Marty’s family ties to Will Rogers

In the early years of life, as a youngster, I heard my family tell many amazing stories about the 101 Ranch. Some of those stories were told by my great grandmother Delia McSpadden. She was Will Rogers cousin and often referred to him as “Willie”. I was always thrilled to listen to the stories about Col. Zack Miller and his famous 101 Ranch and how grandfather would ride a horse to work, on the ranch. Of all the times she met coisin Will her favorite story was, the one when she met up with him in Ponca City, Okla., for the unveiling of the Pioneer Woman Statue in 1930.  After the ceremony, she and the rest of the family, went to a picnic together. She recalled how Will absolutely loved the pickled watermelon they were serving, and ate enough to sink a ship. When Will visited he was never able to stay very long because of his busy schedule. Over the years she received many letters from Will, telling all about his adventures. She would keep these in her dresser tied up in a blue, silk ribbon. On certain occasions we would all gather around her as she would open the letters up ever so gently and read a few lines to us grand kids.

During these special moments is when I first started to relish the thought of becoming a wild west performer and trick roper. I drew upon these exciting stories and it created in me an urge to follow in Will Rogers footsteps…. And so I did…..

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