Welcome back. The annual Western Heritage Awards held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City lived up to the tradition of past years with another top of the line event last Friday and Saturday. Here’s a quick rundown: Masters of Ceremonies Katherine Ross and her husband Sam Elliott had the sold-out crowd in the palms of their hands all night as actors Bruce Boxleitner, Buck Taylor, Rex Linn and Barry Corbin all pitched in presenting awards and telling funny stories about working in Hollywood. Musician Michael Martin Murphy was there along with the famous stunt man Dean Smith and a couple dozen more T.V. and film stars, all adding up to quite a night and one which I hope you will be able to attend next April 12th and 13th.
From a museum built to preserve our western heritage to a town that played a major role in the development of the west; Raton, New Mexico was an important stopover along the famous Santa Fe Trail. Then in 1879 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad built a rail line there and the spot that was first discovered by Spaniards trying to cross the Sangre de Christo Mountains became a major town. Located in Colfax County, Raton has seen its share of famous people some good and some bad. Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill and Wyatt Earp are just a few of the colorful characters that came through the area. As the days of the old west came to an end, the town still flourished and in in 1930 Raton got its own movie house. The El Raton Theatre was built by two friends, Dr. L.A. Hubbard and Thomas Murphy who wanted something special and special they got. Designed in the Gothic style, the theater resembles a Spanish castle with turrets, battlements and other embellishments and originally the inside was elaborately decorated with many murals. A real New Mexico treasure since the day it opened, the El Raton is listed on both the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Properties. It is also where my film, Footprints in the Dew, The Last Ten Tapes is making its New Mexico premiere and it is quite a thrill for me. I will also be promoting the book at the Raton Chamber of Commerce Gun and Boat Show so April 26th, 27th and 28th will be a busy time but this is not the only reason I’m traveling to northern New Mexico.
I’m looking for iridium anomaly, a substance which has been found just outside of town. .Scientists say this stuff is all over the place in an area called the K-T boundary and comes from what some believe was a giant meteor that hit the earth 66 million years ago. This is what killed off the dinosaurs and changed the earth we live on. I’ve been told that this remote hole in the ground contains a rock formation like none other and that it is also an area where many strange events have occurred over the years.
Raton is also the home of a band appropriately called “The Fireball” who in 1963 had the mega hit song “Sugar Shack” and later a top ten single “Bottle of Wine”. Maybe I’ll try a little of that iridium anomaly.
I’ll end this week with a reminder about Elder Care’s big fundraiser out at the Mullendore Ranch on May 12th. Tickets and tables are on sale now and from what the committee members tell this is one big party you don’t want to miss!
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..