The 4 StateFarm Show

Welcome back. I recently returned from Pittsburg, Kansas which is the home of Pittsburg State University and was also the home of the Four State Farm Show. Friends, these are the folks who feed us all and I was honored to be invited to be a part of the show. Of course they had all kinds of balers, mowers and rakes but they also had skid steers building and tractors of all kinds and sizes. Metal building contractors were thick and there were several types of generators on display.

The three day show included numerous demonstrations and lots of good food. Although the organizers had me in a booth autographing books, I was able to check out a demonstration of an irrigation system which was quite refreshing in the 108 degree heat.
I soon discovered that this farm show wasn’t just for local farmers. Folks I visited with came from around the country to see the state of the art equipment available for growing food. I’ve also got to say that you would have a hard time finding a friendlier bunch of Americans. Yes, the cattle pens and brush hogs, the roto mixers and the stock trailers are all behind me now in my life but I can’t remember when I’ve spent a more interesting weekend in quite a while.

This was the 44th year for the Farm Show and the vendors and equipment covered twenty-five acres. I’d never heard of the show before and when I got the chance to talk with Lance Markley who is the show coordinator I learned that next year the date of the show will be moved to May 3rd, 4th& 5th to beat the heat. Lance is also the publisher of Farm Talk which is a must read if you farm.
Farm Talk is the main sponsor of the Farm Show and thumbing through it I found more than one thing I needed. Farm Talk isn’t a newspaper, it’s a farmers’ and ranchers’ paper with articles and tips written by experts in these fields. They cover everything from droughts to floods and bugs to fertilizer. If you want to about the grain market or maybe wheat futures, this is your paper. Looking for a seminar on raising cattle or horses? This is where you’ll find one.

Agriculture may not be something the average city dweller thinks about regularly but Farm Talk is definitely an interesting read. The paper is based is Parsons, Kansas and can be a bit hard to find in our area so if you want a copy give ‘em a call at (800) 356-8255.
I thought I’d leave this subject with a few quotes from a Farm Talk column by Mark Parker listing the signs that old age is edging up on you:

‘A young farmer mentions something “going viral” so you suggest he call the vet.”
“In the city you ask a kid if there’s a phone booth nearby and he says “What’s a phone booth?”
“This YouTube thing, it’s something you inflate right?”

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

Welcome back. Now after nearly 80 years, name of the author is almost lost in time but her writing about the life story of one man in particular is still read daily. Her name was Eva Gillhouse and like me, during the writing of my book Footprints in the Dew Eva sat day after day interviewing her subject. Unlike my subject though, Eva’s book would be about a man of the law.

Born on October 26, 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut, his father moved the family to Kansas along the Santa Fe Trail while he was young. It was just after the Civil War and at 8 years old the boy watched as former Confederates, called regulators, shot his father eight times on the front porch of their house killing him. That was in 1868 and although he was still a child after that he became the best shot the soldiers at Fort Gibson had ever seen. You see the boy had been cursed.

“My boy may an old man’s curse rest upon you if you do not try to avenge your father.”

This statement was made to him by his father’s best friend as they laid his dad in the grave. When he got older he moved to Indian Territory and grew to be a man, all the time searching for the men responsible for killing his father.

The man Eva wrote about would become a top cowboy, a scout for the Calvary, an Indian fighter when he had to be and Deputy United States Marshall under Judge Parker, the so-called “hanging judge” in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He brought in cattle rustlers and murders, many slung over their saddles killed when they refused to give up peacefully He had a lightning fast draw and up until the day he died in 1958 at the age of 98 Eva said he never lost his memory or that draw.

You may have guessed the man’s name by now, but if not here’s a couple more clues. In 1923 he gave permission for Oklahoma A&M which nowadays is called Oklahoma State University to use his photograph for the design of the college emblem. The University’s beloved mascot was based on this photograph as well. New Mexico State University and the University of Wyoming also received permission to use his likeness.

This well-known man’s name was Frank Eaton or as he is more commonly known to thousands of college students and graduates, Pistol Pete. And yes, he did catch up with the regulators who had killed his father and lifted the curse.

A Veteran of the Old West: Pistol Pete is hard to find but your Bartlesville Library has a copy. Eva Gillhouse did a wonderful job researching and writing the book even though today she is mostly forgotten like so many of us writers.

Next up Shawnee, Oklahoma where the oldest hamburger chain in the country started and where I will be working at another trade show. The following week I’ll be close to home at the R&K Gun & Knife Show in Tulsa. Before long the college football season will be starting too and once again I have the good fortune to be doing some book signings with Joe “Silver Shows” Washington and rumor has it he’ll be in Bartlesville soon. I’ll let you know.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………….
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The Spirit of Waite Phillips

Welcome back. In his book of epigrams the great Waite Phillips wrote many things one of which was “the only things we keep permanently are those we give away” and Waite gave a lot away. Of course there was land, I’ve written about the Philmont Scout Ranch often. Money, yes, he gave away millions of dollars and even more importantly, by his actions he inspired thousands of others to follow in his footsteps.

This phrase “the only things we keep permanently are those we give away” can apply to small acts of generosity as well as big ones. I learned this two weeks ago when one of G.B. Williams’ heirs brought me a very old photograph of what is now the Rogers State University Building when it was under construction. Some of you may remember that G.B. was one of the leading builders in the area for many years. When the photo was taken only the steel framework of the building had been completed and a large crowd had gathered to watch the building going up. Of course at the time there was no Phillips building or Arvest drive-thru bank. No Weeze’s Café or even paved streets. The photo had been sitting in G.B.’s office for years until his death and then it was stored in a box until it was given to me.

In search of a permanent home for the photo, my first thought was the Bartlesville History Museum although I thought they might already have similar photos in their collection. However when I contacted them they were very excited so I called G.B.’s daughter about the donation and she was all for it. Two days after dropping the photo off at the museum, a letter arrived thanking me profusely as this turned out to be the only photo in existence of an important part of Bartlesville’s history. The photo is not on display yet but if you tell the staff you want to see the item that was recently donated by the G.B. Williams family, they will show it to you. Yes, this is just a small example of putting Waite’s beliefs into action and now the photo is available for all to see. You may also have something laying around in your house that does not mean much to you but would be as good as gold to the History Museum, Woolaroc or the Dewey Hotel.

This epigram of Waite’s was not the only one he believed in and his son Chope remembered he carried a type written list of them in his pocket every day of his life. For fifty years he never went anywhere without that list in his pocket and as Chope said, it must have been important to him. Here are just a few words from a man who led a very successful and useful life and whom I admire and look up to:

“The man who never makes mistakes never makes much of anything.” Waite Phillips

“Greediness, in all its various forms, is one of man’s worst enemies and also the source of many others.” Waite Phillips

“A man only learns in two ways-one is by reading and the other is by association with smarter people.” Will Rogers

“We do our best and most constructive thinking when alone for its only in silence that God speaks to us.” Waite Phillips.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road….
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Fair Meadows Race Track, Tulsa, OK

Welcome back. The horse racing industry here in Oklahoma dates way back to before statehood and while I was in Tulsa this past Thursday to check out the new construction going on at the fairgrounds, I had the opportunity to catch a couple of races. Back in the days when Oklahoma was still known as Indian Territory, horse racing was the number one sport. Yes, according to Oklahoma Historical Society, horse racing was popular among both Native Americans and settlers. Even as recently as 2013, a survey showed that that racing brought in $223 million in revenues for the state and employed 6,400 people. The historical society also noted that at the time there were 14,000 race horses and 800 breeding horses in Oklahoma.

My research showed that the biggest jump in the racing industry took place after World War II when dozens of breeding and training facilities opened here and I didn’t know it but many towns had their own tracks back then. Of course there was no Oklahoma City Thunder, or professional baseball, just horse racing and it was the leading sport for entertainment.

In 1989 Tulsa opened its own horse racing track called Fair Meadows. Ron Shotts who was a well-known running back from the University of Oklahoma became the first racing director there. In the beginning, the horse races were held during the Tulsa State Fair. From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s Fair Meadows was a huge success with attendance averaging around 6,000 people per day. The famous soccer player Charlie Mitchell from the New York City Cosmos, opened a restaurant under the grand stands and live bands played before every race. As you can imagine parking was difficult in those days so shuttles ran back and forth from nearby malls.

The Tulsa Fairgrounds were wild and crazy all the time when the horses were running but all that changed when Indian casino gaming came into existence. Prior to the casinos, the race tracks were the only legal place to gamble but that ended. The crowds shrank and Ron retired but the track remains and friends it is still open every year from June to July, Thursday through Sunday. It’s a place where you can watch some of the finest athletes in the world run and it’s all free. Things are not as wild as they were in 1989 but it’s just as fun and for me being at the races has brought back some great memories. I worked for Ron at the track and lived right there doing security during those first few year of operation and all those stories and more will be coming out in a new book which I hope to publish this fall called “Before the Dew.”

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……………….
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PAWHUSKA, OKLAHOMA AND THE PIONEER WOMAN

Welcome back. Pawhuska, Oklahoma is the home of the Osage tribe and of course Ree Drummond’s Mercantile. I had the opportunity to visit Ree’s place on Friday and friends there is still a long line to get in. Yes, a year and a half after opening there were hundreds of people waiting to get in and they were also shopping at the many new stores that have opened in town. Pawhuska has two new hotels that just opened right downtown as well. Ree opened The Boardinghouse in a building she renovated next to the Mercantile and the landmark Triangle Building has been converted into a hotel. I was told that the Triangle will be run by the same people who operated the famous Mayo Hotel in Tulsa. In addition, Ree has opened a pizza restaurant with a full bar which is a first for Pawhuska and I understand she and her husband Ladd are planning a steak house too.

In Bartlesville the Drummonds have bought several pieces of property including the old Page milk plant that sits across the street from the Schlumberger complex on Frank Phillips Boulevard. The building was abandoned for years but now my sources tell me it’s going to be a bakery. Whatever it is, everyone in Bartlesville should be happy.

The original purpose of my trip to Pawhuska was not to give a report on the Drummond business empire, but rather to visit with the folks who feed us. On June 14th-17th the Osage County Cattlemen were holding their 84th annual convention at the Osage County Fairgrounds. The three day event included a trade show, a dinner and dancing and a tour of area ranches all of which sounded like fun to me. You throw in the 65th Annual Ben Johnson Steer Roping on Sunday and Pawhuska needed a dozen new hotels.

As a fellow who travels year round to a lot of big events though, the main factor drawing me to Pawhuska wasn’t all this but the possible opportunity to say hi to a big time cattleman I thought might be there. When you read his biography I’ve put together, many of you will guess who he is before I’m finished.

Born in Enid in 1931, his grandfather for whom he was named, had settled in Hominy in 1905 where he established the town’s first mercantile. After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1953, the man I’d come to see went on to get an M.B.A. from Stanford in 1957. A U.S. Army Veteran, after his service he came back to Oklahoma where he made a name for himself running the family ranch. The civic organizations and boards he’s served on over the years are too numerous to count. He is a past President of the Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association and a Director of the National Cattleman’s Association. He is also a founding member of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Nature Conversancy and was instrumental in establishing the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
If you haven’t figured out who I’m talking about yet, I’ll end with a quote from him:

“At the Drummond Ranch I am the spare cowboy, bookkeeper, trash hauler and bill payer.”
Yes it,s always great to say hi to Frederick Drummond.

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

Fires Across New Mexico

Welcome back. Regular readers know that I often travel to northern New Mexico or the “Land of Enchantment” as it’s called. Unfortunately as of this writing the precise area where I usually stay in this land of enchantment has been under siege by the Ute Park Fire. Last week the town of Cimarron, New Mexico had to be evacuated but I’m happy to report that the five hundred and forty-five professional firefighters who have been battling this fire with their ten helicopters saved the town.

The fire came within a few blocks of the historic St. James Hotel and from reports part of the fairgrounds were burned but no houses were lost. At last count about forty thousand acres have burned but it is now believed to be seventy-seven percent contained. Waite Phillips’ old ranch, the Express UUBar, has had some damage and sadly Philmont Boy Scout Ranch has had to cancel all of the treks that were planned into the mountains until July 14th. According to their website conditions will be re-evaluated at that time and events at the training center have also been cancelled until further notice.

Local scout master Charles Lewis had been planning to take his troop to Philmont this week and he and I estimate that over six hundred kids a day are missing out on the trip of a lifetime. Yes friends, kids from literally around the world who had been planning a trip to Philmont for years have now had their plans cancelled. It’s a real tragedy for many young people and I can only hope that they will be able to reschedule for another year. The heroic fire crews who have been fighting this fire around the clock deserve another mention and although the fire is still ongoing happily no lives have been lost so far.

I’m moving from one catastrophe to another as dry conditions are just as bad in southwest Colorado, another of my favorite places. Durango is known for its ties to Hollywood from a day that is now long gone as well as for an old train that takes you up the mountain to Silverton- a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Durango is definitely a special place but I’ve just heard from my contacts that dry conditions are taking a toll there as well.

The “416” fire that has been burning in the area has doubled in size due to high winds and over 2,000 home in its path have been evacuated. If conditions don’t improve a lot more property and some important history may be lost.

Be safe and till next time I’ll see ya down the road….
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1967-Continued

Welcome back to Part Two of the 1967 football game between Dewey and Bartlesville. If you missed last week’s article, past issues of the newspaper are available at the Examiner Enterprise office or you can catch up on their website.

The game had been hyped up for weeks; a showdown between two undefeated teams both with players who had college potential. The game was tied up with just minutes to play and the Wildcats had the ball. The defensive play called for George “Junior” Durant, the stud of both teams, to blitz Bartlesville’s quarterback Bill Berryhill. A sophomore quarterback with Junior coming after him; Dewey’s hope was that just maybe Berryhill would fumble or throw an interception and it almost worked. Junior knocked down blockers down like flies and as he was about to sack Berryhill way back for a huge loss, Berryhill passed to his tight end Bill “Alex” Dingman. Unexpectedly, Dingman was wide open without a defensive player anywhere around and the seldom used sophomore player turned and headed for the end zone which was some eighty yards away. Dewey’s star player had flattened Berryhill and now turned his attention to Dingman. Already a state finalist in track even at 15, Junior wasn’t just fast, he was lightening in a bottle and soon he was closing in.

I was standing on the sidelines when first Dingman (with fear written on his face) ran past me and then Junior came by in hot pursuit. Later Dingman said he had never run so fast in his entire life. Yes friends Junior couldn’t catch up with the boy from Bartlesville and the Wildcats won the game on that one play.

Both teams went on to have successful seasons and several players on both sides played college ball. Junior would become a major force in high school sports over the next few years but it all ended there. Although major colleges did come to Dewey to recruit him, the boy wonder who had started playing high school sports at fourteen and who was obviously capable of playing at a higher level, had one big problem he couldn’t outrun. You see he couldn’t read or write. Somehow he had gone from grade school through high school never learning anything except how to write his name but could he play football!

interesting piece of local history about a boy who at one time in our past thrilled hundreds of football fans in Dewey and Bartlesville.
Another type of entertainment came to Bartlesville on Friday when gubernatorial hopeful Mick Cornett came to town. He spoke at Arvest’s Friday Forum and he and host Jim Bohnsack drew quite a crowd .Although I’m not much into politics, Cornett was an interesting guy and I expect we’ll see more candidates coming to town as the elections get closer.

I’ll end this week with another bit of history from 1967. Hulah Lake which in the Osage Indian language means “eagle” was completed in 1951. At the time it was the largest lake in the area and with million dollar hilltop views, Hulah was an immediate hit with campers, boaters and fishermen and in 1967 it was the most popular destination in the area. Today of course there are many more lakes that are easier to get to and Hulah has been mostly forgotten but friends it’s still there and open for business. Check it out, it’s worth the drive just for the scenery.

Thanks for reading and till next time, I’ll see ya down the road……..

The Year Was 1967….

Welcome back. In my travels I’ve had the opportunity to learn about history and also to see history in the making and for your pleasure this week I’m bringing a little bit of both. The year was 1967, the war in Vietnam was in full swing, President Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma gas was running about thirty cents a gallon. In Dewey, the historical old Dewy Hotel had been sitting empty, quietly deteriorating while on Main Street Mary’s Bar was packed six days a week with people coming from miles around to see the charismatic owner Mary Bishop.

Another big draw in the town of Dewey back in 1967 was the high school football team. Led by a coaching staff each of whom would create their own legacy over the years, the head man was Noel Due who held one of the highest winning percentages in the state. All fresh out of college Ken Bruno, Doyle Patterson and Ronnie Harmon rounded out the coaching staff and with plenty of talent the team was going into one of the biggest games of the year undefeated. The group of boys who were playing in the running back positions were mostly sophomores who had been playing together since grade school. Up front on the line, the players were all seniors and they were mean! They didn’t just block you, after the game you felt like you’d been beaten up and it was the same in practice.

Among all this, there was one player who stood out from the rest and his name was George Durant but because he was named after his dad, everyone just called him Junior. At 6’1” and a very muscular 175 pounds, even at 15 years old he was already a man among boys. On September 14, 1967 Dewey was scheduled to play the undefeated College High Wildcats at Bulldogger Stadium. The Wildcats were led by sophomore quarterback Bill Berryhill who after the game would quarterback the team for the next three years.

The hype of a showdown between Dewey and Bartlesville had the stadium packed with people hours before the game which right after the kick-off quickly became a duel between Junior and Berryhill, each setting the tone for their respective teams. Dewey quarterback Roger Woody was another talented kid who had been a two-year starter and along with Robert Walton, Larry Star and Junior they ate up ground for Dewey. But Berryhill’s passing and the strength of Bartlesville’s back field with Bill Patterson and Jon Humble had the game all tied up with just minutes to play. The crowd was going nuts.

A 140 pound 6’2” reserve split end for Dewey who had also hiked the ball on fourth down to the punter, I was standing on the sideline anticipating that the clock would run out. Junior, who was my friend, played both running back and linebacker so he literally never left the field of play. Bartlesville had the ball for maybe a play or two and all our hopes rested on him. If he could get to Berryhill for a sack or maybe a fumble we had a chance.
Next week, who is Bill “Alex” Dingman and the play that won the game along with my pick for a great summer getaway and friends, its close by. I’ll leave you this week with three good things to remember: SunFest, the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show and Dr. Stan Defehr.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road….
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Another Wonderful Event at the Mullendore Crossbell Ranch

Welcome back. The 20th anniversary of Elder Care’s The Good, the Bad & The Barbeque wrapped up Saturday night out at the Crossbell Ranch in perfect weather. The organizers told me that they had sold more tables than ever before and the live auction featuring auctioneer Roger Skelly had the large crowd in a buying frenzy. Since I was there I can tell you that Elder Care had everything from a ski lodge in Angel Fire, New Mexico to a football autographed by Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and friends all the proceeds went to support their programs.

For me this night is always special because of my association with the Mullendore family which dates back to 1965. Among many of my after school jobs, as a youth I cleaned tables at a fancy restaurant on highway 75 between Bartlesville and Dewey called The Embers. Long gone now of course, at the time the place had black waiters dressed in coats and ties each of whom had their own bus boy also somewhat formally dressed in slacks with black jackets and ties. For many years during junior high and high school if I was not playing sports I was busy working there. Over the years I got to know many of the local regulars like Leo Benefiel who owned the service station down the street and the Mullendores who came in almost every week. Always warm and pleasant to me, as many of you may know Gene Mullendore had started the Crossbell with his wife Kathleen and together they had grown it from a mere 160 acres to over 300,000 acres. Before their deaths on any given day Gene, Kathleen, their son E.C. and their daughter Katsy were all liable to come in together. They were a tightknit, loving family that I will always remember. Walking on the land they loved, where by the way, they are all buried now, I can feel their souls and if you think about it each one of them made history. If you missed this year’s party hopefully you can make it to the 21st year event where you might feel some of that Mullendore history.

I have to mention volunteers; Elder Care loves them and so does SUNFEST as dozens of volunteers are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming event. Hard to believe but its SUNFEST’s 36th year of bringing free entertainment to Sooner Park! Even though Richard Johnson and Lenny Baker who were two mainstays of the show have passed away, I’m sure their names will always be associated with the event they both loved. For any readers who have not experienced SUNFEST, there are dozens of craft vendors, music for all tastes and a wide variety of food trucks. Best of all there are plenty of free activities for kids of all ages. Yes, this town party has everything except your lawn chairs and blankets so put June 1st-June 3rd on your calendar.

Don’t forget the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show on June 8th and 9th and you also better make a note for Sunday June 10th when The Fabulous Midlife Crisis Band invades downtown Bartlesville for a free show.

Coming up next on my schedule is a short four hour drive up I-44 past Joplin to Springfield, Missouri. The trip to the largest gun show in the state is part of a story I’m putting together about changes in America’s gun laws. As always I also finding out about interesting people and places in history during my travels.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..
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