The Choctaw Kid and Whitey Bulger at Alcatraz

This is an excerpt from a recent column about two famous-or infamous- prisoners at Alcatraz.

At Alcatraz the other inmates called him the Choctaw Kid and at 18 he was famous for being the youngest person ever imprisoned there. His fame increased in 1946 when he and two other inmates participated in the so-called “Battle of Alcatraz” when the three tried to escape resulting in the deaths of three other inmates and two prison officials as well as the wounding of dozens of others. His partners Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson were sentenced to death following the failed attempt but the Choctaw Kid was spared. Because of his young age and as he hadn’t directly participated in the murders he was given a 99 year sentence.

The Choctaw Kid was now more famous than Al Capone and he remained at Alcatraz in a segregated unit until the prison closed in 1963. Through the years several movies and documentaries were made about the “Battle for Alcatraz”. The Kid himself served the remainder of his time at several different prisons until he died of AIDS in 1988 at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He was buried in a pauper’s grave but the following year Massachusetts organized crime boss James “Whitey”  Bulger arranged to have his remains removed and reburied in an expensive bronze casket in the kid’s hometown of Daisy, Oklahoma. Bulger and the Kid had become close friends while he was in Alcatraz. You see the Choctaw Kid who was of Choctaw Indian descent was born in Daisy on January 14, 1927 and Whitey wanted his friend to be buried back home where he was simply known by his given name of Clarence Victor Carnes. Till next week I’ll see ya down the road….


Pueblos, Ojo Caliente and Santa Fe

               I’ll be passing through this area again soon. Maybe you can join me- more details coming soon.

                     Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back. Ohkay Owingeh is a pueblo sixty miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico that dates back to 1200 A.D. Historians say that the Tewa people moved here from the north during a great migration to the area known as the “Pueblo IV Era.” This was the next leg of our trip after we left the UUBar Ranch.

According to Wikipedia “Pueblo is a term used to describe modern (and ancient) communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment-like structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material. These structures were usually multi-storied buildings surrounding an open plaza. There are 21 currently federally recognized Pueblos that are home to different tribes.

In 1598 Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Onate captured the pueblo and renamed it “San Juan de los Caballeros”. Over time the pueblo became known as the San Juan Indian Reservation until in 2005 the Tewa Indians who still inhabit the pueblo reclaimed its original name Ohkay Owingeh which means “place of the strong people.”  Today Ohkay Owingeh is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and is home to one of the largest Tewa-speaking populations in the country.

Traditional arts and crafts such as pottery making are still an important part of the pueblo’s economy. And like so many tribes around the country, they also operate a hotel and casino just outside Espanola. During my travels I had the opportunity to stay at the hotel for a few days and I discovered that it was perfectly situated for day trips. Ghost Ranch and Georgia O’Keefe’s home in Abiqui are just about 20 minutes north, Ojo Caliente is thirty minutes to the west and Santa Fe is less than 1 hour south. Rooms start at just $39 per night and combined with a great pool and restaurant you really can’t beat it- especially in a tourist area.

With flute music playing gently in the background, Indian artists selling their wares on the shaded porch of the historic Palace of the Governors and tourists from around the world going from shop to shop, my next stop was Santa Fe.  The town was founded ten years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and prior to that the Anaszi people had settlements that dated back to 1610. These settlements have been excavated in areas underneath present day Santa Fe and the structures and artifacts are protected by law.

On January 6, 1912 as President William Howard Taft signed the bill that made New Mexico the 47th state, looking out over the Jemez, Ortiz and Sangre de Cristo mountains he must have known that more people would come in search of the natural beauty and spiritual aura that had been attracting travelers since 1610. For us it’s an easy eleven hour drive to this magical place.

Although I have visited Santa Fe many times, every time I go I always find something new of interest. On this trip I took my first Pedi-cab ride around the plaza which was fun and informative and would go great in Bartlesville. If you haven’t heard of them, a Pedi-cab is a small cart with a bench seat that is powered by a person on a bicycle. For $20 I got a tour of the major sights around the heart of town and a good spiel about the history of each one.

I also discovered an arts district which I hadn’t been to before. Canyon Road is one of the original main roads in Santa Fe and it is home to numerous art galleries, artists’ studios, shops and restaurants. I only had time to sample a few but you could definitely spend an entire day checking out the area.

Before I go I need to mention that Bartlesville resident Doris “Coke” Meyer has just published her much anticipated memoir about her uncle Will Rogers. I Called Him Uncle Will is available on and Coke will also be having several book signings in the area.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……..





Ojo Caliente and the Fountain of Youth

            Watch this website for details on upcoming group trips and discount tickets for this area in September and December.

                      Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.  I am continuing from last week with my meeting with a 150 year old man in a place Spanish explorers called “warm eye.” This area lies west of Taos and had a deep spiritual meaning for the early inhabitants that continues to this day. Tribal stories about the creation describe six foot tall “earth babies” who howl at night, ghost cows with wings, giant midgets, flying spiders and canyons filled with the ghosts of men killed in the great conflict of the 1800s between sheep and cattle ranchers.

Archaeologists have proven that the first human settlements were built here in the 1400s and had thousands of inhabitants. In the 1500s the Spanish in search of gold and the fountain of youth discovered the hot springs and named the area “Ojo Caliente.”

Although the Spaniards did not find gold, they did find a fountain of such importance that the local tribesman said it was a gift from the gods. Zebulon Pike who explored the region after discovering Pike’s Peak in 1807 called the hot springs “a great natural curiosity.”

In 1846 Antonio Joseph who was an influential citizen of the territory noticed the waters and heard the many stories of their healing powers. A man of means, in 1868 he moved to Ojo Caliente and opened the first natural springs health spa in the country. The spa was an instant success and wealthy people came from all over the region to be healed by the miraculous waters that bubbled to the surface.

Still in operation today, and more popular than ever, the springs have been tested and shown to contain four different minerals: lithium, iron, soda and arsenic. I have been told that these are the only hot springs in the world with this combination of minerals.

Through the centuries everyone who has come here has soaked in the same waters, drunk from the same stream and inhaled the same steam filled air.

At 61 and after a life full of injuries I decided to give the waters a try and I figured even if the myths and legends weren’t true a good hot bath would do me good. After soaking in a number of different pools I wanted to try the mud bath which is said to draw out the impurities in your system. With no one speaking above a whisper and all of us covered in what I believe is sacred mud, I lay down and baked in the sun.

Six hours later, whether it was the 7,090 ft. elevation, the desert climate, the mud, the yoga or the massage, I think I may have briefly reversed the aging process. I seemed to hear spirit voices from the past in the gentle music playing in the background and when I opened my relaxed eyes I saw what appeared to be a 150 year old man covered in mud but then again all of us who had dried mud all over our faces and bodies looked to be 150.

If you decide to turn back time you can learn all about this 143 year old spa on their website In addition to the healing waters, Ojo Caliente Resort offers hotel lodging, guest cottages (some with private hot spring pools), a full service restaurant and wine bar, massages, facials and body treatments.

I am planning a special group trip to this area in the fall and also the week before Christmas which may include free day passes to the spa, ½ price lift tickets at Angel Fire and Red River and lodging at the UUBar Ranch.  I’ll keep you posted as the dates draw nearer.

Oh Kay Owingeh is the pre-Spanish name for this Indian tribe whose pueblo is just up the road from Santa Fe and I’ll be bringing you stories from both places next week.. Till then I hope to see ya down the road….

George Nigh and the UUBar Photography Workshop

The photography workshop at the UUBar Ranch went so well that now i am planning a pre-Christmas ski trip with lodging at the ranch, 1/2 price lift tickets at Red River and day passes to the mineral springs at Ojo Caliente. Contact me for details and reservations.       

                   Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back. George Nigh was not only Oklahoma’s 17th governor but its 22nd as well and he was the first candidate to ever win all 77 counties in the state. A beloved Oklahoman, Nigh’s list of accomplishments could fill my entire column, beginning with his career as a school teacher when he was fresh out of college. He was the second longest serving governor in the state’s history and as a state representative was responsible for introducing the legislation designating Oklahoma! as the state song.

But this week’s column is not about the man, it starts with a piece of road named for him which marked the beginning of my most recent travels.

State Highway #3 is the longest state highway in the Oklahoma transportation system. It runs diagonally through Oklahoma from the panhandle’s northern border with Colorado to the southern border with Arkansas for a total of 616 plus miles. This story starts west of Ada in the panhandle of Oklahoma where the landscape starts to change and where antelope are a common sight. This stretch of highway 3 was dedicated in 1939 and the route is basically the same today, passing through open countryside and several small towns some of which have seen better days.

Up until the early 1980s the highway had hardly been improved at all until then Governor Nigh obtained 97 million in funding to upgrade the section from Oklahoma City to the Colorado border. At the time the project had many opponents who labeled it the “highway to nowhere” but Governor Nigh was insistent on its importance. When construction was complete state officials and ODOT renamed this portion of highway 3 “the Governor George Nigh Northwest Passage” and my friends the name fits. Traffic out here is thin; especially as its wheat harvest time now and farm machinery is more plentiful than houses. There are very few trees as we know them and mini dust storms come and go. Old motels and gas stations from a bygone era sit empty by the side of the road. Although desolate this is also a beautiful part of the state with deep draws and prairie vistas.

Clayton, New Mexico is the first real town along the route west and it was also the last real town for many miles of rough terrain for the 50 people who attended Jerry Poppenhouse’s photography workshop at the Express UUBar Ranch just outside of Cimarron last weekend. The participants were treated to a wide range of subject matter from canyons and waterfalls to wildlife. The morning photo shoots were followed by afternoon expeditions to the high country where elk and several black bears were spotted (and photographed!). The famous Will James cabin is on this part of the ranch and was a popular stop on the tour. This is where James drew a self portrait on the wall and many old time cowboys carved their names on the door and on several trees near the cabin. The cabin has been preserved by Oklahoma businessman and philanthropist Bob Funk who owns the UUBar and if you are a guest there you can arrange a visit.

Although I had recently been to this part of the ranch it is still easy for a person to get lost here, disoriented by the altitude and sometimes dehydration. Rangers frequently lead rescue missions to retrieve injured boy scouts, tourists who have fallen in canyons or people with snake bites, just to name a few common scenarios. Helicopters are used to take anyone who is badly injured to the hospital in Taos or Santa Fe as both towns are at least a two hour drive from the area. Philmont Scout Ranch also has two doctors and a nurse on staff during the summer and the town of Cimarron has a half day medical clinic on Fridays.

I had heard these cautionary tales before and passed on the warnings to our group before we headed out throwing in a line of my own after everyone signed their safety waivers: “If you get hurt up here you’re already so close to heaven you might as well go the rest of the way.”

On this trip I learned that photographers will walk miles in search of the right shot. They’ll get up before the sun rises and stay up past midnight to catch the stars that shine so brightly in these mountains. They take pictures of things most of us take for granted in our everyday lives and reveal them in a whole new way. Their spouses and friends frequently accompany them on their travels and there were several on this trip who got into some mischief including a search and rescue mission and a bear who got into a cabin when a door was left open. All will be explained in an upcoming exhibit of photos from the workshop which opens October 5th at the Bartlesville Community Center.

Next week: it’s a place of spiritual history I’d never heard of before, where I met a 150 year old man and it’s an easy drive to get to. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…..



Georgia O’Keefe’s Inspiration


Working on more stories about the New Mexico landscape Georgia O’Keefe loved so much…….

Welcome back.  “Where I was born and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.” So said artist Georgia O’Keefe referring to several stories written about her that she called “odd things” in the 1976 book about her life simply entitled: Georgia O’Keefe.

O’Keefe was born in Wisconsin on November 15, 1887 and as a young woman she studied art at the Chicago Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York City. She also trained as a teacher and in 1916 she was hired as the head of the Art Department at West Texas State Normal College.

O’Keefe first came to the attention of the New York art world when photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz exhibited her drawing at his 291 gallery.         During this time O’Keefe also met many early American modern artists including John Marin, Marsden Hartley and Arthur Dove. Her own naturalistic yet also abstract works established her as a serious artist in an era when there were few women artists. By the mid-1920s she had become known as one of America’s most important artists.

In 1929 O’Keefe took a trip with a friend to New Mexico in search of new inspiration.They went to Taos where they were the guests of Mabel Dodge Luhan, a famous patron of the arts. O’Keefe took numerous back packing trips into the mountains and deserts of the region  and became entranced with the landscapes there. From 1929-1949 she spent part of every year working there. Then in 1934 she visited Ghost Ranch which lies 18 miles north of Abiqui, and decided immediately to move there. In 1940 she purchased a small house on the ranch and learned to drive which allowed her to go to remote locations alone to paint. Her subject matter included dramatic rock formations like “The Black Place”, a remote and still uninhabited area about 150 miles west of her home. Bones, skulls and unusual stones, as well as flowers, were other typical sources of subject matter for her paintings.

In the following years, O’Keefe rarely left New Mexico but her art continued to grow in popularity and value. In the fall of 1970 the Whitney Museum of American Art organized the Georgia O’Keefe Retrospective Exhibition which introduced her work to a new generation and increasing her popularity even further. In 1977 O’Keefe received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to citizens.

O’Keefe was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 1972 and eventually stopped painting, although she continued to draw. She hired a young potter, Juan Hamilton, to work as her assistant and he taught her to work with clay, opening up a new area of artistic expression. With his assistance she produced a series of clay pots and also a group of watercolors.

Frail and in failing health, O’Keefe moved to Santa Fe in 1984. When she died in 1986 at the age of 98, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered on top of Pedernal Mountain, over the place she called the “faraway” but which we all know as Ghost Ranch.

After her death a foundation was created which established the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe which houses a large collection of her works and is dedicated to preserving her legacy. A house she purchased in Abiqui is open to the public by appointment but her home at Ghost Ranch is not available for tours.

Ghost Ranch lies next to the Sangre de Christo mountain range in a world of its own. There are fossils everywhere, the colored mountains that O’Keefe fell in love with are in plain view and an array of wildlife passes by your window every morning. It’s a must visit destination and I am taking you there next week along with visits to some other interesting spots in the area.

Adios till then when I’ll see ya down the road……………..










Honor Flights and the USS Nassau

 I want to thank Harold Schmid’s son for informing me of his dad’s connnection to this historical battle. If you know of something historical you think I might be interested in please email me.

                          Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.  By Navy time today is 6 June two thousand and twelve and America is alive and well but on this famous day in military history seventy years ago things were different. Our country was at war on 20 August 1942 when the converted jeep carrier USS Nassau was commissioned into the U.S. Navy.

Jeep carriers or baby flat tops as the press called them, were multi-purpose ships that became proficient at finding and destroying enemy submarines. Throughout the war the Nassau performed numerous naval duties including patrol and scouting assignments and escorting convoys in both oceans. During the Pacific ocean battles the ship and her crew provided air cover for amphibious landings and ferried replacement planes to the bigger, more glamorous aircraft carriers. The jeep carriers, known as “CVEs” by the Navy, were lightly armored and slow. They were never meant for straight up combat but on 25 October 1942 all that changed when the Nassau (CVE-16) was protecting some transports which were unloading in Leytz Gulf in the Philippines.

Admiral Takeo Kurita of the Japanese Navy had four big battleships and six heavy cruisers ready to pulverize the transports and the beachhead where the unloading operation was underway. Out gunned, the relatively tiny jeep carrier, along with two other CVEs and several smaller battleships attacked Kurita’s fleet saving hundreds of lives and tons of much needed supplies.

Launching their planes and creating as much smoke as possible, the jeep carriers harassed the enemy, dropping bombs and making scraping runs. Darting between the much larger Japanese destroyers, the lightly armed vessels launched torpedoes and fired their small 5” battery cannons, all in a desperate effort to save the harbor. The plan had been for the Navy vessels to give the impression of a much bigger strike force and it worked but not without sacrifice. Only 2 hours long, the battle claimed the lives of 1,100 US sailors, two jeep carriers and four small battleships on the way to making history as one of the Navy’s greatest victories in WWII.

Each year our nation salutes this generation of American heroes. In keeping with this tradition the Honor Flights network in Oklahoma sent several dozen WWII veterans to Washington D.C. today to view their memorial including long time Bartlesville resident Harold Schmid who served aboard the USS Nassau.

Honor Flights took its first group of twelve veterans to Washington to see the memorial in May 2005. Retired Air Force Captain Dr. Earl Morse had taken care of aging veterans for 27 years and he had learned that to a man they all wanted to see the memorial.  However for many veterans, their finances or their physical condition made the trip impossibility. With many of the aging men and women dying, Dr. Morse felt he had to act. He is a licensed pilot and he took this first group at his own expense. The rest is history. Last year over 18,000 veterans were flown to Washington at no charge, many in wheelchairs, to attend ceremonies that would make the toughest man cry. Honor Flights provides a twelve hour trip back in time for America’s heroes like Bartian Harold Schmid and all the others who served, whom we should never forget.

If you want to know more about the USS Nassau visit www.nav.source.archives or

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………….


Chimney Rock, Colorado

Leading a group of forty west to the UUBar………………….

             Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.   This week I’m taking you back in time once again. The year was AD 925 and the place was called Chimney Rock, lying between what would later become Durango and Pagosa Springs, Colorado in the 4,100 acre San Juan National Forest Archaeological area. Sitting on top of a mountain, Chimney Rock stands 315 feet tall and archaeologists estimate that the rock itself is over 535 million years old. In AD 925 the Pueblo people built a community here with seventy-five mile panoramic views of the area. With only a narrow path leading to the top the two thousand or so residents probably felt safe in their natural fortress where they could easily see any approaching enemy.

Since the early 1960s Dr. Frank Eddy of the University of Colorado and many others have been excavating this site and they have uncovered hundreds of artifacts revealing how these people lived.  Their buildings included spaces for living, working and religious ceremonies. At the center of the buildings was the so-called Great House with many ceremonial rooms, known as kivas. According to local history, the same Pueblo people who inhabited Chimney Rock also discovered the famous Pagosa hot springs.

Today the site is jointly managed by the United States Forest Service and the Pagosa Ranger District and the Chimney Rock Interpretative Association which is staffed by both the Forest Service and volunteers who conduct daily guided walking tours of the site from May 15-September 30. Up to 10,000 visitors tour Chimney Rock annually and now there is a push to declare the rock a national monument which would further protect the site and open the door for expanded tourism and research opportunities in the area.

I first learned about Chimney Rock when Loretta and I visited the area four years ago and I can tell you it was a breath taking climb to the top along that narrow trail. The history here is awe inspiring as is the surrounding countryside and it is hard to imagine a place more deserving of national monument status.

While I’m in New Mexico I am also planning to go back to Ghost Ranch outside of Abiqui. In1933 Arthur Pack, an editor for an East Coast magazine, bought Ghost Ranch after visiting the area for a story. Pack built a dude ranch for the rich and famous and soon many celebrities were regular guests, including Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Leopold Schakowsky, the Johnson family of Johnson & Johnson and the person who would show the world the astounding beauty of the area, Georgia O’Keefe. O’Keefe eventually bought a piece of land from the Packs and built her own home there. She spent the rest of her life painting the extraordinary landscape around her.

In 1941 Ghost Ranch became part of history again when scientists from Los Alamos who were working on the Manhattan Project started coming to the ranch for rest and relaxation. For security reasons during this period the ranch was placed off-limits for the everyday visitor until 1947.

In 1955 Arthur and Phoebe Pack donated Ghost Ranch to the Presbyterian Church in hopes that the church would make good use of this magical and mystical place. I would say they have succeeded. Hiking, horseback riding, stargazing and exploring the past are just a few of the activities that are available to visitors. But don’t count on your cell phone or your ATM card- they may not work in this remote area that feels like a step back in time.

Over the years thousands of kids have come to church retreats here and had their horizons expanded by the experience. Peace Corps members and National Guard troops have been trained at the ranch and Georgia O’Keefe even had her ashes scattered over the property when she died in 1986. The Packs would be very happy.

I am anxious to be inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s creative spirit once again.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….



Ty England, Zane Grey and Georgia O’Keefe

I hope you will ride along as I head out to New Mexico for a spring trip…

                   Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.   The plans are already in the works for next year’s The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque and judging from this year’s event, with close to 1,000 people in attendance, the folks at Elder Care may need an even bigger tent in 2013. The mix of people gathered to support this fine organization has a lot to do with the success of the evening. Everyone from your regular Joe (that would be me) to corporate moguls were visiting together and enjoying the evening. As always Katsy and Jim Whittenburg and Kathleen and Mark Bukowski were gracious and generous hosts, greeting everyone and thanking the crowd for their support of Elder Care. If you didn’t catch my column last week, Kathleen and Mark were married the weekend before the Barbeque and they were kind enough to stay at the ranch after the wedding to help Katsy and Jim host the event.

Another highlight of the evening was the appearance of musician Ty England. For those of you who haven’t heard of Ty, he and Garth Brooks started out playing music together in Stillwater and became close friends. Ty became a part of Garth’s band, together they toured the world and the rest is history. Ty is a successful performer in his own right and he mentioned that a return trip to the Barbeque is already on his calendar. You might want to mark your own calendar for Saturday May 11, 2013, the date of an event that just seems to get better every year.

Up next on my calendar is a trip west to the Land of Enchantment as I jump on board with photographer Jerry Poppenhouse and 40 other photography enthusiasts and head out to the UU Bar Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. The lodge at the ranch is situated at 6,000 ft. above sea level but the property quickly climbs to 11,000 ft.. Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating visits regularly and he recently said that the UU Bar is “more like a state than a ranch. You have those alpine meadows, the beautiful forests, and the abundant wildlife. It’s absolutely a colorful affirmation of the beauty of America, a spectacular picture postcard ranch.” If you are interested in coming along I am sorry to say that the lodge is completely sold out but there are still a few rooms available at the nearby historic St. James Hotel. In the past I’ve written about this stopping place of Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James, Zane Grey and many others and I guarantee you an experience that you will not soon forget. The hotel is just 10 miles from the lodge at the ranch so you won’t be far from the action.

After four days at the UU Bar I will be going on to artist Georgia O’Keefe’s favorite place, Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, New Mexico. The history of this area is written in the dinosaur bones that you often find while hiking and the views of the pastel colored mountains at sunrise or sunset alone make this a must see if you are anywhere nearby. Just one day and you will understand why O’Keefe spent so much of her life interpreting this landscape. This part of the world is also the home of the world’s deepest hot springs and the Indian tribe who discovered them.

The mineral waters at Pagosa Springs, Colorado have long been believed to have healing powers and now there have been several important archaeological discoveries in the area revealing that people have been coming to the springs for hundreds of years. I’ll be reporting back soon on what has been found there.

I’ll also be traveling across the continental divide in search of more interesting material and if all goes well my last stop will probably be Santa Fe which has attracted artists of every kind for years.

Till then I’ll see ya down the road…………..




Elder Care Fundraiser at the Mullendore Cross Bell Ranch

You don’t want to miss this great party next weekend, its one of my favorites!

                        Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.   From boots and spurs to diamonds and pearls you’ll see it all at Elder Care’s The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque on Saturday May 12th at the historic Mullendore Cross Bell Ranch. This is a big time party with entertainment by award winning western music artist Les Gilliam who plays Gene Autry tunes like Gene himself did’em. Les is a judge for the Western Heritage Awards, among many other things, and we folk in the area are lucky to get the chance to hear his fine music. Les grew up in the same town as Gene Autry and he has some great stories about his friend which he might share during the evening as well.

The committee chair for the event, Virginia Sawyer, has told me that because of the popularity of the Barbeque this year they have added another large tent where a large array of silent auction items will be displayed. They will be featuring everything from artwork and handcrafted jewelry to a three day trip to the Pagosa Springs Resort and Spa and my personal favorite, a pie a month for a year donated by Cindy Defehr. If you’ve ever tasted one of her pies you know what a treat this would be.

According to Virginia, the live auction starts right after dinner and will include fantastic Hearts On Fire diamond jewelry from McCoy’s and a week a week’s stay in a beautiful private home in Destin, Florida donated by Doug and Debbie Schwegman.

With great fishing and swimming right out your door, I’m saving my pennies for it. Another very popular item is bound to be the fishing for four donated by Bob Funk at his UUBar Ranch outside of Cimarron, New Mexico. Even if you don’t fish, it is worth the trip just to see the scenery in this part of the world. Private parties, estate jewelry and even the chance to own a 10% all expenses paid interest in an Oklahoma bred racehorse will also be included in the live auction which as always will be conducted by master auctioneer Roger Skelly assisted by emcee Charlie Taraboletti. Guaranteed to be fun for all.

Of course the proceeds from the event support the great programs and services that Elder Care offers to senior adults and caregivers in the community and since we’re all moving in that direction we need to get out and support them. For more information about Elder Care check’em out at ,call (918) 336-8500 or see their page on FACEBOOK.

For those of you who may not have been to the Barbeque before and haven’t heard the history of this famous ranch, this is the only time of the year that the Cross Bell is usually open to the public and it is well worth the price of admission to see this extraordinary place.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..







Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……………..




Temple Grandin and the Western Heritage Awards

 As promised, here is my report on last week’s star studded Western Heritage Awards………………………

                             Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Temple Grandin and The Western Heritage AwardsWelcome back.   The town was Oklahoma City and Saturday night at the   National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s big Western Heritage Awards event the stars were out. Lynn Anderson, Rex Linn, Red Steagall and the list could go on as common folks mixed with the famous all gathering together celebrating our western heritage.

Fess Parker’s daughter Ashley was there visiting about her childhood as the daughter of America’s number one hero in the 1950s. Down another hallway Ernest Bourgnine was reminiscing about his long career in the film business with another group.

T.V. and movie star Bruce Boxleitner was there to accept his award and Burns Hargis, President of OSU, Larry Nichols, CEO of Devon Energy, Garth Brook’s buddy Ty England were in attendance, along with dozens of others all decked out to support this wonderful museum.

One of the most touching moments of the evening came when Temple Grandin was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners. For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Grandin is a woman who has overcome autism to become a highly respected advocate for animal welfare with a doctorate in Animal Science as well as an author and film producer. She received a standing ovation as she walked onto the stage.

Chuck Schroeder, the President of the museum, tells me that plans are already underway for next year’s event and my friends if you’re a fan of the old west it’s a party you don’t want to miss.

Sadly, this week I also need to note the passing of another historical figure with ties to Bartlesville.  Her name was Virginia Lee Phillips and her husband was Chope Phillips, the son of Waite Phillips whom I’ve written about frequently over the years.

Born on October 24, 1922, she grew up with a love of reading and the arts which was unusual for a woman in her time She met Chope in 1943 and they were married in 1947. Waite Phillips recognized Virginia’s talent and intelligence and schooled her in financial management and investments. With his encouragement she took a leading role in the management of several of the family foundations. Virginia and Chope both loved ranching and owned several big spreads together before they retired in 1993 and moved to Amarillo to be close to their children and grandchildren.

Chope and Virginia both attended last year’s The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque, the big Elder Care event that is coming up on May 12th and she impressed me with her gentle thoughtful spirit. She told me that although she had been many places in the world, she missed coming to Bartlesville. She thought Bartlesville was a special place and that Mullendore embodied the spirit and history of the area. Virginia Lee Phillips, 89 years young, we’ll miss you.

For more information about The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque call Elder Care @ (918) 336-8500

                                   Till next week I’ll see ya down the road…..