The Wild West

All a man needs is a good horse….

Welcome back. Campus Corner in Norman on Saturday morning is where I’ll start. I arrived at 8AM and with a 5PM kick-off time I found a parking spot on the street two blocks away which was free! The streets would be closed an hour later and by noon a large crowd was already gathering. As I’ve mentioned I will be at every OU home game this year signing books and getting to hang out with Coach Switzer and Thomas Lott, the great former OU quarterback who went on to play pro ball. These two are continuing their live TV play by play on Campus Corner and I can tell you they are happy to provide free photo opportunities to onlookers. Next up for Barry and Thomas is the OU vs. Iowa game and I hope to see you there.
Sunday found me in the midst of another big crowd in Oklahoma City as day four of the Oklahoma State Fair was going on. They had a big midway with more food vendors and rides than I could count including the largest portable Ferris wheel in North America but that’s not why I was there. Disney on Ice was there with Mickey and all the rest of the Disney cartoon characters and the big Bennett Event Center was open and full of exhibits- and do I mean full. Dozens of people were there shoulder to shoulder selling everything you can dream up but that’s not the story I was after.
You regular readers know that history has always played a big role in my weekly column and one particular exhibit caught my attention; Jim Warlick’s JFK exhibit. This guy owns several gift shops in prominent US cities including one right across the street from the White House and he is well known for his collection of political memorabilia, especially things related to President John F. Kennedy. According to a press release from the fair organizers, his exhibit of real JFK artifacts takes up 15,000 square feet making it one of the largest displays at the fair in recent memory. Yes for history buffs like me this was going to be good but once again that wasn’t the reason I had stayed an extra night in Oklahoma City, getting up at 5 AM. The reason was to watch a horse and wagon competition that started at 9 that morning.
The event was called the North American Six Horse Hitch Classic and the finals took place on Sunday. Twelve final teams consisting of seventy-two horses. Percherons, Belgians and Clydesdales all pulling fancy reproduction wagons, executing maneuvers based on what the old time drivers and horses had to had to do back in the day when horses and wagons delivered the goods people needed around the country. It was all quite amazing to watch and that’s where I’ll start this story about a horse they all called Aulie.
It happened last week. She was the lead horse of the North American Champion Express Ranch team of horses and was called by the owner ‘the smartest horse he ever had.” Coming soon when the owner and driver of the team have recovered from their grief enough to be interviewed its Aulie’s story.

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

had to do back in the day when horses and wagons delivered the goods people needed around the country. It was all quite amazing to watch and that’s where I’ll start this story about a horse they all called Aulie.
It happened last week. She was the lead horse of the North American Champion Express Ranch team of horses and was called by the owner ‘the smartest horse he ever had.” Coming soon when the owner and driver of the team have recovered from their grief enough to be interviewed its Aulie’s story.
Locally, for you sports fans the reunion of the legendary Phillips 66ers happens this weekend, starting with a meet and greet at Arvest’s Friday Forum at the Eastside Branch. An old basketball man myself, I’ll definitely be there.
I’ll also be hanging out with some outlaws Saturday in Dewey where Western Heritage weekend is happening. There’s lots to do starting with breakfast at the Dewey Fairgrounds, my film Footprints in the Dew, The Last Ten Tapes, good food and plenty of shopping. Then Sunday it’s off to Prairie Song for a real Wild West Rodeo. Till then, I’ll see ya down the road….
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Welcome back. The year was 1800 and what later became known as Washington County was occupied by several Indian tribes. Unbeknownst to these people the land they lived on was claimed by Napoleon Bonaparte of France. Yes, in the early years of the land we now know as Bartlesville and Dewey, England, France and Spain at one time all laid claim to. If not for a few turns in history, we all could have been speaking French and the upcoming Western Heritage Days festival coming up next weekend could easily have been very different. Instead of Saturday’s Tom Mix Day when longhorn cattle roam the streets along with re-enactors and live bands play western music while the crowds eat cowboy food, the French version would have changed many things. The Dewy Hotel might have been the Georges IV and Don Tyler Boulevard the Champs Elysees. Instead of Tom Mix it could have been Maurice Chevalier and we would all be eating crepes.

The Wild West Show held at my friends Ken and Marilyn Tate’s fabulous Prairie Song Village might be known as Chanson de la Prairie Or perhaps we wouldn’t even have a Wild West Show with rodeo acts that will be thrilling the crowd on Sunday if France had won our territory.
Luckily for us we speak English and in 1899 Jacob Bartles moved across the Caney River and established the town of Dewey. We are also fortunate to have the many volunteers who put on events like the Western Heritage weekend. Larry Kerns, Cindy Bray, Fawn Lassiter, John Dickson, Nolan Jones and dozens of others have worked hard to brining you this year’s great show. If you haven’t been to Dewey’s main street lately you need to check it out, there are plenty of shops and a visit will be well worth your time. The history of Dewey and the old west will be on display starting Saturday morning with a pancake feed at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Train rides, a parade, re-enactors, food vendors, arts & crafts and a 10AM film showing of Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes at the Heritage Theater will all be part of the first day’s events.

This film my friends is a documentary based on my bestselling book Footprints in the Dew and if you’ve read the book all the characters are in the film. From Sheriff George Wayman to Chub Anderson they will be telling you the story of the most famous unsolved murder in Oklahoma history in their own words. Seating is limited and with all the folks in town for the Dewey all class reunion this same weekend, early arrival is recommended.

The Heritage Theater also has a bar and restaurant and it has become a social gathering place in Dewey. It is so popular that the owner just bought the corner building next to the theater and is expanding. I’ve also heard that a micro-brewery is moving to town as well. Yes, Dewey, Oklahoma will be a great place to be on September 23rd and 24th.

Two days later on Tuesday the 26th I’ll be at another historical place. On April 18, 1929, local mining magnate George L. Coleman opened the magnificent Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma and this place will take your breath away. For tickets and information call the Coleman at (918) 540-2425.

Till next time, au revoir and I’ll see ya down the road……

OU Football on Campus Corner in Norman, OK

Excited to be headed back to Campus Corner for the OU-Tulane Game where I’ll be hanging out with Thomas Lott and Barry Switzer during their broadcast.

Welcome back. Last Saturday was the opening football game for the University of Oklahoma and the Sooners didn’t disappoint their fans. A sold-out stadium meant parking was at a premium and that’s where I’m starting this week’s column. A good spot right next to the stadium where you wouldn’t be blocked in by other cars, where you could just walk a block, jump in your car and drive off cost forty-five dollars. Two to four blocks away there were parking spaces in business lots or in the front yards of private houses for twenty-five dollars. Spaces five to nine blocks away were going for ten dollars and if the Sooners keep winning these prices may go up. Several long-time parking attendants told me that will change if they lose and prices will go down of course.

I had been invited to join past OU quarterback Thomas Lott on Campus Corner which is the place to be for pre-game activities and friends even at 8AM when I got there it was busy. I circled several blocks hoping to find a free parking spot on the street close by but no luck. Then a cop suggested an area five blocks away where I found one and only one.

Thomas and Barry Switzer do a live TV feed and radio show from Campus Corner during the game and this would be my location for selling my book Footprints in the Dew which by the way is about the most famous unsolved murder of an OU student in the history of the school. I am also helping Thomas promote his new book called Getting in the Game and Joe Washington with his memoir the Seven Secrets of the Silver Shoes. Was I busy? Yes, I was but I did find that about thirty minutes before the kick-off Campus Corner clears out. Following tradition, the OU Drum Corps Band started playing right there in front of Thomas, Barry and me. Then they began marching toward the stadium which is only a few blocks away and in unison the crowd followed them. Not hundreds but thousands of people marched past us and it was quite a sight. Just moments before all those people had filled the street around us yelling Boomer Sooner and now it was empty.
It was also time for Thomas and Barry to get to work; TV cameras and big screen TVs were hurriedly set up all in anticipation of the kick-off which was now just minutes away. The two had done this during last season and they knew the drill but it was all new to me. Called “Barry Switzer’s Coaches Cabana” during every home game, they do a play by play not in the stadium but on right Campus Corner and I was right in the middle of it. Throughout the game other people drop by including past players, coaches and even a couple of local celebrities. It’s all quite a deal and that leads me to this week’s scoop. If you want to go to a game but not actually go in the stadium you can join me on Campus Corner with Thomas Lott and Barry Switzer. No ticket needed just bring a lawn chair. When the game starts it’s just you and a couple dozen others watching the game on the big screen and listening to Barry give the play by play ten feet in front of you. You can hear the crowd roaring from the stadium just feet away but you need to be prepared to pick up that lawn chair as soon as the game ends because Campus Corner gets flooded by sea of humanity again.

Fun? You bet and it’s the best people watching place I’ve ever been so grab your walking shoes and join me. The next home game is September 16th when OU plays Tulane.

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