In less than three months, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum will celebrate a 75th birthday. 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.
The time has come that state funding can no longer keep up with the aging structure or the demands to meet the Museum mission to collect, preserve and share the life, wisdom and humor of Will Rogers for all generations.
On Sept. 19, everyone has an opportunity to help meet those needs at The Event, promoted by the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation.
In June 1931 Will Rogers said, “People are marvelous in their generosity if they just know the cause is there.”
Funds raised through The Event, an evening of food, fun and fellowship, will benefit the Foundation, the Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch and legacy of Oklahoma's favorite son. Tickets should be ordered as soon as possible.
An aggressive pre-fund-raising effort by Foundation members has resulted in $250,000 for the Foundation.
Individual tickets are available at $125 per person. Cherokee Nation is the primary event sponsor. Event sponsorships are available at $15,000, $10,000, $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.willrogers.com and click on The Event, or by calling 918-341-0719, or can be purchased in the Museum business office.
The Event is 6-9 p.m. Thursday night at the Museum. Parking and shuttle service is available at First United Methodist Church on North Highway 88, two blocks north of the Museum.
Event Co-Chairs are Govs. George Nigh and Frank Keating. Judge Robert Henry, Oklahoma City University president, is keynote speaker. Jim Hartz, former Today Show co-host and longtime Will Rogers Memorial Commission chairman, will be master of ceremonies.
The evening will include entertainment by 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.
A number of exciting silent auction items will be displayed for bidding. Ticket donations at $25 each are being taken for a grand prize of round trip airfare for two to Santa Monica, Calif., on Southwest Airlines, plus a tour of the Will Rogers Ranch Home, two-night stay at Hotel Angeleno and dinner at the famous “West” restaurant. Tickets may be purchased at the event for $25 each or five for $100. The winner must be present.
A second night of Diamond Jubilee celebration will be Friday night at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, featuring Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings and Red Dirt Rangers. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., the concert begins at 8. General admission is $20. David J. Chernicky Trust is sponsoring the Night at the Cains with all ticket proceeds going to the Foundation.