A great story about a local kid who makes good……………………
Welcome back. From Bartlesville it’s just forty-five minutes to Tulsa and then another two hours to Oklahoma City and this has become a regular drive for me lately. It’s a four lane highway all the way but I’ve often thought about getting off and following old Route 66 or as my friend Michael Wallis calls it, the “Mother Road.” Unfortunately, it seems time is always against me and I haven’t had the opportunity to take the scenic route yet.
I am frequently asked where I stay in Oklahoma City and usually I park my motorhome at Arcadia Lake near Edmond. Camping sites are very reasonably priced and most of them have a view of the lake so you can’t beat it. During my stay this past week, for convenience sake I stayed at the horse racing track Remington Park which is close to the Western Heritage Center and Cowboy Hall of Fame. I’ve stayed here before and although it’s just a concrete slab with no facilities, parking is free. Best of all, the parking is right alongside the track which means you can watch the races from the convenience of your vehicle. The clubhouse for the track is also within easy walking distance if you want to eat or play the horses as they say.
This time of year is the start of racing season which at this track means quarter horse racing. I’d say over half the people in attendance were there to gamble at the casino which is part of the complex but there was a lively crowd watching the horses run as well. While I was there a story caught my interest when I heard about a man from Pawhuska who was about to retire after thirty years as a jockey. After I did some research friends I can tell you this guy isn’t just any jockey.
As a youth in Pawhuska, George Robert Carter, Jr. excelled in sports, winning the state championships in both gymnastics and wrestling. After graduation, he moved to Sallisaw, OK where Blue Ribbon Downs is located to become a full time jockey. Through the years, he moved around the country riding and raising horses, winning races all along the way and breaking records for money earned. “G.R.” as he is known, rode both quarter horses and American paint horses and has been named World Champion jockey ten times. At forty-eight G.R. holds the record for all time wins and money earned. His awards could fill a semi, including recognition from then Governor Brad Henry who declared May 31, 2009 as G.R. Carter day in Oklahoma. You folks who have seen him race may recall his back flip dismount off the horse which was his trademark after winning. There may never be another jockey like G.R. Carter and he is right from our neck of the woods.
After a book signing event in Edmond on Saturday featuring OU great Joe Washington at Best of Books, it was on to the Tulsa Fairgrounds where six miles of guns were for sale. This is the world’s largest gun show, run by Joe Wannamaker. The booths were sold out and there was a capacity crowd on hand for the show. Joe told me there were over four thousand sales tables at the event this year and it all started in Tulsa in 1965. At the time there were just a few tables and now the show has grown to include buyers and sellers from around the world. Joe’s next show is November 12th and 13th and with Christmas around the corner then it would be worth a visit.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..