Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008
Ooops. Almost forgot. Marshall Trimble weighed in on the recent WWHA convention and I wanted to get this up before the weekend:

The first annual Wild West History Convention was a huge success. The folks in Oklahoma were absolutely wonderful hosts. Among the highlights were Tulsa authors Larry Yadon, with a talk on the outlaw gangs of Tulsa followed by Robert Barr Smith with “Famous, Infamous, and Overrated Oklahoma Outlaws.” Jan Devereaux delivered a fascinating talk with much new information on the notorious Lottie Deno and Bill O’Neal gave his usual informative and colorful lecture on the cow town of Caldwell.

Bob Ernst, Mike Tower, David Turk, Catherine Gray, Dee Cordry, Jim Fulbright, Corey Recko, and Paul Cool all gave excellent and informative presentations on a wide variety of subjects.

One of the evening “Shootout” panels discussed the Battle of Ingalls. Another honored the legendary western author Robert DeArment. Others were on “Wild West Characters” and “Women of the Wild West.” As you can see, there was something for everyone.

The inimitable Dakota Livesay acted as auctioneer on Saturday night raising a couple thousand dollars for the organization.

I missed out on winning the double-barreled shotgun donated by Rosie McBeth. A deck of cards cut in half was used for the drawing. Ticket seller Beverly Mulkins tried to talk me into choosing the Ace of Spades for the drawing but in honor of Showlow, I stubbornly insisted on buying the Deuce of Clubs. A moment later Kevin Mulkins picked the Ace of Spades and won the shotgun.

The Friday field trip included the famous Woolaroc Museum. I was on the ill-fated “Bus No. 3.” We broke down outside the museum and were surrounded by bison but the entire staff came to our rescue. They got in their cars and drove out in a caravan to haul us the rest of the way. Big John Tanner, his wife Karen and I were packed like sardines in the back of a tiny compact car, ( I think it was a Ugo.) Everyone was delivered to Woolaroc in a timely manner.

Later, the air conditioning on Bus No. 3 failed but I reminded our group that “hot weather makes people stick together.”

We arrived in Coffeyville a little behind the other two busses. The good folks at Coffeyville delayed the re-enactment of the Dalton raid on the banks until we arrived. Just as we joined the outdoor event, the heavens opened up and the rain came down for a short time as if to punctuate the dark cloud hovering over Bus No. 3. The next day on the way to the Gilchrise Museum Bus No. 3 sideswiped a tree limb.

Speaking of the Gilcrease, they have a wonderful exhibit on the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch that everyone should see. With its paintings and sculptures by the likes of Catlin, Moran, Miller, Leigh, Remington and Russell, it’s easy to see why the Gilchrise is one of this nation’s finest museums.

Another major highlight was the Saturday evening speaker, Michael Wallis, who gave what can best be described as a riveting talk on the great 101 Ranch. Michael has the best voice this side of Sam Elliott. It was so quiet in that room you could hear a pin drop. Even those annoying cell phones dared not ring while he was speaking. Among his more recent accomplishments is a well-researched book on Billy the Kid and the voice of the sheriff on the movie “Cars.”

I could go on and on about the award-winners, fellowship of the members and hospitality of those Oklahomans but you get the drift. No doubt about it, the new Wild West History Association, with our old friend Bob McCubbin at the helm, came out of the chute with the energy of a young colt in a spring pasture

This convention brought back fond memories of that trip to Oklahoma our “Renegade” group took several years ago when our guide was Glen Shirley. What a treat that was.

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