Will Rogers Days

The birthday celebration is set for November 2 through 4.

By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2007

Second-grade students from Oologah Elementary School sing at the Will Rogers Birthday Party in 2006.

Organized by the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Will Rogers Days is set for November 2 through 4. The annual celebration marks the birth of the famous Oklahoman. According to Steve Gragert, museum director, Oklahomans have been celebrating Will Rogers’ birth every year since the museum’s opening in 1937. This year’s event has many activities scheduled at various venues in the area.

The 128th birthday celebration will begin Friday, November 2, with the 9 a.m. opening ceremonies. Approximately 120 second-grade students will sing a variety of songs, including the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, and guests can share in a giant cake. Other activities scheduled for the morning include performances by Dr. Doug Watson, who will portray Rogers, and champion trick roper Kalvin “Kowboy Kal” Cook from Apache. The opening ceremony will take place at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, located at 9501 E. 380 Road in Oologah.

Other Friday morning activities include a dedication ceremony to acknowledge the rebuilding of the white picket fence that surrounds Roger’s home birthplace. “In many photos of Will during his youth, you see him standing in front of that white picket fence,” says Gragert.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, the Cherokee Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club will pay tribute to Will Rogers with a formal ceremony in the museum rotunda. A wreath will be placed at his tomb, and a reception will be held afterwards. “It is the oldest women’s organization in Oklahoma,” says Gragert about the Cherokee Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club. “It was organized before Oklahoma was even a state. Rogers was a part of that group, along with several other young men. The group considered him a member, and they recognize him because he was Cherokee.”

A meeting of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission will take place at the Lodge on the museum grounds at 9 a.m. Saturday. A meeting of the Board of Directors of Will Rogers Heritage, Inc. will follow. “This is not a celebration, but anyone is welcome to attend these meetings,” Gragert adds.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, a ceremony will be held in recognition of Michelle Lefebvre-Carter, past museum director. Taking place in the theater at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, the plaque dedication will be followed by a reception in Lefebvre-Carter’s honor.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Claremore Reveille, a 4 p.m. parade will conclude Saturday’s activities. This year’s parade theme is “Will Rogers Celebrates Oklahoma.” For entry forms, call (918) 341-1932 or e-mail eat0@eau0eav0eaw0. The celebration will continue with a premiere performance of Lynette Bennett’s one-woman show. “Will Rogers, Conscience of America: His Wife Betty’s Story” will take place at the Robson Performing Arts Center in Claremore at 2 p.m. on Sunday. “Her performance is unique because there has never been, to my knowledge, a one-woman show depicting Betty Rogers,” says Gragert. Tickets can be purchased by calling (918) 699-7390 or visiting www.myticketoffice.com.

Will Rogers Days will culminate with the presentation of the Will Rogers Spirit Award, which is being presented this year to Oklahoma native Garth Brooks. Brooks will be honored at a champagne reception at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tulsa. A dinner and program, sponsored by the Will Rogers Rotary Club, will follow at 6 p.m. Tickets for this event can be obtained by calling (918) 749-6393 or visiting www.willrogersrotary.org.

People of all ages will not want to miss out on this three-day birthday celebration. Something will be available for everyone in the family. For more information about Will Rogers Days, call Steve Gragert at (918) 343-8118 or visit www.willrogers.com.


Friday, November 2
9 a.m.
128th Birthday Celebration
Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch

2 p.m.
Cherokee Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club tribute and reception
Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Saturday, November 3
9 a.m.
Meeting of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission to be followed immediately by a Will Rogers Heritage, Inc. Board of Directors meeting
Will Rogers Memorial Museum Lodge

1 p.m.
Plaque dedication and reception recognizing Michelle Lefebvre-Carter
Will Rogers Memorial Museum

4 p.m.
Will Rogers Days Parade

Sunday, November 4
2 p.m.
Performance of Lynette Bennett’s “Will Rogers, Conscience of America: His Wife Betty’s Story”
Robson Performing Arts Center, 101 E. Stuart Roosa, Claremore

5 p.m.
Champagne reception and Spirit Award honoring Garth Brooks
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 100 E. 2nd St., Tulsa

6 p.m.
Dinner and program at the Will Rogers Rotary Club Gala honoring Garth Brooks
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 100 E. 2nd St., Tulsa

For more information, contact

Will Rogers Memorial Museum

P.O. Box 157, Claremore, OK 74018
(918) 343-8118


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Carol Beck-Round Profile Picture

About Author Carol Beck-Round

After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.

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Will Rogers Memorial Museum

For more information, contact:

Will Rogers Memorial Museum

(918) 341-0719
1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd. | Claremore, OK 74017
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