NOT A BAD SEAT in the grandstands for the 101 Ranch Rodeo this
year. The diagram shows the three sections on each side of the north
end pulled in, shortening the arena by about one-third. Spectators
will have a clear view of the stock as it comes out of the chutes
and much of the action, especially in the calf roping and steer
wrestling, will be in the arena right in front of them. Ten more
boxes have been added to each side, making it possible for more
persons to have these "on the ground where the action is" seats.
SPECTACULAR, EXCITING, COLORFUL CELEBRATION SET
memorable days in Ponca City will celebrate the diamond anniversary
of the opening of the Cherokee Strip on September 16, 1893.
There will be a Gunsmoke Spectacular – three performances of the 101
Ranch Rodeo – two five-mile-long parades – western dances – street
carnival – square dancing on the street – selection of a rodeo queen
– beard judging.
The two historic events will be the
rededication of the Pioneer Woman Statue and the unveiling of the
six-cent Cherokee Strip commemorative stamp, both on the anniversary
date, Monday, September 16.
Few of the courageous,
visionary men and women who made the run and settled on the prairie
to carve out new homes for them and their families are still living
But the re-dedication of the Pioneer Woman
Statue will honor their memory and pay tribute to their children and
On April 28, 1930, the world-famous
statue was dedicated by the late Will Rogers. September 16, it will
be rededicated by Will Rogers Jr., who was here with his father more
than 38 years ago.
Rogers will be introduced by his
cousin, Clem McSpadden of Claremore, president pro tempore of the
Oklahoma Senate and a director of the Rodeo Cowboys Association, who
also will announce the 101 Ranch Rodeo.
W. Marvin Watson, postmaster general of the United
States, will come to Ponca City for the unveiling ceremonies. The
stamps will not be ready for first-day sale, but a large replica in
full color will be shown to the public.
Actual first day of issue will be October 15. Postal authorities
estimate that one million of the 120 million issued will be sold in
Ponca City that day.
This is only the fifth time a commemorative stamp
has been issued in Oklahoma.
To initiate the
celebration will be the Gunsmoke Spectacular Friday, September 13, in the Hutchins Memorial auditorium. Milburn Stone and
Ken Curtis, Doc and Festus of the television show “Gunsmoke,” which
has long been in one of the tip spots in popularity ratings, will be
Both men had careers as entertainers before
they became known for their creation of the characters of Doc and
Festus. Doc was on the vaudeville stage at one time, later going
into motion pictures. Festus was a featured singer with the Tommy
Each summer the two actors take to the road,
appearing at rodeos and fairs all over the nation.
They also will be seen in character at each of the
three performances of the rodeo.
Joining them for the
spectacular only will be the Frontiersmen and Joanie, the No. 1
entertaining western vocal group in the nation today.
The seven young horsewomen seeking the queen’s title will ride the
No. 1 Quarter Horse pattern Friday at 4 p.m. in the rodeo arena.
public is invited to watch them and to cheer their favorite. There
is no charge for this event.
The rodeo parade at 2 p.m. Saturday will commemorate
the days of the miller Brothers and the fabulous 101 Ranch.
On days when there was to be a performance of the
world renowned 101 Ranch Wild West Show, people streamed into town,
more than doubling the population of Ponca City.
They lined Grand Avenue, packed several deep; tops
of buildings became grandstands and every window was filled with
faces to watch the parade before going to the show grounds.
Under the big tent or out in the arena, the crowds would become
restless until the colors ushered in the grand entry of all those
who would appear in the show.
For rodeo today, it is
the grand entry in which professional cowboys ride, clown, queen
contestants, past queens, men and women who made the trail rides
across country with the chuck wagons and outriders and others
serpentine in the arena.
Then the excitement, the
tense seconds when cowboys are aboard the broncs which have nothing
but meanness in their bones, or the Brahma bulls, which do not
hesitate to turn and trample or gore a rider they have thrown.
It takes only eight seconds to make a ride, but at
times eight seconds is much too long.
Timed events –
calf roping and steer wrestling – are wildly cheered, with cheers
sometimes ending in sharply indrawn breath and a groan as calf or
steer gets away from the cowboy.
The anniversary day will see not only the
re-dedication of the Pioneer Woman Statue and the unveiling of the
commemorative stamp, but also the Cherokee Strip parade at 2:30 p.m.
with Will Rogers Jr. as honorary parade marshal.
The final performance of the rodeo will be a 8 o’clock that evening,
before which the many and varied types of beards will be judged,
owner of the best one to receive $50 in cash.
GRANDDAUGHTER OF COL. ZACK MILLER TO LEAD RODEO PARADE ON SATURDAY
Leading the 101 Ranch Rodeo parade Saturday at 2 p.m. will be the
granddaughter of one of the famous Miller Brothers of the 101 Ranch
– Col. Zack T. Miller – and a world champion in her own right.
She is Jimmie Gibbs of Valley Mills, Tex., who will drive all night
Friday to arrive in time for the parade. She is head cheerleader of
her high school and cannot leave until after the first football game
of the season.
As she goes down Grand Avenue she will be mounted on the $7,000
jeweled saddle used by her grandfather in the days of the 101 Ranch
Wild West Shows, which toured the United States and Europe.
Jimmie also will be riding in the grand entry at each rodeo
performance. If her horse is in condition to do so, she will enter
the barrel race, which she won here in 1964.
“Doc” & “Festus” of Gunsmoke Series Due for Celebration
Frontiersmen, Joanie Coming Also September 13-16 Milburn Stone (Doc) and Ken Curtis (Festus), of Gun Smoke fame, were
the stars of the two-hour spectacular on stage of the Hutchins
Memorial stage. Appearing with them were be the Frontiers men and
Joanie, America's No. 1 entertaining western vocal group.
"Your and our signatures in the places provided herein below shall
constitute this a binding agreement between us."
The signatures were those of Milburn Stone and Ken Curtis, the "Doc'
and "Festus" of "Gunsmoke" television fame, and Bethel Freeman Jr.,
president of the 101 Ranch Rodeo Foundation.
The "binding agreement" is for the appearance of Doc and Festus,
together with the Frontiersmen and Joanie, popular stars of
television, movies, lounges, rodeos, hotels, fairs and records,
during the diamond anniversary of the last Great Run.
The stars and singing group were seen in a concert performance
Friday, September 13. Rodeo performances were on Saturday night,
September 14, Sunday afternoon and on Monday night, September 16,
the anniversary date of the opening of the Cherokee Strip.
The 75th anniversary was planned to "out celebrate" any celebration
ever held in Ponca City or the surrounding territory. It was going
to be a festival and was going to have the jubilant atmosphere of a
It was to be a fun, fun, fun time if planners and workers have their
way, according to plans made at the meeting of the Cherokee Strip
Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.
The plans covered many activities, but only at the 75th Cherokee
Strip Celebration will persons in this area be' able to see the
characters of Doc and Festus.
The contract stated that they would not make any appearances within
a 150-mile radius of Ponca City for 30 days prior to the date of the
In addition, this will be first time the popular team has made four
performances away from the home studios in California.
In order to make this possible, special scheduling of the filming of
"Gunsmoke" was necessary. James Arness, who plays Matt Dillion, has
agreed to shoot the scenes in which he appears alone on the Friday
and Monday that Doc and Festus are in Ponca City.
As a rule, filming is Monday through Friday with all actors present.
The contract with Stone' and Curtis-Doc and Festus stipulates that
the final performance on Monday, September 16 will commence not
later than 8:30 p.m., in order that they may leave Ponca City
en-route to California for the filming of “Gunsmoke” on Tuesday by
charter flight at approximately 9:30.
RECORD NUMBER OF NATION’S TOP COWBOYS COMPETE IN 1968 RODEO
The best cowboys, the best stock – the largest crowd made the 101
Ranch Rodeo for 1968 the most successful ever staged in Ponca City.
One hundred eighty-nine cowboys and barrel racers from all parts of
the country gathered to try for their share of the $8,305 prize
There were more of the nations top 15 cowboys
in each event – and all-around – than have appeared here in all
previous years put together. When the cowboys in the top 20 are
included the number jumps higher.
For the first time
at a 101 Ranch Rodeo, a trophy was given for all-around cowboy. It
was the Guy Shultz memorial, established by his widow this year. It
will be a yearly award and remain in possession of the winner. A
trust fund has been set up to assure its perpetuation.
No contestant qualified in two or more events, so the all-around
went to Sandy Kirby of Cowtown, N.J. , one of the comparatively few
cowboys from the East to be successful in rodeo. Scoring 76 for his
successful ride, he becomes the first recipient of the Guy Schultz
Memorial trophy and took home $646.80.
Bob Mayo of Grinnell, Iowa, with his crowd-pleasing style of leaning
back and “sunning his moccasins,” scored 70 Monday night to take
home $486.80 in bareback bronc. Third in national standings last
year, Bob is now in second place.
of Andrew, Tex., again walked off with top money in bareback riding
as he did last year on the Elra Beutler and Son stock.
Times were extremely close in calf roping, with less than a second
dividing the top and sixth place winners. Barry Burk, Duncan, fourth
in national standings and Junior Garrison, Marlow, in ninth, split
first and second money with their 11.3 ties. Take home was $530.33
Billy Hale, Checotah, sixth in steer wrestling, won that event and
$590.73. His time was 6.5.
In girls’ barrel racing,
Sue Roberts, Tulsa, marked 16.9 for $164. The second and third place
was a tie with 17.0, while fourth place winner was just another
tenth of a second off the pace set by Sue.
Ranch Rodeo was not only marked by exceptionally good stock, and top
cowboys, but with the most responsive crowds and the best acts ever
Ken Curtis, as Festus Haggen of
Gunsmoke, with the Frontiersmen and Joanie, was a crowd pleaser,
with both young and old. As he left by chartered plane immediately
after his act Monday night, the lights in the arena were turned off
and his plane caught in the spots.
Though rushed to
make connections in Kansas City, Curtis took time to ride around the
arena and shake hands with all the children that were eagerly
waiting for him.
The Buffalo act of Jerry Olson, clown, was termed
the finest and most difficult job of training he had ever seen by
Buck Brown, himself and animal trainer of national reputation.
Buck LeGrand, veteran clown, had an entirely new act, which
demonstrated the “horse sense” of Oklahoma Silver.
STANDING ROOM ONLY AT RODEO It was standing room only as over
8,000 persons streamed into the 101 Ranch Rodeo grounds Saturday
night to watch some of the toughest cowboys pit their know-how
against some of Buetler Bros. Wildest stock for a chance at $8,305
in prize money.
The purse, largest in the history of
the 101 Ranch Rodeo, will be up for grabs by 189 cowboys and barrel
racers entered in the seventh annual event.
events have more than $2,000 to be divided – calf roping and steer
wrestling. Six monies will be paid in each event.
Because of the large number of entries there will be only go-round
in each event except saddle bronc, in which there will be two
Reigning over the seventh annual rodeo is Miss Janie
Roby, Ponca City, who was crowned prior to the rodeo’s opening
performance. Miss Roby of Ponca City received a hand-tooled saddle
from Mr. And Mrs. Forrest Miles of Grace Memorial Chapel. She was
also presented with a tiara, an engraved trophy buckle and the
traditional red roses. A golden winner’s collar was presented to her
horse, Blaze. Miss Roby was sponsored by the Pioneer National Bank.
The new queen also won the ticket-selling contest, with sales of
927. First runner-up was Sue Thorpe, sponsored by Pink Paddock
Beauty Salon. Second runner-up was Nancy Hatfield, who was also
voted Miss Congeniality. Her sponsor was the 101 Ranch Trail Riders.
In bareback riding Saturday night only one cowboy scored. Denny
Wingate of Reedville, Ga. Made a 62. Wingate is the only cowboy from
Georgia who has ever qualified for the National Finals Rodeo.
Bob Williams of Ponca City will have a re-ride if he wishes. The
horse he was riding slipped and fell on his leg, and Williams’s left
the arena limping.
Jim Elam of Enid was taken to Ponca City Hospital by ambulance in an
unconscious state after being thrown over his horse’s head. Elam
appeared to turn a cartwheel before landing against a post of the
fence around the arena. Later, Elam returned to the arena and
reported he had only had the breath knocked out of him.
C.R. Boucher, NFR contestant and world champion in steer wrestling,
and his student, Donnie Bowles, both of Burkburnett, Tex., tied at
7.8 seconds in throwing their steers.
McReynolds of Andrew, Tex., made a 71 ride in saddle bronc riding
with John McBeth, Atlanta, Kan., NFR contestant, second with a 64.
Kurley Hebb of Far River, Kan., the only other cowboy from that
state to ever qualify for NFR saddle bronc, scored 60 on his ride.
Junior Garrison, 1966 world champion calf roper,
threw and tied his calf in 11.3 seconds He is currently in the lead
for the national Finals Rodeo title in calf roping.
The crowd roared its approval of Festus, Marshal
Dillon’s sidekick on the television show of Gunsmoke, when he
performed at the arena Saturday night. Ken Curtis entertained fans
with his singing, jokes and Festus characterization. He’ll star
again in rodeo performances today at 2:30 p.m. and the final
performance Monday at 8 p.m.
One of the most unusual events ever seen in the 101
Ranch Rodeo arena was that of Jerry Olsen, bullfighter, and his
trained buffalo. The buffalo, which performed by verbal command
only, climbed up a ramp to the top of a panel truck and on the work
from Olsen promptly laid down.
After the rodeo officially completed its night’s
schedule of events, 29 other men were to compete in calf roping,
steer wrestling and bull riding. The after-show events were
necessary to accommodate the large number of contestants entered in
the rodeo this year.