Welcome back. With three weeks to go before I head to the New Mexico Badlands in search of UFOs, Pawhuska and the big-budget movies made there still catch my eye. I guess it has yours too, so let’s get started.
As part of the 75th annual Cavalcade – the largest amateur rodeo event in the world – Saturday’s parade descends from Kihikah to the Oklahoma 60 with more than 200 horses coming to a close. Rodeo teams from the region joined more than a dozen Holy Landers in their little car, western wagon, cavalry queen and her entourage, more horses, clowns and more horses. marvelous! Famed magician Richard Heinrich performed as a special treat for Ree Drummond fans, as her son Bryce Drummond and six teammates from the University of North Texas signed autographs and posed for pictures on the street.
Meanwhile, in the city center, I found another one that caught my eye more. In boots and pants, this guy shows what you’d expect from an old cowboy with a face like someone who’s been working out all his life. He also wears a nice grey felt western hat and when I look at him I know this guy has a story.
After learning his name, I did some research and found out that this gentleman is the son of Frederick Alexander Drummond who is a direct descendant of Roy Cecil or R.C. Drummond, as he was called. Friends, this old boy sitting outside in the sun enjoying all the intricacies is a walking link to learn about the history of the area. I’d like to learn more about him, and I’m lucky to have a Drummond family history book in my library.
His name was Charles Robert Drummond, and he was born on March 12, 1943 at Pawhuska Hospital. He spent his first five years on the family ranch 11 miles outside town, where he learned to ride and walk. Farming and raising cattle became his way of life, but aside from his family, horses and hunting were his hobbies. I found out that “Chuck”, as he was known, was active in the Boy Scouts as a child and eventually became a Boy Scout. He also played football in high school and was his senior president. He attended Oklahoma State University, where he majored in agricultural economics, but always spent weekends at the ranch in Pawhuska, where horses and a girl named Nan Olsen played an important role in his life.
Chuck and Nan were married on August 17, 1964, and their first son, Todd, was born in September 1965. Chuck started his career as a rancher and his life consisted of long hours of hard work. The young couple faced many challenges, including ice storms, pests and fluctuating cattle prices, but they persevered and expanded the cattle business from 150 cows purchased from Chuck’s grandfather to thousands. Timothy was born in July 1967, followed in January 1968 by their third son and future pioneering female husband Rad.
The cattle industry continued its cycle of ups and downs in the 1970s, when President Nixon’s price freeze on prepared beef drove many ranchers out of business. Despite these obstacles, Chuck and his family held on to their ranch and continued to grow.
His life is fascinating and Chuck is always willing to share some of his stories. So keep your eyes open the next time you’re in Pawhuska; you never know when history is on your side.