Claremore Daily Progress

September 22, 2013

Will Rogers celebration a success

Salesha Wilken
Claremore Progress


The halls of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum were filled with music, food and cheer Thursday to celebrate “The Event.”
Several dignitaries and local community leaders joined in the celebration of the rich history of Will Rogers.
Sponsored by the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation and Cherokee Nation, the evening brought together a community to, once again, honor the memory and celebrate the life of Oklahoma’s favorite son.
More than 50 individual and business donors contributed to the success of the fundraiser.
Former Gov. George Nigh spoke of the day Will Rogers and Wiley Post died and how people stood in the streets in shock.
The reason I will never forget that day is because grown men and women got out of their cars and embrace each other, Nigh said.
“It was the first time I saw grown men cry,” Nigh said. “I will never forget the day the world stood still for Will.”
Nigh honored the memory of Will, spoke of his impact on society and the world.
“What a thrill it is to this day when people around the world to this day say Oklahoma, oh Will Rogers,” Nigh said.
Kem Rogers and Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry accepted the award honoring the founders and pioneers of the Will Rogers Museum.
Presented by Chief Bill John Baker, Nigh and Commission Chair Jim Hartz the award honored the Rogers family and their instrumental effort in the establishment of the memorial.
The Rogers family then dedicated the award to the museum to share it with the community and visitors to the memorial.
Keynote speaker Judge Robert Henry shared many memorable quotes and stories about Rogers.
The evening’s entertainment included Country Fiddler Jana Jae, Trick Roping Title Holders Kowboy Kal Cook and Doug Smith, Tulsa Playboys, Mime Troy Scott and Tulsa Oratorio Chorus.
Recognition will be given to persons who were instrumental in founding and establishing the Memorial Museum.
It was 75 years ago on Nov. 4, 1938 that the Museum doors opened as an agency of the State of Oklahoma. For many years, the Museum has depended primarily on state funds to support all the functions from programming and salaries to maintenance and exhibit expansion.
A second night of Diamond Jubilee celebration was hosted Friday night at the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, featuring Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings and Red Dirt Rangers. 
All proceeds from the concert were donated to support the Foundation.