Where It All Started: Footprints in the Dew

A little history about Footprints in the Dew and a reminder that the official launch for the book is September 26th!

Welcome back. This week in anticipation of the release of Footprints in the Dew I am taking you back to where it all started. It was June 6, 2006 and although there were many things happening around the world the front page news in Oklahoma was all about the arrest of long time fugitive Damon “Chub” Anderson.

His arrest set off a chain of events that would eventually send me traveling 1,000s of miles across the country, sleeping in tents or roadside motels as I pursued the story of Chub’s life. In the course of writing the book I have gone through 2 cars, 3 laptops, reams of paper, a camcorder and several tape recorders. I recorded over 150 different interviews with Chub and close to another hundred people who knew him and I have edited and rewritten the book a dozen times. Along the way from I have had help from professional editors and proofreaders as well as several attorneys. The effort has taken eight all-consuming years.

On September 26th you will have a chance to find out for yourself if it was all worthwhile when the official book launch and signing takes place during Western Heritage Days in Dewey. I will be at the Dewey Hotel from 11-3 selling and signing books. It will be a great weekend with something for everyone of all ages at the festival. I hope to see ya all there.

In the past week my travels have taken me to several nearby towns as part of my outreach to promote the book. The first stop was Parsons, Kansas a town whose history was shaped by the railroads. After a two day stay at Lake Parsons I had barely scratched the surface of the interesting features of this town including Big Brutus one of the biggest scoop shovels in the world which is on display just outside the city limits.

East of Parsons is Pittsburg, Kansas, the home of Pittsburgh State University. In the early 1900s this area was settled by German and Italian immigrants seeking a better life and their influence is still felt today especially in the food. The popularity of the University has kept Pittsburg growing through the years and the campus continues to expand today.

Along the way I also passed through Caney and Coffeyville, Kansas both of which are interesting small towns well worth a visit. Coffeyville has a historic downtown which has been preserved from the era of the Dalton gang shootout there and the town hosts Dalton Days every fall to reenact the event. The Safari Wildlife Zoo in Caney is another draw for visitors to the area. If you are looking for a day trip and choose any of these spots judging from my experience you will find friendly people, good food and unique attractions.

My last stop was Joplin, Missouri, a town of 50,000 that has been in a major rebuilding mode ever since the devastating tornado in 2013. I was in Joplin for a professional boxing meet featuring two fighters I’ve written about in the past, Kenzie Morrison and Trey Lippe-Morrison. The 4000 seat arena was sold out with people lined up hoping to find a seat. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit with fight promoter Tony Holden and he likes the idea of bringing a big outdoor match to downtown Bartlesville. He envisions closing down a street, building a ring with outdoor lights and the whole nine yards. The event could take place next summer and he would bring in six or seven of the top fighters from around the country, including of course Tommy Morrison’s two sons. Sounds like a great plan to me and it could be a boon to local businesses as well.

Next week: a few of the things that got edited out of Footprints in the Dew and why. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…