(Frank) Wow – there was so much to see and do at this year’s Kansas Sampler Festival that we thought – Hey, we haven’t shown you everything yet! So sit back, relax, and let’s take a look at some more of what was going on this year at Kansas Sampler.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas, and another good friend, Jim Gray, has joined us here, “The Cowboy” from the cowboy town of Ellsworth. And Jim has a fantastic project going, one that I am really excited about and that is the Drover’s Hall of Fame and Museum and Jim this is a fantastic project, kudos to you guys for getting this off the ground. So, tell us about what that is and what it means to Kansas history. (Jim) Everyone knows the story of the cattle drives like Rowdy Yates and those guys coming up the trail
and rollin, rollin ya know? (Deb) Rollin, rollin. (Jim) So, the National Drovers Hall of Fame was developed to feature the whole history of the cattle driver and the beef industry itself and how that all developed from the cattle trails out of Texas all the way to Montana and Canada and east into Missouri and west to California and all over the place. (Deb) So, Kansas literally is smack dab in the middle of this. (Jim) We’re right in the middle of it. (Deb) Right in the middle of it. (Jim) We are really the reason that the Texans were able to spread that cattle industry all over the country because we had available to us, right after the Civil War, the first railroads that were reaching out across the country. (Deb) Right.
(Jim) And that gave them the opportunity to drive those cattle to those shipping points, Abilene and Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City and be able to ship those cattle on back east. (Deb) Well, what a big piece of Kansas agriculture, Kansas economy. I mean it’s such a big piece of the story and of course the national economy and agriculture as well. So, how can people get involved with supporting the Drover’s Hall of Fame and Museum? (Jim) Well, we have… the location is in Ellsworth. (Deb) Right, as it should be. (Jim) And you can get a hold of us, we have a website which is the drovershalloffame.com. (Deb) OK. (Jim) And I’m not too sure… (Deb) Go to Ellsworth, find Jim walking down the street. (Jim) Yeah the contacts, do a little search on us, you can find us. (Deb) Tell us real quick about your paper. (Jim) I also for years, starting in 1996, I started putting out a paper called The Kansas Cowboy and that was to promote and preserve the cowboy history of Kansas. It is one of those things, I talked to an old rancher at the time, and he was under the impression nobody cared about this stuff anymore. (Deb) This is fantastic. (Jim) And the stories were being lost. Over time. It’s expanded to the western history of Kansas, but it still has a main focus on that cowboy history. And that’s what led to the Drover’s Hall of Fame because I had a great interest in those old Texas Drovers. My Great Grandfather worked for one of them. And I had an uncle that worked for one. Those guys, their stories, everyone of them…I started doing stories on individual drovers and their stories are the great American novel. And everyone of them is different and yet so full, so fantastic. (Deb) I must renew my subscription before we leave. I’m coming to see you to do that. (Jim) The Kansas Cowboy, that’s right. (Deb) Thanks Jim, it’s good to see you. (Jim) All right, thank you. (Deb) We’ll be right
back. (Frank) As you know Kansas has been known as the Air Capital for a long time and part of it started in Topeka, with the Longren Aircraft Company. And tell us little bit about the company, tell us a little bit about this aircraft. (John) The Longren…A.K. Longren, he was from Leonardville. He was working in Topeka at the time and I think he was in the National Guard or something, anyway, he guarded this air show thing that Curtis was up
here and so he made a plane like what Curtis was flying and that was the first plane in Kansas in 1911. And so he gets credit for the first plane built and flown in Kansas. And then he basically built a different airplane every year and barnstormed around Missouri and Kansas and Oklahoma mostly, I don’t know about Colorado. He was an excellent engineer. This plane is really way ahead of its time with the folding wings. They didn’t pick up and do that for… you can get a home built now with the folding wings, but I can put three of these in the hangar that you can put a Cessna in. It makes so much sense. But then the folding bi-plane is pretty unusual. The two placed side-by-side is really unusual for that, for 1920. They were all front to back. (Frank) Now let me ask you, this plane actually is flyable
but you say it’s going to go to a museum. (John) It is flyable. It was
designed… I did a lot, a lot of research and stuff to design it and
whatever so it is flyable. I was taxiing it, getting ready to fly it then I learned that the museum in Wichita wants it. They have a Laird-Swallow there, down there, which is another plane of the same era and at that time they had fly ins, or demonstrations all over the country and brought in huge, huge crowds because it was such a novelty. And the Laird-Swallow and the Longren were always one and two in the their competition or whatever and so they want this one to have with their Laird-Swallow. Now mind the Laird- Swallow that they have, they had actual blue prints, which I didn’t
have. I had to do all this from photographs. And make my own blue prints.
But then about eight years ago this fellow, I don’t remember his name right now, came and took a whole bunch of pictures and dimensions and gave him what blue prints I had… a lot of my blue prints are on toilet paper, they don’t amount to nothing. But I gave him everything that I had. He went home and built this fantastic replica of a replica, I guess you would call it.
(Frank) You’ve got somebody who wants to look at the plane, so we’re going to go explore some more Around Kansas. (John) All right, alright. Good talking to you by golly and looking forward to your presentation.(Deb) Back to the Kansas Sampler Festival where I am visiting with Matt Deighton and ironically this won’t be airing on May 4, but today that we’re doing the interview is May 4, seven years to the day of the Greensburg tornado. And Matt is the author of this book, Molly and the Tornado, and Matt this is about your personal experience just go ahead and tell us about that. (Matt) There are three things that I came out with at ten o’clock at night. And I told people I woke up on May 4, not expecting to be at a book signing at the Kansas Sampler Festival. But that is the path that has happened. I came out with three things at about ten minutes after ten on
that Friday night. I had my Mom, my dog, and the clothes on my back. And I became the volunteer coordinator after the tornado and Molly went to work with me everyday. She was not shell shocked. (Deb) This is Molly. (Matt) This is Molly… and I took the position with the requirement that my dog went to work with me. And she met and greeted over 14,000 volunteers from all over the country and from around the world. And I just felt it was right. I know that if Molly could talk that I would probably be in jail, and I asked her, “What’s it going to take?” And she kind of told me something
about a book, so I said, “OK, let’s write a kids book.” And so Molly and the Tornado was written here a little over a year ago. It came out in September, this last year…13… 2013 and the book’s just done wonderful.
I never expected the book to grow as fast. We just sent 100 and some books to the City of Tuscaloosa. They read the book on their third year anniversary to the kids that had a lot of loss in Tuscaloosa. (Deb) Right, so this has connected you to people who have experienced similar losses and really been a comfort to a lot of people who have gone through similar tragedy. (Matt) I wrote the book so that it is not…it is not a religious book. It is all about how you pay it forward. It is written with nondenominational. There are about four hidden messages in there. Being a crossover book, when you read it to your Grandkids you get the message at the same time they do and that’s what kind of makes you get the message.
(Deb) Sure, yeah. (Matt) But it’s how you pay it forward in life. (Deb) Now, you still live in Greensburg. (Matt) I still live in Greensburg. Molly passed away on December the 9th this last year. We were doing a school visit in Moore, Oklahoma, and Molly got to visit with the surviving class of the classmates that lost seven, just three days before she passed away. (Deb) Wow. And your Mom? (Matt) My Mom passed away a year ago in August and… but Molly has just been nominated as Pet of the Year by the Kansas Veterinarian Association and it’s just like her legacy is growing. (Deb) Isn’t that amazing? (Matt) And we’re writing a series of Molly dog books.
(Deb) That is great. What a wonderful… just a great story to come out of that incredible tragedy and of course Greensburg has just built back like…(Matt) We’ve built back. We’ve done real well down there. We have people from disasters from all over the country and all over the world that come and look at our template of success. (Deb) That is amazing. Kudos. Thank you so much. (Matt) Thank you very much. (Deb) And how do folks get the book? (Matt) mollydogbooks.com. (Deb) All right. (Matt) They can find us
on Facebook, just never say never. (Deb) Never say never. Thank you so much Matt. (Matt) Thank you very much. (Deb) We’ll be right back.
(Frank) We’re still at the Kansas Sampler over in Wamego. Now you may want to know that the Sampler will be here this year and it will be here next year. But we have a very interesting exhibit now and this is Bryan and he is with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Tourism now.
(Bryan) That’s right. (Frank) Tell us about this contraption behind us. What it is and what it takes to carry it around the state? (Bryan) Well this is our mobile aquarium. We originally purchased it about five or six years ago from the Missouri Department of Conservation and it was built in the 1980s, out of Oregon. And it’s a 3,200 gallon aquarium and right now we have about 20 species of fish in there. And all the fish can be caught in Kansas and all are native to Kansas except for the common carp. And the fish were collected from Tuttle Creek and Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake #2 all in the Manhattan area and they’re housed at the Milford Hatchery.
And the tank when it’s completely full weighs about 40,000 pounds. (Frank) So how do you carry this around the state, I mean what kind of conveyance do you use? (Bryan) Well, at the end here is covered in our skirt, but it’s a fifth wheel, so we take a big truck and basically we haul it in one unit.
And we haul it dry, all the fish are taken out and the water is drained and when we set it up at a location we use the fire hydrant and we use city water and the water is chlorinated so we have to add a dechlorinating agent to the water. But once we do that, the fish are ready to be hauled from the Milford Hatchery and then placed into the tank. (Frank) So you are visiting all the way from Pratt. (Bryan) That’s right. (Frank) Welcome to northeast
Kansas. (Bryan) Well thank you, I appreciate it. (Frank) We’ll be back.
(Deb) You know the great thing about the Kansas Festival, it’s just like a family reunion. You get to visit with so many old friends and it’s hard to get together on a regular basis. So, it was a great fortune of mine to run into Dave Zerfas and Dave it’s great to be with you. (Dave) It is. (Deb) And Dave is the claims, the moniker or the minstrel of the plains and I think that’s absolutely appropriate. He takes Kansas history and puts it into lyrics and music like nobody. (Dave) Thank you. (Deb)Fantastic job.
Fantastic job. Dave talk about…we were just saying that one of your
favorite songs is the one you wrote about the Benders, about Katie Bender.
How did you take the story of the bloody Benders and turn it into such a beautiful piece of music? (Dave) Well, there is a tradition for murder ballads… (Deb) Yeah, there is. (Dave) …in old time music. And there was a neat little book out by an attorney that defended a woman accused of being Kate Bender and her Ma. And he had accounts of all the neighbors, descriptions of the Benders and a neat little wood cut that is in the Kansas Historical Society of somebody sitting at table and Paul Bender is behind the curtain… (Deb) Right. (Dave) …with a hammer and you just, you know it just starts to ferment and… (Deb) Ferment in your mind, I mean that doesn’t happen in the minds of other people. But it’s a wonderful
ballad. It’s just a hauntingly, beautiful ballad. Good job. (Dave) Well
thanks. Those chords on the guitar are some of my favorite guitar chords you know. (Deb) Really nice. OK another one of my favorite songs that you did of course is about Romanose . And nobody but you, that I am aware of has taken Romanose’ stories and put that to music. And he of course is Northern Cheyenne… Who was the terror of the plains for the white settlers. (Dave) Absolutely and the fighting backbone for the Cheyenne as well. (Deb) Right. (Dave) He rode with the Dog Soldiers. He wasn’t part of the Dog Soldier Warriors Society but he was the fighting leader and an amazing character. (Deb) Amazing character. And like you were saying, he
wasn’t a chief, he was just a natural leader, I guess. (Dave) Yeah, a war leader. The Army was always upset that Romanose wouldn’t show up when they were talking to the Chiefs. It wasn’t his job to… more of the misunderstanding between the two sides… (Deb) Right. (Dave)…they would never come to accommodation. And that’s the tragedy of it all too. (Deb) So, where did you grow up? (Dave) Well, I grew up over here in the Manhattan area. I had some relatives in Trego and Ellis county and there was some Smokey Hill trail that ran through some pastures that my uncle had, BOD marker out there and as a youngster, I never quite understood it and then as we got into this history and started traveling around… that door opened up, I was near that all the time as a youngster, just didn’t
know. (Deb) And man, once that door opened, you can’t close it can you? (Dave) No, I want to live there. (Deb) No kidding, now if people want to find your music you said the one CD you can’t get that anymore, but can you download some of the music? (Dave) We could. You can email me and I could send something to somebody. (Deb) It’s worth it, whatever you’ve got to go to. I would loan you mine but I’m sorry, no way. (Dave) I am hoping to have some printed by…I am going to be at the Meatloaf Festival in Paxico…
(Deb) OK. (Dave) …in June and I am hoping to have some ready by then.
(Deb) Oh wonderful, great. Good deal. (Dave) Come have some meatloaf and buy a CD. (Deb) All right. Dave thanks so much. (Dave) Thank you Deb. (Deb) It’s been great. (Dave) We first met at a Sampler Festival. (Deb) We did, we did. At a Sampler Festival, that’s right, we’ve got everything. And we were so pleased to be a part of it. See you next time on Around Kansas.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.