By: Pat Reeder | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: July 2015
Dexter Bolin, Will Rogers Memorial Museums Roper (docent) will share frontier days experiences with children during Frontier Days Kid Camp at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. Participants will have a chance for a hayride to see cattle grazing along the banks of Oologah Lake.
Kids can experience life in the 1880s, when Will Rogers was growing up on an Indian Territory family ranch, this summer. Frontier Days Kid Camp at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch will take youngsters back to the days before statehood and to Nov. 4, 1879 when Will was born.
Today, it is a 400-acre living history ranch with a portion of the land owned by the State of Oklahoma and the balance leased from the Army Corps of Engineers. The home was moved from its original site in 1963 when the Corps of Engineers began filling Oologah Lake.
Living conditions are a far cry from the days of Will’s youth, when his mother had no electricity, and no running water.
Hands-on activities from gardening to rope making will be a part of the many events planned during the July 13-15 day camp at the ranch, where Longhorn cattle roam on grassy hills and banks of Oologah Lake, and chickens and goats scatter — and there is the occasional cry of the ranch peacock.
There will be fun learning experiences about life on the frontier, making memories and learning about Oklahoma history. Age-interest level is middle school and younger, but parents and older students will find it entertaining as well as educational.
Activities planned include blacksmith demonstrations, fence building and whitewashing, 1880s period games, nature hikes, cane pole fishing, leather working, gardening, rope making, saddle and tack maintenance and hayrides.
Campers will check in each morning at 8:30 and hike to the various assigned project stations throughout the ranch grounds (appropriate walking shoes a must). Snacks will be provided during the morning. Participants will receive a rope, cowboy hat and bandana at the close of the camp.
Tuesday Study Club, a Claremore women’s group, is a contributing sponsor.
Lunch will be available for purchase on the grounds when camp closes at 12:30 p.m.
Camp cost is $20 each for families who are members of Friends of Will Rogers or $30 for non-members. Registration deadline is June 29. See online enrollment form at willrogers.com/frontier for enrollment details.
Before his death on Aug. 15, 1935 in an Alaska plane crash, Will Rogers was a widely traveled vaudeville and movie star, a renowned trick roper, newspaper columnist and radio personality.
After his death, his wife deeded a portion of the ranch to the state of Oklahoma for a state park.
The Birthplace Ranch, on the banks of Oologah Lake, is at 9501 E. 380 Road, the site of the house where Will Rogers was born, an era correct barn built in 1993 by Amish builders, and a 2,000-foot grass airstrip.
It is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is by donation.
In addition to availability for tours of the house and barn, it is a prominent site for weddings, family gatherings and for educational opportunities.
Improvements underway include expanding RV hookups from eight to 12, fully equipped for electric, water and sewer. Electric output is 30/50/120 amps. Comfort stations with new toilets and sinks have been remodeled.
For RV reservations, call
For more information, contact
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