The Eleventh Annual Roundup of the Wild West History Association was held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 18-21, at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield, Missouri. The event was attended by more than 170 Western history enthusiasts, and the 2018 Roundup was one of the most enjoyable and successful gatherings in a series of enjoyable and successful Roundups. Indeed, two of our last three Roundups have been held in Texas, and more members are from Texas than from any other state.
|WWHA President Jim Dunham calls the 2018 Roundup to order|
Roy Young and Dennis Garstang assembled an excellent program, which included a terrific field trip, and the Oasis was one of the finest facilities we've ever had. On Wednesday evening we assembled for an opening reception. Roy and Dennis provided a preview of the next few days, and our keynote address was delivered by one of the most highly regarded writers in our field, Jack DeMattos. Following his remarks, Jack was presented a Six Shooter Award for Lifetime Contributions to Wild West History.
|With Ron Chrisman, Director of UNT Press, and Chuck Parsons, |
holding his new biography of Ben Thompson from the UNT Press
The Thursday morning program opened with a presentation by best-selling author Michael Wallis on the topic of his next book, "Belle Starr of Missouri." Michael was followed by Erik Wright of the Tombstone Epitaph, who spoke on "Blood in the Ozarks, The Largest Feud in Arkansas History." After a morning break I was up next with "Wild Bill Hickok, Prince of Pistoleers." One of the principal reasons we met in Springfield is because it was the site of one of the most famous street duels in Western history, Wild Bill vs. Davis Tutt in front of an expectant crowd of onlookers. I first wrote about Hickok in the 1970s, and I presented an overview of his colorful - and deadly - career, with emphasis on the confrontation with Tutt. I saved some of that material for the next morning, when we were scheduled to visit the duel site downtown.
|Describing Wild Bill Hickok, Prince of Pistoleers|
|At my book table|
|More than 160 were in attendance at the 2018 Roundup|
|Two State Historians. Marshall Trimble has served |
as Arizona State Historian for 21 years.
At the Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, the Book of the Year Award was presented to Michael Wallis for his splendid, The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny. The final program of the afternoon was given by Mary Johnson, "Laura Ingalls Wilder and How the West Was Settled," a fascinating preparation for our upcoming field trip. Thursday evening John Bossenecker moderated a 90-minute panel on "The Earp Brothers," with panelists Casey Tefertiller, Roy Young Gary Roberts, and Tom Bicknell.
|Michael Wallis holds his Book of the Year plaque, flanked by WWHA President Jim Dunham and past president Pam Potter|
|Jack DeMattos with his plaque for his Outstanding Contributions |
to Wild West History
On Friday morning we boarded buses, heading first for the downtown square where Hickok and Tutt exchanged shots. I described the basic layout of the buildings and of the positions of the gunmen, adding remarks about dueling vs. the more common, spontaneous Western gunfights. We then were joined by John Sellars, a native of Springfield who is the Executive Secretary of The History Museum, which is located on the square, and he had a great deal to tell us about the famous duel. Later I had the pleasure of introducing John to three female descendants of Davis Tutt. The ladies came from long distances to meet with us in Springfield, and before the Roundup ended they joined our organization.
|John Sellars with three descendants of Davis Tutt|
|With John Sellars, Director of Springfield's History Museum|
Next the buses transported us to Maple Park Cemetery and the graves of Davis Tutt and other Tutt family members. Doc Shores offered a description, and the trio of Tutt descendants were visibly moved at being in the presence of the gravesite of Davis. We had lunch at the Bass Pro Shop; the national headquarters of this organization is in Springfield. We enjoyed an excellent buffet meal, and we had time to visit the outstanding museum of the National Rifle Association, to which many of us belong.
|The grave of Davis Tutt|
|Doc Shores holding forth at the Tutt grave|
|At the Bass Pro Shop we lunched at the Hemingway Café|
|The NRA Museum is a major attraction of the Bass Pro Shop|
|We enjoyed a folk music concert delivered through the violin of Pa Ingalls|
|Concert crowd at the Ingalls home listening to the violin performance|
|The 10-room Ingalls-Wilder home|
Friday evening there was a session featuring cowboy poets, storytellers, and musicians. Roy Young coordinated this lively event.
Saturday morning began with a brief business meeting. Most officers and board members agreed to continue their service, and Michael Wallis accepted an open board position. The 2019 Roundup will be held in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and in 2020 we will meet in Fort Smith, Arkansas. There were several fine presentations during the morning, including back-to-back programs by a husband and wife research team, Pat and Chuck Parsons of Luling, Texas.
On Saturday evening we had our annual Boots and Spurs Banquet. Jim Dunham presented a President's Award to Kurt House, noted Texas gun collector and a strong supporter and board member of the WWHA. The Live and Silent Auctions raised a considerable amount of money for the organization.
|Sisters Cecilia Ogasawara and Mary Carey, renowned for their clever costumes, masqueraded as Old West lawmen |
at the Boots and Spurs Banquet.
Our entertainment for the evening was an all-time WWHA highlight. Roy Young secured the services of the legendary Sons of the Pioneers, and because I had written a book about the group Roy gave me the honor of providing the introduction. The Sons of the Pioneers were organized during the mid-1930s by Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer, and singer-composer Bob Nolan, along with two gifted instrumentalists from Texas, Hugh and Karl Farr (violin and guitar). Duiring the next two decades the Sons of the Pioneers appeared in 100 motion pictures, made countless public appearances, and established themselves as the top group in cowboys music with such timeless hits as Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Cool Water. For more than 80 years the Sons of the Pioneers have maintained their position as the leading cowboy music vocal and instrumental group in history, as they demonstrated to an enthralled WWHA audience. Dusty Rogers - Roy's son - was the lead singer, and the Sons of the Pioneers royally entertained us for 90 minutes. What a spectacular close to our 2018 Roundup.