On the road to Wagoner, OK

Looking forward to showing Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes at the Wagoner, OK Civic Center tonight (3/25/2017)….

Welcome back. Henry “Big Foot” Wagoner, you may not have heard of his name before and why would you, back in 1887 Big Foot was just a railroad dispatcher on a branch of the Missouri Pacific railway at the intersection where the Kansas-Texas railway crossed the Pacific line. This was Indian Territory and few white men were in the area but that would all change a few years later when in 1896 what was commonly called the “Wagoner switch” was incorporated and named Wagoner, becoming the first incorporated town in Indian Territory. Hotels sprang up overnight and the boom was on.

By 1910 the population reached over 4,000 and the once quiet piece of countryside had three railroad trunk lines running through it carrying twenty passenger trains a day. The relocation of the railroad’s division headquarters to Wagoner and the growth of other industries which relied on rail service attracted more people to town. With three giant grain elevators, a cotton gin, an iron foundry and a cement plant, the area that Big Foot had settled practically by himself was a big time city and growing.
According to Wikipedia and my library resources, the Great Depression slowed things down a bit but when World War II began Wagoner’s easy access to thousands of troops station at Camp Gruber and the Oklahoma Work Ordnance helped Wagoner survive.
The 1950s brought the construction of Lake Fort Gibson and the town transformed itself into a recreational center and retirement community. Nowadays with the Kerr-McClellan River Navigation System nearby along with a highway linking Wagoner to Tulsa, it’s practically a suburb. I’ll be there autographing books for a fundraiser on Saturday night which will benefit their Main Street program. I’m looking forward to my visit and to learning more about a town whose history predates statehood. I wonder if Big Foot had any idea what this remote part of his world would become.

This past Friday morning I was in Norman for a meeting of the Norman Business Association and as usual I found out about several interesting things. Did you know that Oklahoma is home to the National Weather and Science Museum? If you didn’t it’s probably because the museum is brand new and just now opening. I met the museum director who is a very friendly and knowledgeable guy and he told me that they have a state-of-the-art facility with exhibits designed for all ages. I didn’t have time to stop by on Friday but friends it’s definitely on my calendar for a visit. If weather interests you check this place out, my new friend Doug Forsyth is the director and the museum is located in Norman. For all the scoop go to myweathermuseum.com or call (405) 651-8649.

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


Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes at the Broadway Twin Theater in Cleveland, OK on Saturday Night

Hope to see some folks in Cleveland this weekend….

Welcome back. Training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or “CPR” as it’s commonly known is frequently offered for free in many places and the community officials I know say it saves lives, now I’m here to say that it can.

The setting was last Saturday in Springfield, MO and the location was the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center. Let me tell you this place is big. Seventy-six acres of everything from farm related exhibits to dozens of small permanent structures for food vendors and there was also newly built horse and livestock barns and a giant indoor arena. At the center of this complex, which is surrounded by a giant 4,000 car parking lot and an R.V. park, is what they call the “E*plex.” which offers 85,000 s.f. of clear span exhibition space. With a ceiling higher than I can throw a baseball, the folks here can host just about any kind of show or concert that they want and from the looks of their schedule it’s rented pretty regular.

As for me, I was asked by the promoter of R&K Gun Shows, Rex Lee Kehrli, if I had the time to do a book signing at his show there this past weekend. Regular readers know I’m always looking for interesting stories and with a little digging on Rex and his gun shows I found one. A gun show promoter since 1988, Rex puts on shows from coast to coast averaging 125 shows per year and they are some of the largest in the country. Folks these shows are a lot of work as they run both days during every weekend and Rex frequently has two or three shows going on the same weekend. Las Vegas to Dallas, Nebraska to Missouri, you can just imagine how busy this guy is and observing him visiting with vendors and shoppers and you can tell he’s done this type of people work a lot. During a quick interview I also found out that Rex grew up poor on an Iowa crop farm and worked his way up in the business, becoming a real American success story,

Getting back to my story, this was the scene around noon on Saturday when the E*PLEX building was full of people and Rex had situated me in the main lobby next to the dealer check in office. I was busy signing books when 20 feet to my right a man who appeared to be in his late sixties and who I later learned was accompanied by his wife, suddenly fell to the floor. It was a heart attack and the R&K employees who luckily were right next to me immediately went into emergency management mode, immediately calling 911 and asking for a doctor over the P.A. Although I myself am trained in CPR, before I could do anything R&K staff and another couple of fellows were administering the lifesaving technique to the gentleman. Other staff members were outside clearing a path through hundreds of people and cars in anticipation of the arrival of first responders. It seemed like an hour went by as one volunteer tired and another took over, all in a real life trauma situation. My training was not needed that day but thank goodness for the others who were ready with their CPR training. The moral of this story is that CPR training doesn’t take much time to learn and you never know when you might just make a difference.

Traveling over 30,000 miles a year naturally problems come up and on this trip it was a transmission problem for me. Thanks to the Springfield Tourism and Visitors Bureau for suggesting the Marriott Courtyard Hotel by the airport or this story might never have happened. I’m not used to this kind of luxury and it was a great place to stay, hot tub, pool and all.

Many people have been asking me lately about the next showing of Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes. Well this Saturday night March 18th the Broadway Twin Theater in Cleveland, OK will be showing the film. Tickets are $10 per person. For more information call 918-358-5264. This is a community rich in Oklahoma history and with the rolling hills and the Cimarron River flowing serenely all around the town it is a scenic place to visit.

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

Travels to Springdale, AR and Springfield, MO

Welcome back. Returning this week from what Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called the “poultry capitol of the world.” I found Springdale, Arkansas has quite a history. Founded in 1838, the town was originally called Shiloh but its name was changed in 1872 when the town leaders applied for a post office. I also discovered that this place is growing in population big time. The growth is driven by the poultry business; especially Tyson Foods which is Springdale’s largest employer followed by two other poultry giants George’s, Inc. and Cargill. I was in town for a book signing but I did have time to explore some. I found that like other small communities dependent on one or two big companies there’s lots of giving back to the community by the companies which is reflected in the names of many of the town’s public areas. Randall Tyson Recreational Complex, Helen Tyson Middle School, Don Tyson Elementary School, Don Tyson Parkway, I think you get the picture. It’s all about chickens, from hatching to our dinner plates, and friends this town feeds chickens to a big part of the country.

From seventy thousand people to well over five hundred thousand, this week I’m headed to what some call the birthplace of Route 66. Known as the “Queen City of the Ozarks” and home to numerous colleges and universities including Missouri State, Drury and the Evangel University, by now most of you may have guessed I’m on my way to the Springfield/Branson metropolitan area where there is a lot of American history. Part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, this land was originally Delaware Indian treaty land. The Kickapoo were also here and the infamous Cherokee Trail of Tears passed through the area as well.

Incorporated in 1838, by 1858 the Butterfield Overland Stage Line was taking passengers from the region to California as the town was becoming a vital roadway to the west. The coming of the railroad brought more growth as cities like Tulsa, Kansas City and Memphis became more accessible. 1861 brought the Civil War to Springfield culminating with the Battle of Pea Ridge when the Union Army gained control of Missouri. To this day many consider Pea Ridge to be the most historically pristine battle site remaining from the Civil War.
Here’s a little more history about the town before I go:

Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt had a shootout on Main Street which left Tutt dead.

According to Wikipedia, mobster John Gotti died in Springfield after being transferred there for health reasons.

In 1926 the new Chicago to Los Angeles highway known as Route 66 was officially opened, passing through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona along the way.

During the 1950s Springfield ranked third behind New York and Hollywood for originating network television shows. Four programs from Springfield were broadcast nationally from 1955 to 1961: Ozark Jubilee, Five Star Jubilee, Talent Varieties and the Eddy Arnold Show.

Today the town is known for its hospitality and educational institutions and with 92 parks and recreational areas; I’m looking forward to getting in some exercise. I’ll give you a run down next week along with the history of Cleveland, OK and the Cimarron land run which I’ll be visiting the following week.

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

Katsy Mullendore Whittenburg

Welcome back. The year was 1893, the event was the Cherokee Strip land run and the location was Kay County, Oklahoma. That’s where the Mullendore family history in land, cattle, banking, oil and dozens of other business ventures really began.
As time goes by we lose people who touched the past and the lady I’m going to tell you about is one of them. This was also a time in Oklahoma when ranching empires were growing. In the largest county in Oklahoma the names Chapman, Barnard, Drummond, Adams and Mullendore were becoming well known and their ranches would be a vital part of feeding the country in 1940.
1940 was also the year that Eugene and Kathleen Mullendore had their second child who they named Katsy. A natural with animals, she grew up keeping every critter known to the ranch as a pet and her father fostered her interest by purchasing exotic animals, some of which had never been seen in Oklahoma. During her younger years she was educated in a one room schoolhouse on the ranch which was also attended by the children of the ranch hands who lived there. Katsy’s grandpa was an Osage Indian chief and with her parents’ influence she grew into a woman with a deep love of her heritage and also a devotion to helping others.
The bond between Gene and Kathleen created a girl who was not only athletic but also beautiful. By the time she met Jim Whittenburg III in 1999 she had traveled the world many times over and accomplished what many would consider a life’s work, raising four children and doing years of charity work. In 1999 she started a new chapter with Jimmie, the man she called the “love of her life.”
That woman’s full name was Katsy Mullendore Whittenburg and her death last week adds to a growing list of wonderful people whom we have lost in the past months. For me and many others, knowing these folks makes the loss of a person you admired especially hard.
Katsy was laid to rest last Saturday on the family’s Crossbell Ranch alongside her parents, her brother and many beloved pets. As you can imagine she will be sorely missed by her family and the many others of us whose lives she touched over the years. Her husband Jimmie, who I also knew, died this past December and friends with their earthly ties now gone I can just imagine them traveling the heavens together.
Into this life one comes and one goes and in that same year 1940, while sitting with New Mexico Sheriff Ed Echols at Walt Coburn’s ranch outside of Tucson, Arizona the King of the Cowboys movie star Tom Mix unknowingly watched his last sunset. The next day the famous cowboy star known around the world crashed his speeding car into a construction zone and was instantly killed. According to Mix’s biographer Paul Mix, his funeral was attended by every star of the era and both kids and adults in his fan clubs mourned for weeks.
Tom was gone but his beloved horse Tony who had traveled everywhere with him and was just as famous, lived another two years. Cared for by a close friend of Tom’s, Tony the Wonder Horse died at the ripe old age of 40 and joined Tom in immortality. If you are a Tom Mix fan, or especially a Tony fan here’s the scoop of the week. On March 11th

at 11AM the Circle Cinema will be showing a film entitled “Just Tony” which stars Tom and Tony at their peak. The historic Circle is located at 10 S. Lewis in Tulsa and friends going there is a top of the line experience from beginning to end and there’s one more thing, it’s free! Yes, thanks to Hughes Lumber and the Tom Mix Museum this March 11th show is free! I understand there will be lots of memorabilia on display as well when Tom and Tony ride again.
As for me, it’s on to Springdale, Arkansas this weekend for another big R&K Gun Show. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….

Note: Gifts in memory of Katsy can be made to Elder Carw 1223 Swan Drive, Bartlesville, OK 74006

On The Road with Footprints in the Dew

This is my schedule for book signings and film screenings in the upcoming weeks. I can’t thank everyone enough for the great support

March 4th & 5th R&K Gun Show Springdale, AR
March 11th & 12th R&K Gun Show Springfield, MO
March 18th Broadway Twin Theater Cleveland, OK (film screening)
March 25th Wagoner Civic Center Wagoner, OK (film screening)
March 30th Grove Public Library Grove, OK (film screening)