles around the country from coast to coast, border to border, living in several locations along the way. He has written for several newspapers and magazines, published two books and has been the ghost writer for several other projects. The new column will be called “Through My Eyes” and it will be the featured article in the magazine. I’ve read the column and without giving too much away I can tell you that Don Doty, Walter Allison, John F. Kane, Art Gorman and a café called Kenny’s are all mentioned. If those names don’t get your interest I will simply say that they are all part of Bartlesville’s history. Check it out this month. As for me, when the news got back to me that my book Footprints in the Dew made Oklahoma’s Best Seller List again I decided to stay on the book signing circuit a bit longer. First up is a big trade show at the Oklahoma City fairgrounds. If you haven’t travelled there lately, you would find that things are changing with several new buildings under construction while older ones are coming down. From there it’s a return to Tulsa where the Tulsa Flea Market is celebrating 48 years at the fairgrounds. On to sports. Last Saturday with bad weather in the area I cancelled a book signing in Pawhuska choosing instead to attend a Golden Eagles basketball game on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. The game was held in the Mabee Center on the campus and if you haven’t been there before here’s a little history on the building. The center opened in 1972 and has 10,575 permanent seats all of which offer clear sightlines for games and concerts. Over the years the Mabee Center has hosted a wide range of events including NCAA and NAIA championships, the Miss Oklahoma pageant and concerts by Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks and the Blue Man Group among many others. As it turned out there were lots of people who wanted to watch a good game that night. The Eagles played the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and a good game it was as ORU won decisively. Basketball season is going full steam so if you’re looking to get out and have some fun check out a local high school or college game. I can guarantee from personal experience you will enjoy yourself. You rodeo fans will be excited to learn that the International Professional Rodeo Association is moving their finals competition to the world famous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Designed specifically for rodeo competition, the arena was recently renovated to install state of the art lighting, sound and video systems along with new seating. The arena offers R.V. hookups for visitors and contestants as well as free parking for event attendees. This is the 50th anniversary of the International Finals Rodeo which will be held this weekend and I’ll be there. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………….

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A Christmas Story

Welcome back. Continuing from last week’s column, what kind of person can draw two past Oklahoma governors, George Nigh and Frank Keating to a Christmas party at his house, along with Garth Brook’s guitarist Ty England, champion bronc rider Billy Etbauer and a dozen more well-known folks? Well, as I…

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George Nigh , Ty England and Others

Welcome back. Like many other writers at this time of year I am still on the road doing book signings and hitting all the Christmas parties that I can. This week I thought a few profiles of the well-known and just plain interesting folks I’ve run into along the way…

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Tulsa Flea Market

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping you can find something unique at the Tulsa Flea Market tomorrow at the Expo Center. I will be there singing books so come check it out.

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Holiday Giving

Welcome back. I find many of my stories while I’m traveling up and down our country’s highways and as it happened one came to me this past week on my way to Oklahoma City. It’s actually an old story, something I’ve written about before at this time of year. It…

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Hell on the Border World Premiere

Welcome back. Pawnee, Oklahoma was my destination this past Sunday to catch the world premiere of a new movie based on the true story of U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves. Marshall Reeves was from a time long ago when Judge Parker ruled over the Indian territories of what is now Oklahoma….

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