The Year in Review…….

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2016! I’ll be back on the road soon and will be posting my book signing schedule for January.

Welcome back.  An end of the year wrap-up of my weekly columns has become something of a tradition for me and as it is the last week of the year, here we go.

I was there in Alva, Oklahoma where Chiefs Dull Knife and Lone Wolf made their last stand and the Cheyenne lost their last chance at freedom.

In Centennial, Colorado I lived on media row for several weeks during the trial of now convicted movie theater mass murderer James Holmes. I made many great connections there as I did in Stephenville, Texas where I attended the trial of Eddie Ray Routh who was convicted of killing American Sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

I’ve taken you to some of my favorite spots in New Mexico including Waite Phillip’s Philmont Scout Ranch and his beloved UUBar Ranch. I also and told you about visited Taos, Red River, Angel Fire and Albuquerque.

One of the highlights in Kansas that I wrote about is Kansas City but during the past months I have had the chance to profile many of the smaller communities in that state that are similar to many small towns across our country.

A trip to San Antonio, Texas brought a story about the old Spanish mission called the Alamo which is visited by 25 million people a year. Just two hours west of the Alamo is Fredericksburg, Texas which was founded by German immigrants and still retains much of that heritage today. I told you that Fredericksburg is the site of the South Pacific War Museum and is the birthplace of Admiral Nimitz.   Well known Bartian from the 1960s Al Dingman and his wife Sue live in this area which is not far from the LBJ Ranch which I also wrote about during this trip.

I made several trips to the East Coast in 2015 sending back stories about New York City and the Woodstock, New York area where a wonderful museum preserves the legacy of peace and love from 60s era Woodstock Music Festival.

My column isn’t just about travel and through the year I have written about many interesting people with ties to Oklahoma including Kenny Fox who was king of the beer business at one time. There was also Gordon William Lillie, or Pawnee Bill as he came to be known and most recently performer Michael Martin Murphy. I have also had the opportunity to visit with civic and business leaders such as Governor Mary Fallin, Vice Governor Todd Lamb, Bob Funk and T. Boone Pickens.

Every year I go to dozens of fundraisers both here and around the country. I have written about the big events at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on several occasions as well as Elder Care’s The Big, The Bad & The Barbeque out at the Mullendore Ranch. Other events that come to mind include Bowl for Kids’ Sake, All That Jazz and Woolaroc’s Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion and these are just a few of the many events supporting worthy causes in our community.

Several people who have touched my life died in 2015, some of them more well-known than others. Both John Kane and Harry Woods were recognized business leaders and philanthropists and I first met them both as a young boy at the old downtown YMCA. I met Harry’s son Craig at the same place and later served with him on the Y Board. Some of you will remember that Craig died young and I wrote about him in one of my early columns. Don Boatman who was the Director of the Y when Craig and I were boys also recently passed away. Don worked with Dick Kane, Walter Allison, Derry Ebert and a handful of others to put the financing together for the present Y building.

As always over the past year I have written several stories recognizing the dedicated volunteers who support our area museums and make our many festivals and fundraisers possible. I have also covered the lives of several bad guys including the ones involved in the famous Lufthansa heist and the solving of the murder of E.C. Mullendore III. All of these stories can be found on my website and hard copies can be picked at the offices of the Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise. All in all it’s been quite a year and I hope you had a good one as well. Thanks for your support and till next year I’ll see ya down the road…..