Firearms, roping and the Wild West featured next in ´True Grit' programs

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / March 17, 2015) ––Next week, the “One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads True Grit” series will explore history in depth during a program on firearms and one on roping. The programs are part of the library’s series celebrating the classic Western novel written by Charles Portis.

On Sunday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m., the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History will present “Gun That Won the West.” David Kennedy from the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid will discuss the firearms that were used during the time period when “True Grit” took place.

billy the kidOne of the firearms included in the presentation is the infamous Winchester ’73. This firearm was the favored weapon of Old West giants like Jesse James and “Billy the Kid.” In fact, the one known authentic image of “Billy the Kid” is a tintype showing the outlaw leaning on his ’73 Winchester rifle.

In more recent news, the Winchester ’73 made headlines when a park employee at Nevada’s Great Basin National Park came across one of the rifles leaning against a juniper tree. The internet was abuzz with speculation on how the weathered firearm ended up there. Was it just forgotten by a roaming cowboy? Could it have been abandoned by an owner who had met his death on the trail? Kennedy will fill us in on the details about this firearm and many others.

As the Curator of Collections, Kennedy’s responsibilities have included care of collections, exhibit design and fabrication, and technology management - for both exhibits and infrastructure.

Prior to his move to Oklahoma, Kennedy was the Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (2003-2009). Having received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1998, Kennedy received his Master of Arts in History from Montana State University (MSU) in 2000.

He is the author of “Guns of the Wild West: A Photographic Tour of the Guns that Shaped our Country’s History” and the content adviser for Katherine Brevard's “The Story of Guns: How They Changed the World,” a book on firearms for a middle school audience.

After the presentation, participants are invited to tour the museum’s exhibition, “Notorious Payne County,” which examines the outlaw activity in this area before statehood.

The next day, Monday, March 23, Marty Tipton, a.k.a., The Oklahoma Kid, will be visiting the Stillwater Public Library. The after-school program, which begins at 4 p.m., includes trick roping and a fascinating look at Wild West history that is geared to children and families.

tokThe Kid has been roping for 30 years and was trained at the 101 Ranch where many famous performers got their start. He will be performing some of the hardest roping tricks in the world including the “Texas Skip,” the “Wedding Ring,” and the “Butterfly.” Children will also learn about the Old West, including the history of Wild West show characters like Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill and the story behind the 101 Ranch.

For more information about the Oklahoma Kid, visit www.theoklahomakid.com.

Both “Gun That Won the West” and “The Oklahoma Kid” are free and open to the public. Both programs will include an American Sign Language interpreter.

Anyone planning to attend the “Western Writers’ Colloquium” on March 28, should sign-up now, as registration is closing soon. To sign-up go to http://library.stillwater.org/wwc.php. The program, featuring four top Oklahoma western writers and historians, includes a $10 fee for lunch.

For more info about our True Grit series, visit the library’s webpage or call (405) 372-3633.

“One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads True Grit” is a community reading series sponsored by the library, OSU library and the Sheerar Museum. It is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.).