Welcome back. Deer Creek Station; back in 1887 it was just a railroad maintenance stop for the Southern Kansas Railway until the land run and a Kansas investor changed all that. Today Deer Creek Station, Oklahoma is one of the state’s premiere tourist destinations and during my three day visit last weekend I learned why.
If I could let me tell you a little about this town and why I was in the area. City parks; there’s 13 of them here as well as a handful of lakes. There are six museums including the Drugstore, the Oklahoma Territory, a big sports museum and three others I didn’t have time for. Things to do here are unlimited, from touring the historic downtown with its fantastic architecture and thriving mom and pop businesses to listening to great live music which seems to be everywhere. This is the home of the famous fiddle player Byron Berline, a guy who has played with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Bill Monroe and he has the contacts to bring in the best bluegrass musicians in the world during the several music festivals that are held here every year. Byron also puts on concerts regularly at his own theater downtown which folks tell me is a must attend and you never know who might show up to play with him. The equally famous Pollard Theater is nearby and the list of renowned actors who got their start there would fill my whole column.
If you like rodeo Deer Creek has that covered too and that’s the reason I came to town. The Lazy E Arena and the International Pro Rodeo Association have become partners and the finals which just wrapped up this past Sunday was held for the first time not in Oklahoma City but right here in Deer Creek at the Lazy E and friends they drew a huge crowd. Four shows in three days at the most famous rodeo arena in the country, it’s a match that should have happened years ago. If you haven’t heard of the Lazy E or the I.P.R.A. here’s little history about both of them.
After fifty years in the rodeo business the I.P.R.A. has produced more pros in this sport than any other association and judging from the attendance at the shows it’s plain it is still going strong in what many call the toughest sport on dirt.
The Lazy E has quite a history of its own. The facility was developed by E.K. Gaylord II and opened in December 1984. Gaylord eventually sold the arena to an investment group and in October 2013 that group sold the property to the McKinney family from Midland, Texas. The family is dedicated to maintaining the Lazy E as a world leader in the presentation of western entertainment and they have spent millions keeping it up to date. Over forty major events are held there every year including livestock sales and concerts as well as rodeo competitions. By now you may have guessed the identify of this town which was once called Deer Creek Station but was renamed in honor of that business man from Kansas City who had a vision of what the little railroad stop could be. His name was John Guthrie and he lived just long enough to attend the renaming ceremony.
If you haven’t been to this historic town put it on your list for a visit. I guarantee you’ll be just as impressed as I was. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road… #