Welcome back. Breaking news and long overdue is the announcement of a new museum in Pawhuska but friends this time it has little to do with Ree Drummond. Born on June 13, 1918 in Foraker, Oklahoma this man who the museum is dedicated to grew up on what is now the Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve but back then it was the Chapman Barnard Ranch and it was huge! It is said that he could ride and rope by the age of four and in Pawhuska where his dad was well known, most people just called him “son.” Millionaire film maker Howard Hughes first noticed “son’s” skills in 1940 when he hired him to bring a load of horses to Hollywood to make the film Outlaw. Hughes gave “son” more work taking care of the horses and that led to doing stunt work for the stars of Hughes’ films. John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea, James Stewart and Henry Fonda all called on “son” to do their stunts and double for them riding horses. In 1953 this man who often came back to visit the place he called home set the world record for professional calf roping, also winning the world championship in team roping along the way. By this time in his life he was acting as well, co-starring with the biggest box office stars of the day and even starring in his own pictures. His first starring role in Mighty Joe Young was filmed the same year “son” and John Wayne were in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and they went on to make many other movies together. Dozens of film and T.V. roles came his way along with numerous awards and then in 1971 he won the biggest award of all for his performance in The Last Picture Show. This man had done something no other person has accomplished before, winning both an Oskar and a world rodeo championship. Yes, by now I hope most of you know I’m talking about Ben “son” Johnson, Jr. He is in the Western Heritage Center and Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and he also has a star on the famous “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood. In his later years, in addition to supporting everything he could in Pawhuska, Ben worked to raise money on a national level for many causes including disadvantaged and disabled children, cancer research and the fight against cystic fibrosis. Ben died on April 8, 1996 while visiting his mom and it was a day when family, friends and fans from Pawhuska to Hollywood all cried. Now you know why this museum is long overdue. I hope you are wondering when and where is the Grand Opening so here’s your answer: June 12-15th from 9AM-6PM each day. The museum is located at 201 East 6th Street which is right around the corner from the Pioneer Woamn’s Mercantile. I also heard that the actor Buck Henry of Gunsmoke fame and several other old Hollywood friends will be around town during this period. As for me, I’m bound for Haskell, Texas for the Wild Horse Prairie Days which is a huge sanctioned ranch rodeo and I’m told by the organizers that all the top ranch teams from around the country will there . I’ll tell you all about it next week. Till then, I’ll see ya down the road….
June 21, 2019 Leave a comment