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Monday, April 24, 2006 ISSUE #406

Weekly Comments: Wild West returns to Oklahoma

#406, April 24, 2006

CLAREMORE, Okla.: I came to Oklahoma looking for cheap gasoline, and word must have got out about the visit because in the last couple of weeks they raised the price thirty cents. So stay where you are; it sho' don't pay to drive 500 miles to save a nickel.

The President must have read my little joke last week about Frank Phillips saying the oil men were going to Washington to draw up a code of ethics. This week he's appointing a commission to look into the oil pricing scheme. He wants them to investigate why every time a new car is sold in Shanghai, gas goes up ten cents in Tulsa. It's like a riddle: China buys more cars, gas prices go up; Americans buy fewer cars, and gas prices still go up.

Whether the Toyota is bought in Beijing or Baltimore, it's paid for with American dollars. Only difference is China pays for it in cash.

During the Great Depression, I made a comment in a 1931 radio address that gets quoted fairly often, "We'll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile." Today, you might go in your automobile, but if you can't afford gas you'll have to get somebody to push it.  (More below)

The Daily Progress  (Claremore) wrote a front page feature Tuesday, Apr. 25. It don't exactly rank with The Second Coming, but some folks thought it was. Click on: http://claremoreprogress.com/archive/article25813
Did I tell you this has been my favorite newspaper for over a hundred years?

The main reason I came to Claremore, along with over 300 other folks, was for the "Will Rogers Wild West International Expo Convention-Competition". It may not be the biggest gathering ever held in Oklahoma but it is the longest named. About 30 states were represented, and several countries. Trick roping, trick riding, gun spinning, knife throwing, mounted shooting, and whip cracking were major draws. Ben Hughes of Tasmania, Australia, won the whip cracking, Doug Smith of Ohio won the Texas Skip, and Charles Keyes of Wisconsin set a new record for the biggest loop with 107 feet of rope. There were plenty of the old masters present to compete and help teach the youngsters. I'll tell you more about other competitions next week, along with solutions to the fuel supply and Claremore's problem with railroad grade crossings.

I also wanted to try my hand at rain-making. This part of the country is in a 5-year drought equal to the one in the early 1930s that led to the Dust Bowl. The only reason you don't see dust blowing to the East Coast is they have learned to not plow up the land like they used to. And there's more land planted in grass for cattle.

Lakes and ponds are low, some are dry. If you're wondering if I brought any rain, no, just a light shower today. Maybe enough to fill a few mud puddles and give the grass a slight boost, but no relief to the farmer.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"They sent the Indians to Oklahoma. They had a treaty that said, "You shall have this land as long as grass grows and water flows." It looked like a good treaty, and it was till they struck oil. Then the Government took it away from us again. They said "The treaty only refers to Water and Grass; it don't say anything about oil." WA #267, Feb. 5, 1928

"Now they have moved the Indians [again] and they settled the whole thing by putting them on land where the grass won't grow and the water won't flow." Radio, April 27, 1930

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