Eudora, Kansas, Sabetha

(Frank) Today Around Kansas shares the early history of Eudora, Kansas, from the Kaw Indians up to the Civil War. Then we tour Sabetha, located on the eastern edge of Nemaha County, and learn about their best-known and longest running event, the upcoming Northeast Kansas Rodeo. Next enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a look at the talented Kansas sculptor, the late Jim Brothers.

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(Frank Chaffin) Good morning, it’s Wednesday. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb and it’s July. Can you believe it? (Frank) And it’s Around Kansas. (Deb) It’s Around Kansas. (Frank) My ears are still ringing from the 4th. (Deb) It’s July all over Kansas, isn’t it? We’ve got the heat to prove it. It’s the middle of the summer time. (Frank) Oh yes. [Laughs] I saw something on Facebook and it was like flame and its well, it was Kansas in summer. (Deb) Well did you see, they shot a couple of great ones on Facebook? The one going around, it was so hot we installed fans and you’ve got a picture of the windmills. (Frank) [Laughs] yes. (Deb) Then the other one was, I’m not saying it’s hot in Kansas but two hobbits just threw a ring in my backyard [laughter]. Its been hot. (Frank) That’s a good one. (Deb) But we had a really cool spring. So I mean it got cold. Even you know, up into May it got cold at night a couple of times. (Frank) We talked about that it was about the middle of June, end of July we are going to go and wow, yes, what ever happened to all that cool weather. (Deb) It’s gone. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Won’t be back till November, December sometime. (Frank) Yes, so anyway. (Deb) but is it stopping people from getting out and doing things? Nope, no way, rodeo season is in full swing, you’ve got rodeos everywhere. The one in McCracken is coming up this weekend. Of course we will be talking about Sabetha Rodeo. Have you been to a rodeo lately Frank? (Frank) No I have not in a while. (Deb) I can’t believe it. I mean we were at the Wallace rodeo and you know a little bitty town of Wallace. They have wonderful rodeo. And these talented people, oh my gosh and the kids coming up, that’s what gets me. You’ve got kids that are out there barrel racing and stuff and the way they control a horse and the confidence that these kids have when they’re riding. It’s amazing. It’s something. (Frank) Well then after the rodeos then the county fairs will start and then— (Deb) Yes. (Frank) All over sudden we’re into fall. (Deb) Yes, we love them county fair, my new home county. (Frank) Another year will be gone. [Laughs]. (Deb) Another year will be gone. The Logan County Fair is coming up soon. Yes it will be this month and they’ve got just like Oberlin, has their own rides. You know they actually own the rides and stuff so they maintain them. (Frank) Well you know and that’s it. People out of Kansas maybe have the idea that what goes on in Kansas and it’s like a whole lot. I mean every month, there’s something, there are activities everywhere. Because the small towns have all kinds of festivals and food and they are rather well let’s say eclectic because there are so many, I mean we’ve got Russians and Germans and Italians and Swedes. (Deb) Well you’re right there. The ethnic communities and I was talking with a guy in Oakley the other day, and he was talking about the black community that was north of Scott City. So you had all the Exodusters coming in, you had those little communities with their own particular flavor from the south. That community had come from Kentucky and settled, so they bring their own social customs, food like you said and–. (Frank) And Native American Pow Wows, I mean that’s–. (Deb) Yes the Pow Wow season is upon us. (Frank) So yes, there’s a lot going on in Kansas, it keeps us busy. So anyway, we will be back.

(Frank) And we are back again. Hey question [laughs] when you were a kid, did you play a game called red light, green light? (Deb) Yes we did. (Frank) You know because you were supposed to run with somebody. (Deb) Yes. (Frank) Red light near brown and then you freeze. (Deb) Yes. (Frank) Into a statue. And the reason I did that is to be a Segway into statues. There are a lot of statutes now in Topeka and in Kansas. (Deb) That was brilliant Frank. (Frank) Wasn’t that cool? (Deb) Yes it was. (Frank) Red light, green light. (Deb) That was brilliant yes somebody should be put Frank in bronze, yes that’s [laughter] playing red light, green light. They could do a whole series if you. My friend Tom Ross does paintings; he did one of Willie Mays catching a ball. So it’s got four, so each one is in motion, you know like this, so yes. (Frank) Say, Hey Willie, caught the ball down here like a basket. (Deb) Yes. (Frank). Thanks, so cool. He came running and catch it down here. Say hey Willie. (Deb) We’ve got another subject for you. So yes, speaking of statuary, we’ve got them going up all over Topeka. They’re magnificent. We’ve already got the Ichabod Crane up and the others will be coming up, I just was visiting with Scott Gales this morning talking about sort of a timeline on getting the others up. So come see Topeka. It’s going to be gorgeous. But all over Kansas in all these little towns, like one of the first one that comes to mind is McPherson, you know with their magnificent equestrian statue of General McPherson that’s on the courthouse, it’s just beautiful. But the little town that we are going talk about right now, Eudora has a really beautiful and unique statue. Did you know Eudora was actually a little girl’s name? (Frank) No, I did not until you told me about that and it’s really interesting. (Deb) It’s a wonderful story and the statue just tells the story. And we are going to have a couple of segments today that feature the artist Jim Brothers who was a native Topekan but then he moved to Lawrence. And just a wonderful sculptor and a wonderful man. And this one in Eudora might be my favorite actually. He’s done some magnificent stuff. But this one in Eudora of that little girl and her dad is just, there’s just something. If that doesn’t grab your heartstrings, you’ve got no heart. It’s magnificent. Let’s take a look at how that little town got named for that little girl. The Kaw lived along the rivers in eastern Kansas, and what would become Douglas County was no exception. The Kaw were forcibly removed in order for the federal government to make room for the Shawnee Indian tribe. The Shawnees occupied this land until 1854 when, again, the government forcibly removed tribes to the Indian Nations or present day Oklahoma. A Shawnee Chief named Pascal Fish owned most of the land in the area and sold it to a German emigrant group in 1857. The Germans named their new community Eudora after Chief Fish’s daughter. The Oregon and Santa Fe Trails passed by just a few miles south of Eudora. Countless travelers to the Western United States passed through this region from the 1840s through the 1860s. Eudora witnessed significant conflict during Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War. Eudora strongly supported the Union, and many of its men enlisted in the Union Army. When William Quantrill led his Missouri guerrillas to destroy Lawrence in 1863, they stopped just south of Eudora. Quantrill enlisted the help of a young German boy to keep him on the main route of the California Road since in the dark it was difficult to tell if you were on the main road or one of the many detours carved by travelers. Eudora residents attempted to warn Lawrence of Quantrill’s proximity, but did not make it in time to warn the town. After the Civil War, relative stability finally arrived to the region. Eudora developed tremendously in the late 19th century and grew into a self-sustaining community and today is a picturesque, thriving town of just over six thousand residents. Eudora’s namesake and her father have been immortalized in a bronze statue in the middle of town. The child hugging her father was done by renowned sculptor, the late Jim Brothers, whose studio was in Lawrence.

(Deb) So we are back and Ron Wilson gave you a week off Frank. That was nice of him. (Frank) [Laughs] Yes. You know because we call him our Poet Lariat and people say, You do know that’s laureate? No, no. (Deb) No, no. (Frank) He’s out Poet Lariat. (Deb) Because he’s special. (Frank) He does cowboy poems. (Deb) He does poems and does them really well. We are so thrilled to have him with us. He’s such a nice man; I was teasing him down at the Western Music Association meeting when I was a guest speaker, and Ron was there and we were talking about things. He was just sitting with the group. So I head to the podium and I’m like, Why won’t you be my Facebook friend Ron? And of course you don’t know how to work it, he’s like most of my friends who live in the 19th century, he doesn’t know how to work Facebook. So I think I embarrassed him pretty good. He was, I told him how much he hurt my feelings and everything. He’s my Facebook friend now. And send Ron a friend request, let’s see how long it takes him to respond. (Frank) Yes. And I am going to completely well kind of change the subject and that is, there are a lot of songs about a lot of towns. Is there one about Sabetha that you are aware of? It’s like; I rode my horse to Sabetha… (Deb) I don’t know. (Frank) …to the Rodeo. (Deb) That’s a good start though. (Frank) There we go. (Deb) That’s a great one. Ron those are your first couple of lines. Now you just take that and go with it. So let’s visit Ron and the little town of Sabetha. (Ron) If you haven’t ever been to Sabetha, now is the time to jump in your car and head to the eastern edge of Nemaha County. The community of Sabetha has so much to offer residents and visitors. Citywide events bring plenty of opportunities for fun almost every month of the year, including the Annual Ride Across Kansas; Spring and Fall Garage Sales; the Twister Car Show in June; 4th of July Fireworks; Albany Days and the Highway 36 Treasure Hunt in September; Halloween Trick-or-Treat on Main Street, Christmas Window Opening Friday evening after Thanksgiving and Breakfast with Santa in December! But the best-known and longest running local event is the Northeast Kansas Rodeo! Not many small communities in Kansas can boast that they have held an annual rodeo for the past 60 years, but Sabetha has the honor of being one that can! This year on Saturday July 16th and Sunday July 17th, Sabetha will celebrate the 61st Annual Northeast Kansas Rodeo. This two-night Rodeo offers a wide range of events for cowboys and girls including Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, Team Roping, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding and Break-A-Way Roping…in all over forty Calf Roping events! Plus everyone’s favorite – Bull Riding! And the rodeo clowns and pickup men and women really put on a great show that is entertaining and appropriate for the whole family! The Rodeo kicks off on July 16th with the Annual Chamber of Commerce Rodeo Parade. This fun event brings young and old alike to the Historic Main Street to see horses, floats and parade riders with candy and goodies for everyone. The kids start off this parade with their own Bike Parade, and the children who participate receive a free ticket to the rodeo from the Sabetha Kiwanis Club. On Saturday July 16 the rodeo events start at 8PM and on Sunday July 17th they start at 7PM. Admission at the Gate is $8 for adults; $6 for kids 4 to 12 and children under 3 are free. Tickets to the rodeo will go on sale beginning July 1. For information about where to purchase tickets, or how to participate in the Rodeo Parade, contact the Sabetha Chamber of Commerce at Visitors are invited to attend the Rodeo both days. Sabetha has plenty of food and lodging for your family; an Historic Downtown to explore; one of the best 9-hole golf courses in the state; two major lakes for fishing, skiing and other water sports plus Somerset Park, a wonderful new ballpark that is also home to the Sabetha Lobos, a Summer Collegiate team. Many people and area businesses have come together over the years to make the Annual Northeast Kansas Rodeo a hugely successful event. Those 61 years hold many memories and traditions for rodeo goers. Start making memories for your family this July 16th and 17th. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss it!

(Ron) One of the great summer traditions and fun things to do in the summer time in Kansas is rodeo. This salute is to bullfighters and barrelmen. When you go down to the rodeo, there’s folks you see as part of the show. They’re a vital part of the rodeo’s plan. I speak of the bullfighters and the barrelmen. They wear a painted smile and a floppy hat, suspenders and goofy pants with that. Their humor makes you smile. It’s not deadpan, those funny looking bullfighters and the barrelmen. But when it’s time for the roughstock events, it’s them down inside the arena fence. If a rider’s hung up or a cowboy’s in a jam, he’ll get saved by the bullfighters and the barrelmen. Those bullfighters put their lives on the line to buy a downed cowboy some precious time. They’re praised by the cowboys and loved by the fans, those professional bullfighters and the barrelmen. Comedian and athlete rolled into one, to help the cowboys as part of the fun. If they can’t dodge a bull, then no one can. I speak of the bullfighters and the barrelmen. So let’s salute this brave hero who displays his skills at the rodeo. Thanks for protecting cowboys since rodeo began. Those brave bullfighters and the barrelmen. Happy Trails.

(Frank) We are back again. Well we seem to be talking about a lot of statues today, and we’ve got a lot of them and a lot of new ones going up too. (Deb) Well I had the privilege of speaking in June at the dedication of the newest statue in Gage Park here in Topeka, and that’s Homage. So that is a war memorial and it’s a statue of a soldier, it is magnificent, done by Jim Brothers. When I arrived, I had actually been in Smith Center that morning for filming a Home on the Range documentary. I got up at the crack of dawn to be in Topeka in time to speak to this. When I arrived, I was blown way because everything was already in place. It was overwhelming Frank. It was all I could do to keep my composure. Then you’ve got the pipe and drums from the police department, you’ve got the marshal band and you’ve got all these veterans there. The man who introduced me that day was John Musgrave and if you go back in our archives you’ll find the interview I did with John at the Combat Air Museum when the Vietnam Wall was visiting, the Travelling Wall. John is a hero in every sense of the word and I was really humbled to be introduced by him and to share the podium with him and Chaplin Reyes Rodriguez who was also a veteran and it was just wonderful. You’ve got to go to Gage Park and see this newest statue. You were talking about the Eagle there. (Frank) No, the Eagle that’s there. It used be over by 6th Street. Well, 6th Street at one time was Highway 40 and Highway 40 was the victory highway, which was in honor of World War One Veterans. It got moved over to what has now become a veteran’s memorial in Gage Park at 10th and Gage. (Deb) That little corner over the park right there at 10th and Gage is where the Homage statue was dedicated and so there are bricks honoring some of the veterans and it’s just beautiful. It’s a beautiful setting; it’s really appropriate right there. Guilford Gage, for whom the park is named, was a Civil War veteran himself. He served in the Battle of the Blue and was captured there. The monument at Topeka Cemetery of the soldier is one that he personally bought and paid for to honor his comrades in the Battle of the Blue so Gage Park is a really fitting place for this memorial. When you come to Topeka or if you already live here or live in the vicinity, this is something you’ve got to bring your kids to see. It’s really beautiful. Let’s talk a little bit about the artist that created this, Jim Brothers. Jim Brothers passed away in 2013. But if a man can achieve immortality through his work, surely Jim is immortal. Perhaps Jim is best known for two projects — creating a sculpture of Dwight Eisenhower that’s on display at the Capitol in Washington and as the chief sculptor for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. The small Virginia town lost more men per capita than any in the nation during World War II, and the sculpture contains twelve monumental bronzes. He did figures of Mark Twain and of John Brown as a Jayhawk. Some of his figures stepped from the pages of history; others he imagined. Paul Dorrell who represented Jim’s art, told a reporter, I saw that Jim had an ability to communicate raw emotion in bronze that I had never encountered in a regional artist. Kathy, his wife and manager, said he was a professional until the end and completed his last work only days before his death, and commented on how hard he researched to know his subjects. Viet Nam Vet John Musgrave became his friend, called him brother. When Jim’s work, Homage, a bronze of a soldier, was dedicated in Topeka’s Gage Park, John spoke admiringly of his friend and his friend’s work. Jim’s talent extended to music and he was a founding member of the Alferd Packer Memorial Band. The unconventional group took their name from the legendary western cannibal. Jim’s legacy is profound, beautiful and communicates the soul of Kansas to the world. Yes, surely he is immortal.

(Frank) Well, we’ve got to go again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere… (Both) Around Kansas.

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