Tag Archives: Oklahoma History

Just give me a home, where the buffalo roam…

A few weekends ago, the Senator and I woke up at dark thirty and headed North to the Tallgrass Prairie in Osage County for a little adventure. About this time each year, the Nature Conservancy rounds up the “Bison” who live on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve to get an accurate head count, provide them with vaccinations and tag any newborns who were born during the year. In order to keep the numbers manageable for the land, some are then sold at auction (think bison burgers) and others donated to Native American tribes up North who also herd these animals on their land. The fate of each individual bison is based on their sex and age when they are rounded up annually and their tag is scanned as they go through the chute.

It was a very high tech operation, but it’s not a very pleasant process to watch. And, they give you that disclaimer right up front! The first bison I watched come through the chute had lost his horn and there was a lot of blood. I don’t have a picture of that.

If you noticed I swapped out the word buffalo for bison there’s a reason for that! The animals who roam the great plains of North America are technically called “Bison,” while the term “buffalo” refers to the Water Buffalo found in Southeast Asia. I’m not sure I knew that distinction, but then, this road trip was already a learning adventure! The folks at the Nature Conservancy shared so much information with us about the Tallgrass Prairie and their efforts to restore the land and its inhabitants back to the original factory conditions, it felt like we earned college credit.

It was fascinating to watch the process. It was also windy and cold up on the prairie but not for the bison. They are equipped with the thickest of coats.

A huge shout out to the folks at the Nature Conservancy for sharing their admirable work with the public and to my dad, for arranging our educational field trip. Ending the day in Pawhuska truly iced the cake. Especially when you befriend a cute dog at the local watering hole.

If you’re looking for a fun activity in northern Oklahoma, not far from the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile and Pawhuska, take a drive through the tall grass prairie where you might catch a glimpse of the American Bison who reside there.

Inauguration Day, Part II

The show must go on, and it did yesterday as my great state celebrated the historic swearing-in of Oklahoma’s 27th Governor.

It was snowing and cold but those in charge of the festivities at the capitol did a marvelous job of moving the event along. It should come as no surprise that this was their fifth swearing-in ceremony, meaning they have been in charge of the logistics from constructing the podium, the sound, the security, to seating the crowd and dignitaries for the last five gubernatorial inaugurations. And, they did a fabulous job under the extreme conditions of the day.

This job didn’t come without its perks either. Here is a photo I snapped of one of the gentlemen in charge with native Oklahoman and country singer, Toby Keith.

He is a good friend of ours (not Toby Keith), but the man in charge. The Senator calls him Pickel. He owns a construction company and I’m sure Pickel was giving Toby very specific instructions before he sang a tribute to our nation’s soldiers.

And, that is another story….about how a country music star manages to play a song on his guitar in sub-zero temperatures.

It really was bone chilling outside. I mean, at that point in the program I could barely feel my feet. However, they must have kept Mr. Keith inside by the fire before his performance because he sang and played to perfection. That is just how good these guys are at running the show.

As I said before, we had front (well, actually third) row seats for the ceremony.

And, even though they were covered in snow our seats were close enough to capture some fun photos.

Like of the oil rig that sits on the south lawn of our state capitol……and those majestic columns….

…and a photo of the Senator’s office. I’m sure it was nice and warm in there.

And, the steps used for the procession back up into the rotunda.

I loved having the presence of so many service men and women who lined the path upwards. Even the ones with guns located right behind us. They made me feel safe.

After the ceremony, we got to catch up with a former governor. He and my Senator are friends and were exchanging stories about cowboy hats….

And, there were some good ones. Stories, that is.

Then, we ran into a Oklahoma Congressman who I have known since I was little.

I used to work for his dad a long time ago. They are good family friends and I am really proud of the job he is doing in Washington D.C.

As the Senator and I headed back up to his office, we happened to look out the window at the people still lined up in the cold waiting to get into the Capitol for the post inaugural reception. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. It was bitter cold, but they were witnessing a part of our state’s history and I get that.

Next up….How not to plan an Inaugural Ball!