The Big Event with Larry Gatlin, Wild Brew and Stillwater, OK

I’ve had a busy week crisscrossing the state to promote Footprints in the Dew before the official release date on September 26th!  I will be at the Dewey Hotel signing books from 11-3 during Western Heritage Days and I hope to see you there. I will be announcing other book signing locations soon as well.

Welcome back.  It was back in 1972 when Kris Kristofferson invited his friend Larry Gatlin and Larry’s brothers Steve and Rudy to Nashville to be back-up singers on his first album. This was the brothers’ first performance on an album but just three years later their recording of “Broken Lady” won a Grammy Award and catapulted the then unknown Gatlin Brothers from Abilene, Texas into music history. The group went on to have a dozen top forty hits and win numerous awards including Male Vocalist of the Year (Larry Gatlin), Album of the Year and Single of the Year. The Gatlin Brothers have performed at the White House regularly, appeared on Broadway in New York City and even sung for kings and queens. Last Friday night they brought their show to the Express Ranch just a few miles outside of Yukon, Oklahoma to entertain a crowd of around 1,500 guests. It was all part of the annual production sales at the Express Ranch headquarters in Yukon. Advertised as ‘The Big Event”, it is actually the cows who are the stars of this show. Friends, these Angus cows aren’t just your regular T-bone on the hoof, these are the best of the best. Seeing the money that each cow brought during an auction that included bidders from around the world, some bidding remotely via TV, you’d have to agree. Before moving on, I want to remark on the strong sense of community I noticed among the cattlemen and women I saw at the sale. Despite cattle being a very big business there are still strong family values expressed in the conversations you have with different people, many of whom have their children and grandchildren at the sale with them. Giving back to the community is important to these folks and each year Express Ranches awards college scholarships to high school students involved in the FFA. Over the years they have given millions of dollars to these young people who will be feeding us all!

That was Friday and on Saturday afternoon I attended another great party at the Cox Convention Center in Tulsa when the Sutton Center folks held their annual fundraiser, Wild Brew. Do you like chicken wings? How about Asian food or brisket? There was literally something for everyone and plenty of desserts too including all kinds of chocolates, some with names I can’t pronounce or spell but I can tell you it was all good. Then there was the beer. Some of the beers had pretty esoteric names but judging from the lines at the different booths I would say they were all good too. As usual the Fabulous Midlife Crisis Band had everyone dancing up a lather and my scoop of the week is to plan to attend next year. It will be the 17th year for the event and planning is already underway.

From Wild Brew I headed down the Cimarron Turnpike to Stillwater, OK home of Oklahoma State University. To be on the safe side I changed from my Wild Brew t-shirt to an orange Pistol Pete shirt. The gathering I was headed to was held at the local Eagles Lodge and it was packed full of people who had come to honor a 70 year man who had touched all of their lives including mine. People flew in from all over the country to celebrate this individual’s birthday and when my book Footprints in the Dew is released on September 26th you will learn who he is and how much he has helped me along the way.



Express Employment Professionals’ annual PBR Classic

Footprints in the Dew is at the printer! Copies will be mailed out  in September to anyone who pre-ordered a book.

Welcome back. As summer turns to fall, several events I always look forward to are coming up including an event I just attended which is where I will start. Advertised as “the toughest event on earth”, the Professional Bull Riding (or PBR as it is known) competition rolled into the BOK Center in Tulsa on Friday and Saturday nights to put on a show and friends that’s exactly what they did. The top 35 money winning bull riders were matched with some of the toughest bulls in the country, competing for some big prize money and a chance to go to the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. But friends it’s not just all about the bull riding anymore. Loud music rocks the arena before, during and after the show. In between riders, renowned rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen had the crowd in stitches with his antics. You bet there were hundreds of bright lights too as well as fireworks and sound cannons.

As with all PBR events, this competition started with the national anthem and a prayer for our country on both nights. Saturday night they announced that new facilities are under construction for the PBR in Las Vegas and more information on that will be coming soon. This was an exciting competition to watch and my overall impression of the Express Employment Professionals’ annual PBR Classic is that you don’t want to miss it next year!

This Friday there’s another event coming up with the Express name on it that also involves cattle. You regular readers many remember that this events also takes place at the end of the summer every year and although they don’t advertise it as such, I haven’t found another cattle sale in the country like it. The cattle at this two day sale often bring hundreds of thousands of dollars and the buyers come from around the world. The guests will include governors, sports celebrities and even movie stars. On the opening evening of the sale five hundred or more guests will be treated to some real Oklahoma hospitality with dinner and entertainment at the Express Ranch headquarters in Yukon. It’s called the Big Event and I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week.

This Saturday August 22nd is also the date for a truly longtime favorite event of mine- Wild Brew. Now in its 22nd year, this popular beer tasting and food sampling fundraiser benefits the Sutton Center Avian Research Station right here in Bartlesville. The Sutton Center is an internationally known conservation organization and the proceeds from Wild Brew support their many research and conservation programs, including an eagle’s nest webcam.

Breweries around the country and many of Tulsa’s best restaurants will be showcased and the evening will include music from the Fabulous Mid-Life Crisis Band. I need to mention that this is a party crowd and even if you don’t dance it’s a great opportunity for people watching. Wild Brew will be held at the Cox Business Center from 5-8 PM. Patrons get in early from 4-5PM. For tickets and additional information visit See ya there for sure!

Wrapping up the month on Saturday August 29th is a follow-up to a story I first brought you about a year ago. The sons of World Heavyweight Champion Tony Morrison are training in Bartlesville as you read this. I do believe that these boys will bring glory to our town during their rise to fame in the boxing world. They are both currently undefeated and will be fighting at Joplin Memorial Hall, a 3,000 seat arena. Floor seats are already sold out and I hear the other tickets are going fast as well. My scoop of the week is to catch them live while you still can. For tickets call Buffalo Run Casino (918-542-9400 ) or visit

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

Correction: Please note that Stan Clark, not Stan Barnes is the founder of Eskimo Joe’s.

Arcadia Lake and the Will Rogers Fly-in

 Footprints in the Dew goes to the printer Tuesday after 9 years! The release date is September 26th at Western Heritage Days in Dewey. For a first edition order from this website. And now for the local news….

Welcome back. The City of Edmond which manages Arcadia Lake and utilizes the lake as the main water supply for the city, says it offers something for everyone. I just spent a few days camping at Arcadia and I got a firsthand look at what they are bragging about. The fishermen I talked to told me it is a great spot and during the winter a completely covered and heated boat dock on the lake stays busy. If you are into disc golf, there are two courses there. What about swimming? Arcadia offers three all sand beaches that are cleaned of debris every night to make sure swimmers are welcomed to a clean beach throughout the season.

The lake also has three concrete boat ramps, five miles of trails for horseback riding and many more for hiking. Six spacious pavilions are available for company picnics or family reunions. The campgrounds range from primitive to full utilities and the rates are extremely reasonable. That is one of the reasons I enjoy staying at Arcadia when business takes me to Oklahoma City overnight but even if rates were higher, the beautiful views alone would be worth it. So the next time you’re in Oklahoma City or Edmond make a picnic and check out Arcadia Lake.

On the local front I just learned that the Mutual Girls Club and Tuesday House have purchased the Youth Canteen. This is a brick building that sits directly behind Food Pyramid grocery store on Price Road and it has been a safe haven for Bartlesville youth for several generations. This purchase assures that Mutual Girls Club will have plenty of space for their growing organization. I spoke with their director Emily French and she told me they desperately needed the space for the numerous activities they offer girls including life skills training to prepare them to succeed in school and work.

I also learned that Tuesday House is a resale/thrift shop that operates solely for the benefit of the club. If you’ve never been the store is located at 327 S. Penn Ave. and its open on Tuesday from 8-4. I guarantee that their merchandise offers something for everyone and the friendly volunteers there make a stop worthwhile just for a visit. As a 501©3 they always accept donations which can be tax deductible and benefit this great cause.

Mutual Girls Club is another wonderful organization serving Bartlesville and here are some of the ways you can help them. How about sending a girl to camp? Many girls in our community want to go but can’t afford it. The club also needs more volunteers to mentor the girls and assist with the activities. Snacks are always needed for the after schools programs and of course money is needed as well. Emily and her dedicated group of volunteers can’t do it all on their own. Your dollars will make a difference and it all stays right here in our community. Give them a hand if you can.

With space running short, I want to mention the Lowe Family Young Scholars program before I go. The Dog Days of Summer 5K run is coming up on September 12th, starting from Johnstone Park. If you’ve never heard of the Lowe Family or this important scholarship program, September 12th would be a good time to get involved and learn more about them. You might be surprised and inspired at the same time.

And finally a word about a man whom Oklahoma will never forget, Will Rogers. It was around noon on August 15, 1935 when Will and pilot Wiley Post took off from a tidal lagoon near the town of Walakpi, Alaska. Wiley had landed there to get directions while he will exploring a new mail route that would connect the United States and Russia. According to Will’s niece, Coke Meyer, the plane had only gotten about 15 feet up in the air when the engine failed and it fell back to the ground killing Will and Wiley.

This Saturday will mark the 80th anniversary of their deaths and there will be a big fly-in at Will’s Dog Iron Ranch to honor the 2 men. This is an annual event that is usually held on a Sunday but as this Saturday is the exact anniversary date, the organizers decided to make it special. On Friday the 14th a wreath will be laid on Will’s tomb at the museum in Claremore and then the fly-in festivities kick-off early Saturday morning. A big crowd is expected and people will be coming in from around the country. I’ll be there and I hope to see you too.

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


Top Selling Budweiser Retailer was the King of the Bar Scene

Unfortunately I missed the end of the James Holmes trial but I have been working night and day to get Footprints in the Dew to the printer….

Welcome back. I’m traveling again this week but while I’m on the road I’m excited to bring you the story of a man who was born on August 9, 1932 in Peru, Kansas. A graduate of the Bartlesville High School class of 1950, he would go on to become the third bestselling retailer of Budweiser beer in the country at the time. Kenny Fox is 83 years old now and lives just a few miles outside of Ochelata. This is just a small part of his life story.

After high school Kenny, as I’ll call him, went to work for a utility company doing manual labor. He was a naturally talented artist and after a year and a half he went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company in the Visual Art department. In the evenings he pumped gas for Cab Renick who was already a basketball legend and owned a Phillips service station downtown.

For twenty years Kenny’s paychecks came from Phillips and then when the J Bar and the adjoining restaurant along with a barber shop next door came up for lease, he jumped into the people business. The J Bar was downtown next to the present day courthouse in a small complex of businesses along Johnstone. This is where Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, met her future husband and through the years everyone from Boots Adams to Chub Anderson stopped by for some of Kenny’s hospitality.

There were four rental apartments above the J Bar that Kenny turned into a graphic arts business. With his contacts through Phillips the business was an immediate success.

The Eastland Shopping Center on the east side of town was just getting off the ground when Kenny opened the “Cove” there. The Cove was a beer bar that catered to 18 years olds with pinball games, pool, shuffleboard and the best pizza in town which Kenny often delivered personally. The Cove was so successful that before long he opened the “Fox’s Den” next door which offered hard liquor and featured live entertainment. Kenny also established the first Kawasaki motorcycle shop in town on the corner next to the Cove.

Always on the lookout for opportunity, when Maria’s Steakhouse came up for lease he took it over. Then he opened the Gray Fox, a bar and pizza restaurant in Ponca City. Stillwater soon had a Kenny Fox bar there as well, in a 3 story building right across the street from the campus. He also leased the two adjoining buildings which were across the street from where Eskimo Joe’s is today. The founder of Eskimo Joe’s and a close friend, Stan Barnes consulted with Kenny about possibly buying the building where Eskimo Joe’s is now. Kenny recommended that Stan buy it and the rest is history.

Kenny set up another Fox’s Den bar in Norman where OU’s Selmon brothers tended bar for him. In Fayetteville, AR history repeated itself, with another popular liquor and pizza place. It’s a wonder he wasn’t the #1 retailer in the country!

A beauty shop, a high end antique business, two CB radio stations, a construction company to build the CB towers, the list of business ventures goes on and on. Unfortunately I don’t have the space to do them all justice. Someday if we’re all lucky this guy with his many accomplishments will put everything down in a book.

Coming next week its more big stuff as I report on a week spent in Oklahoma City. I’ll be staying at beautiful Arcadia Lake which is located north of Oklahoma City and east of Edmond. The lake has an 1820 acre surface area, 26 miles of shoreline and there are four camping areas to choose from. I’ll give you all the scoop.

Then it’s back to Denver for the life or death decision for convicted movie theater shooter James Holmes. Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road….






The Last Armed Conflict Between the U.S. Cavalry and American Indians in Oklahoma

Help me spread the word! Footprints in the Dew will be in print on September 26th! You can pre-order a copy now on this website! Thanks for your support.

Welcome back. Alva, Oklahoma home of Northwestern Oklahoma University, is a town I pass through often when traveling highway 64 going west to New Mexico. There’s lots of wide open spaces out there and you may drive for miles before you see another car. The area seems remote today but back in 1878 it was even more so. There were ranches and itinerant cowboys roamed the region that would become Kansas. A few miles to the north a few farms had started to crop up across the landscape but in general the area was still undeveloped and too rough and wide open to appeal to farmers. This was the setting for the Battle of Turkey Springs.

Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf had led a band of Northern Cheyenne off the reservation in an attempt to return to their original lands in Montana and Wyoming. There were 92 men, 120 women and 141 children many of whom were ill and starving before the journey but they had pledged to get back to their land or die trying.

Life on the reservation was unbearable for the Cheyenne who were accustomed to living on a wide open range full of game. On the reservation there was only the remains of buffalo slaughtered by white hunters and there was nothing to hunt for food. Many Cheyenne had already died when the tribe was hit by a measles epidemic and they couldn’t take any more.

After leaving the reservation in Fort Reno, the tribe followed trails through canyons and forests to avoid being scene but outside of present day Alva they took their final stand. According to Wikipedia, the band had dwindled to 297 people when companies G and H of the U.S. Cavalry found them. With the help of many civilians, the cavalry had tracked the Cheyenne 11 miles up Turkey Creek to Turkey Springs. When they realized the troops were coming, the Indians dug rifle pits for the men without horses and prepared for what became known as “the last armed conflict between the U.S. Cavalry and American Indians in Oklahoma.”

After their escape, the Cheyenne had outmaneuvered troops on several occasions and when confronted, had out fought detachments from several different forts in their struggle to get home. This time they had exhausted all their options.

In the course of a predictable battle 50 Cheyenne were killed and 30 were wounded but Turkey Springs became a kind of victory because it brought the plight of Indians on reservations to the attention of the American people.

I first discovered this story when I stopped at a historical marker along the Governor Nigh Northwest Passage last week. There are hundreds of these markers along American highways, each one with its own story from our history. Check out one or two the next time you’re traveling, I’ve found many a good story and I guarantee you will too.

Here’s my scoop of the week about an event you may want to check out. Many events are held at the Lions’ Club building on Tuxedo Boulevard, including their annual Christmas tree sale. The building can also be rented and this Saturday from 8-5 there will be a benefit for a young local woman, Kelley Stardette Preston, who is fighting a rare form of cancer. They will be holding a big yard sale with smoked hot dogs available and a bake sale from some of the top bakers in town as well. Dozens of families have donated items for the sale so it should be a lot of fun. Sitting under a shade tree with a hot dog and a cookie sounds pretty good to me. Help them out if you can.

Also coming up it’s the Original Buffalo Dale on tour at OSU Tulsa presenting my project to their OLLI students. If you missed the class in Bartlesville, I’ve been asked to return and return I will with a full cast of characters and more. For more info call Ruth Sirbaugh at (405) 744-5868 at OSU Stillwater or check out my website

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