As a kid growing up on Ravenswood Pike in Ripley, W.Va., in the early 1950s, I remember every Saturday morning just like clock work turning on our old floor model black and white TV and watching Roy Rogers "King of the Cowboys." I wouldn't dare miss watching the show for anything in the world, and if I had an extra 15 cents in my pocket from not eating lunch at grade school I would happily get out the old galvenized wash tub take a bath on a saturday afternoon and head over to the Alpine Theatre in Ripley with my twin brother Gary tagging along to watch Roy Rogers and Dale Evan's once again on the silver screen.
Growing up watching Roy Rogers chase down bandit's on TV from 1951 up to 1957, I remember there never really was that much violence, for RoyRoger's would always end up shooting the guns out of the bad guy's hand.
Those fond memories of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans that I knew will soon be coming to an end for not just me but for thousands of other fans out there when Christie's Auction House in New York will be auctioning off piece by piece the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum on July 14, 15.
Highlighting the number 2 and number 3 auction will be the well-stuffed preserved remains of Roy Roger's Golden Palomino Horse" "Trigger" who died in 1965 at the age of 30. Right after Trigger's death Roy had him stuffed and mounted and is estimated to bring 200.000 or more at auction , , also selling at auction will be the well stuffed preserved remains of Roy Roger's wonder dog, a german shepherd dog named "Bullet" who I later named my dog after.
Also selling at auction is Roy's 1964 Bonneville convertible adorned with collectibile silver dollars, with its door handles and gear shift replaced by silver plated pistols. This is the car that I still remember to this day seeing in the Ripley Fourth of July parade in Ripley, W.Va., in the 60s along with "Sky Kings" convertibile my twin brother luckily got a chance to ride in. Roy Roger's car is estimated to fetch $100,000 to $150,000 at auction.
Also selling at auction will be Roy's sidekick Pat Brady's "Nelly Belle Jeep' including the 1923 Dodge that Roy Rogers father drove all the way from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Caifornia in 1930, including hundreds of other items, many of them with estimated prices in the low hundreds, such as the handdrawn music to the theme "Happy Trails" with a pre-sale estimate of $300 to $500 , along with several of Roy's guitars and over 60 pair of cowboy boots worn by Roy Rogers, also including several performance outfits, several Roy Roger's watches from $400 on up and hundreds of other items too numerous to mention, including Dale Evans stuffed horse she rode named "Buttermilk."
Roy Rogers, known as " King of the Cowboys," was born Leonard Frankin Slye on November 5, 1911 in Cincinnati, in a rundown neighborhood where River Front Stadium sits today. In 1919 the Slye family purchased a farm 12 miles north of Portsmouth, at Duck Run, near Lucasville, in Scioto County, a two hour drive from Marietta which today is known as the childhood home of Roy Rogers. In 1930 the Slye family packed their 1923 Dodge and set out for California where Roy would later become known as "The King of Cowboys. Roy Rogers died on July 6, 1998, in Apple Valley, California, from congestive heart failure.
Roy once said, "When I die just have me stuffed and mounted on top of old Trigger and I will be the happiest guy in the world." He was said to have loved Trigger more than anything in this world. Roy also once said the farm he grew up was so dirt poor that you couldnt even grow rocks on it,
Dale Evans Roy's wife, whom he married in 1947 and became known as "Queen of The West," was born on October 31, 1917, and died on February 7, 2001, in AppleValley also from congestive heart failure just 2 1//2 years after Roy's death. Everyone was so sad to hear when they both died. it was like a member of your own family had passed on. I will always remember them forever, for I grew up with them as as one of their biggest fans.
Readers, some Sunday afternoon while sitting around with nothing to do, take a two hour drive from Marietta down to the boyhood home of Roy Rogers located at Duck Run, Ohio , 4 miles west of Lucasville. you cant miss the Ohio Historcial Marker at the intersection of Roy Rogers Road( local Road 138 and Sly Road (local road) 517. the home is on the left when traveling north on Roy Roger's Road,or stop by the welcome center in Portsmouth for further details, or you can contact the center at 740-353-0900 bus tours are also available.
Roy Rogers horse "Trigger: was sold at auction july 14 to a Nebraska based cable television station for $266.000. More on this in next weeks column.
Today the home on Roy Roger's Road is privately owned by the Crabtree Family who live there. Visitors are permitted to tour the grounds and take photos but the inside the home is off limits and cannot be viewed. In the 1990s the home was put up for sale by the Crabtrees on the auction block but failed to meet a set price. While visiting the boyhood home of Roy Rogers, you might want to check out the boyhood home of Wesley Branch Rickey also located on Roy Rogers Road, Rickey was a major league baseball executive and spent two seasons in the major league, debutting a St. Louis Brown in 1905. He was known for breaking major league baseball's color barrier by signing african american player Jackie Robinson.
Readers, see you back here next week where I will be answering more of your letters, in the meantime check out those attics, basements, yard sales and let me know what you found , thanks goes out to Christies Auction House and the Crabtree family in Lucasville, Ohio, for helping me with information to write this article.