Will Rogers, Roper
image by Courtesy of Will Rogers Museums
Will Rogers Day is observed every November 4. Humorist Will Rogers was a trick roper, movie star, radio commentator, newspaper columnist and author. During the Depression years his humor lifted spirits and his good-natured wisdom reached millions of people around the world. Here are many ideas for celebrating the cowboy philosopher's birthday.
Visit the Will Rogers Dog Iron Ranch near Oologah, Oklahoma. The home where Will Rogers was born on November 4, 1879, is open to the public. Rogers was the son of a Cherokee senator, judge and cattleman. The ranch is a 400-acre spread with Texas Longhorn cattle and other livestock. The ranch has picnic areas, a grass airstrip and summer RV hookups. The ranch is open every day of the year. Admission is by donation.
Learn a lariat trick like those that made Will Rogers famous. He learned trick roping and used his skill to get work in wild west shows and vaudeville. On the stage he started making small talk and wisecracks while he was rope twirling. Soon his humor was his meal ticket instead of rope tricks. Will Rogers said, "Spinnin' a rope is fun if your neck ain't in it."
Stop where Will Rogers planned to retire. The Will Rogers Memorial Museum is in Claremore, Oklahoma. The museum is on a 20-acre site that Rogers purchased in 1911 for his planned retirement home. When he died in a plane crash in 1935, his widow and children donated the land for the museum.
Ride a horse for the joy of it. Will Rogers was a trick rider and polo player. He delighted in anything he could do from the back of a horse. In the 1930s when horse riding made a comeback, Rogers said, "The old horse is coming back in a high lope. Thousands of people are riding a horse today that five years ago couldn't sit in a Ford with all the doors locked."
Support the old Rogers ranch in California. Will Rogers State Historical Park is in Pacific Palisades, California. In the 1920s Will Rogers and his wife Betty bought land in Santa Monica. It became a 186-acre ranch for the Rogers family with ranch house, stable, corrals, roping arena, polo field, golf course and riding grounds. When his widow died in 1944, the ranch became a state park. Rogers said, “It’s not really a ranch, but we call it that. It sounds big and don’t really do no harm.” Enjoy your visit in Will Rogers territory.