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….

Continue reading

A Famous Unsolved Murder

Welcome back. As the 49th anniversary of the most famous unsolved murder in the southwest approaches for those of you too young to remember here is a summary of the events that occurred on September 26, 1970. According to the information I dug up at the library, the Mullendore’s Cross…

Continue reading

Auctions-Old and New

Welcome back. Estate sale, yard sale, auction: in my travels I see a lot of these signs at this ti me of year and when I’m not pressed to get someplace, I’ll often stop and explore what they have to oandfdfer. Locally Wayne Vineyard whom I recently mentioned runs all…

Continue reading

Ben Johnson Museum Pawhuska

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…

Continue reading

Ranches in Osage County, Oklahoma

Welcome back. This weekend Tulsa will host the world’s largest gun show and of course I will be there. The following weekend I’ll be in Oklahoma City for the annual Western Heritage Award ceremonies at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. If deep down inside you’re a cowboy this event…

Continue reading

Special Events

Welcome back. Volunteers are the backbone of most of the events in our community and as I travel around the country I find that this is true everywhere. From schools events and parades to a wide range of fundraising events, volunteer support is key to the success of these programs….

Continue reading

Springfield, MO

Welcome back. Coffeyville, Kansas, a town whose history has always interested me, was the place to be last Friday and Saturday. Yes, as I wrote about last week it was the location for the big Inter-State Farm and Home Show which is becoming an annual event and with good weather…

Continue reading

Welcome back. Traveling up and down, the highways of America, bringing back the stories I find along the way, I am wearing out cars or as we called them in the old days, horses. From last week’s PBR bull riding event in Oklahoma City, I headed east on I-40 to Shawnee. After the Civil War several Indian tribes were relocated to this area and the Sac-Fox, Shawnee, Kickapoo and Pottawatomie still have their tribal headquarter here. The development of the town began with a major cattle trail used by drovers bringing cattle from Texas. With the cattle came the railroads and by 1877 with settlers and trading posts everywhere, Shawnee was born. In 1910 Oklahoma Baptist University opened its doors and much later the Sonic Corporation was founded here was well. After more research I learned that Shawnee is also a big farming community where cotton and peaches are both big crops. Today the town is divided in two between the newer part that sits along I-40 and the historic downtown. The Shawnee Expo Center where I hung my hat for two days is in the newer section but if you visit you will definitely want to see old town for a trip back in time to Indian Territory. From Shawnee, a town of thirty-one thousand residents, this weekend I will be going on to Lawton with a population of ninety-four thousand and growing. I’m sure many of you know that Lawton is home to Fort Sill which was established back in 1869. After it was completed the fort quickly became an important base for military operations. Six cavalry regiments and a bunch of early frontier scouts with names that everyone recognizes led the way. Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok and the 10th Cavalry, who were also called buffalo soldiers, all stayed at Fort Sill and played a major role in settling the west. The 10th Cavalry was led by Henry O. Flipper who was the first black man to graduate from West Point. In 1894 the famous Apache warrior Geronimo was captured and housed outside of the fort along with three hundred and forty members of his tribe. Geronimo died at Fort Sill in 1909 and is buried in the cemetery there along with another famous Indian leader Quanah Parker. Fort Sill’s important role in aviation began in 1917 when an airfield was built housing the first Balloon Squadron that was stationed there. During World War I balloon squadrons were sent to Europe where they were used to observe enemy activities. As an aviation base the fort continues to play a role in the protection of our country today. There are three museums in Lawton which are a great resource for local history. The Museum of the Great Plains is all about the early days of the town and its settlements. The Fort Sill Museum is a must see as well and sits right where the original fort was. The Comanche National Museum is of course all about the Comanche tribe, past and present. Numerous prominent people have come from Lawton including the late Comanche code talker Charlie Chibity, the famous actress Joan Crawford and NBA basketball great Stacy King. If you’re heading to southwestern Oklahoma or looking for a place for a long weekend, check out Lawton. Before I go here’s this week’s scoop and a couple of dates you might want to put on your calendar, April 12th and 13th. If you are a Kevin Costner fan here’s your chance to meet him at the 59th Annual Western Heritage Awards which are held very year at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. Call them for all the info. I’ll be bringing you more about the awards. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….. #

Continue reading
Read More Articles →