Welcome back. There are several big events coming up and one of them is held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. I have been covering The Western Heritage Awards for the past eight years and it has become one of my favorite weekends of the year as I always meet an interesting group of people there. This year the awards will be held on April 13th and 14th and it’s not too late to get tickets. How would you like to hang out with your favorite western film and T.V. stars and be entertained by the cowboy singers and poets who will be on hand? Friday, which is the more casual of the two nights, is really cool as all the celebrities are there and everyone comes decked out in their finest western duds and jewelry. Saturday night is strictly black tie and usually sells out quickly. It’s all great fun and you have the choice of attending both nights and just one.
Coming up a little closer to home is Elder Care’s big fundraiser, The Good, The Bad & The Barbeque which will held out at the Mullendore Cross Bell Ranch on Saturday May 12th. I understand that tickets will go on sale April 6th and reserved tables of eight are also available which is what I recommend. This year is the 20th anniversary for the Barbeque and Elder Care is bringing in a great band of renowned musicians including the band leader who I know personally and who is known around the world for his musical talent. It should be a night to remember and I hope to see you there as well.
As for me, I’m currently traveling up north for a few days working on a story that again relates to death. However that’s only one side of the story, there’s also fame, money, love, adventure and of course, history. What would Coffeyville and Cherryvale, Kansas along with Nowata, Oklahoma have to do with it? Well, what I can tell you is that at one time long ago these communities were all connected by an electric railroad based in Parsons, Kansas.
The Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroads along with the Kansas City and Pacific railroads and the Memphis, Kansas and Colorado railroads also had major hubs in Parsons. Yes, Parsons which was founded in 1870 was a booming railroad town that even had its own railroad hospital. The railroad was king until 1980 when ownership of the lines changed. Thanks to the citizens the railroad hospital got turned into the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center encompassing 43 buildings and hundreds of employees which helped with jobs. During World War II the large Kansas Ammunitions plant was built to support the war effort and that also helped with unemployment but the railroad system that once took people and supplies around the country is no more. Through it all Parsons has done well and a museum in town tells the story of Parsons and the railroad magnates who built the community which is a must see for sure.
In addition to its rich history Parsons also offers a lot of outdoor activities with three lakes in the area. Big Hill Lake to the west, Lake Parsons to the northwest and the Neosho State fishing lake all attract visitors for fishing and even more just to enjoy the countryside in southeast Kansas.
I found Parsons also has its share of notable residents including Walter Davidson, the co-founder of Harley Davidson Motor Company, George Pepperdine, the founder of Western Auto and Pepperdine University and many others.
For now I have to leave you but if you can’t make the trip I’ll be bringing you more on Parsons and what I’m doing in the area soon.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………….