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Friday, April 10, 2020

Round Ryan October 17 2019


This has been a productive season for Ryan cross country.  The young runners in Jr. High School show improvement constantly and the High School boys seem to shave time off with each passing meet, but the High School girls have taken cross country to a new level here in Ryan.  This last week the Cowgirls have won their third team title in a row, Lilybet Harmon won her third individual title in a row and the Cowgirls have had five of the top ten finishers for the third time in a row.  Next weekend the cross country team will be competing at regionals.  At 12:30 this Saturday, we will all have the opportunity to watch this team in action at Waurika.  Basketball season will be starting soon.  To be honest, I have never really followed the sport.  I’m short, slow and uncoordinated, so it is easy to figure out why it’s not my sport.  In an effort to be fair I may give it a try this season, if nothing else it will give me a chance to see the new/old gym.  The football game this week will be against long time rivals Waurika Eagles.  This rivalry spans many decades and having witnessed it from both sides, I am glad to see that the modern version is much more genteel than it was in the old days.  Come out to the game and see some good football.  Game time is at 7:30 friday night at the Bob Givens Sports Complex.  If you play your cards right you might be able to get some supper as well.

 This next Sunday, October 20th from 11:00-2:00 there will be an Indian Taco dinner to raise funds for some of the community projects that are happening around Ryan.  It will be at the Sr. Citizens Center and the cost will be donations only.  I understand that they still need desserts if you would like to donate some sweets.  Take outs are available and Heather Casebolt guarantees that the food will be delicious.

 If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that dirt work is going on out on the highway across from the football field.  They are coming along with the future home of the next dollar store for this area.

 Fall weather is finally upon us and it is wonderful.  Not to appear ungrateful but we could have done without that freeze the other night.  Ah well we have to take the bad with the good.  I am starting to see mums and pumpkins around town, decorating street corners and porches.  With the fall colors a, pumpkin flavored everything and the cool air, it seems that the main part of football season is here.  GO IRISH!!!

 Christmas On the Trail is coming up and we will be having another meeting on the 25th of this month.  If you are interested, you can attend or you can call or come see us with your ideas.  We are still looking for vendors and volunteers.  We are adding games and activities every week.

 I am sitting here listening to Adele sing about setting fire to the rain.  I’m not sure the lyrics make a lot of sense but she sure can sing.  Until next week.

Round Ryan October 10 2019


 I will start by saying thank you to all of you that have been free with kind words of encouragement.  Sometimes when I sit down to write, I do not have a clue as to where I am going, those are usually the ones that I have to re-write several times before they are presentable to my editor.  Thank you everyone!

     The Ryan High School cross country team competed at the Sulphur cross country meet.  Lilybet Harmon came away with another individual win and the Ryan High Cowgirls brought home a team win with five young ladies finishing in the top ten and the final team member finishing in the top twenty-five.  The boys team also show improvement and shave time consistently.  When you see them, give each of them a pat on the back for all of their hard work.

  Two Cowgirl softball players, Samantha Good and Brooklyn Charmussen,  got to compete in the Southern Eight All Conference game on Monday night at Waurika.  Each made the team based on years of hard work and competition.  Congratulations to both of you.  It has been a pleasure to watch you play.

  Thursday evening at the Ryan High School cafeteria, the Future Farmers of America chapter will be having their annual labor auction.  I do not know if they sell by the pound or by the head but I am sure either way you will get a bargain.  Besides selling the youngsters, their will also be a live auction for baked goods, not sure yet who will be the auctioneer for this portion of the evening.  There will also be an auction for items made by the students, this will be a silent auction and I am given to understand that Marcel Marceau will be on duty doing his part trying to raise funds for the Ryan Future Farmers of America.

  Plans for this years “Christmas On the Trail” festival are coming along nicely.  They are still looking for street vendors, so if you or someone that you know are interested in setting up a booth this year, call us at the Beaver Creek Mercantile or at The Local.  You can also go on Facebook and like our page “Christmas On the Trail, downtown Ryan, Oklahoma” and we can give you all the information that you need to get started.

  This last Saturday, my brother Scott, Bill Griffin and myself went to Nocona, Tx  and toured the Horton Car Museum. If you like old cars (lets face it who doesn’t?) this trip is well worth the time and the door fee to get to see all of the cars that they have on display.  They have more Corvettes than I have ever seen in one place.  There are also Camaros and Cudas, station wagons and pickups, and a couple of Packards that boggle the mind, but if they were to offer me any car in their collection, I would now be driving a cream yellow 1951 Buick Roadmaster……..  Sorry about that but I had to stop for 3 min. and 24 sec. to listen to Mr. Bob Seger sing about “A Ship of Fools”, without a doubt an under rated classic, anyway the man working at the museum that day told us that the 130 cars on display were not the total collection.  They have other cars stored in a warehouse and they sometimes swap cars out, so its possible to go there multiple times and not see the same cars every time.

Round Ryan October 3 2019


The Ryan High School football homecoming game held a lot of excitement for anyone that braved the swarms of mosquitoes that don’t yet realize that according to the calendar it is supposed to be fall.  The Ryan Cowboys came out on top in a hard fought ballgame against the Caddo Bruins with a final score of 30-20.  With all the penalty flags that were thrown and the injury timeouts, the game took longer than normal.  At halftime the homecoming queen was coronated.  I am sure is was a difficult task to pick one out of the seven young ladies that were vying for the crown, but Lily York was chosen and crowned by her escort.  Ms. York and several other young ladies have served this football season as water persons/equipment managers for the team.  During the second half, Lily did her job of handing out water to the thirsty and fetching ice for the injured, all the while wearing a tiara.

     The Ryan Jr. High School softball team won their final game this season against Geronimo.  Well done young ladies.

     Ryan Cowgirls are the 2019 Chick-fil-A North Rock Creek High School Girls Cross Country champions.  This group of young athletes have put Ryan Cross Country in front of everyone in the state and made them set up and take notice.  Most of the time they were competing against much larger schools and the team can stand proud of the job they have done.

     Put October 10th on your calendar.  The Ryan Future Farmers of America are holding their labor auction at 6:30 pm at the high school cafeteria.  Finger food will be available and a dessert auction will follow.  Come out and support the FFA chapter and get something good to eat.

     This week Christmas On the Trail started selling sponsor spots on the commemorative t-shirts that will be sold to help pay for this years festivities.  If you are interested you can make contact through the Facebook page by the same name or contact us at either The Beaver Creek Mercantile or at The Local.

     This really isn’t a plug for the store at which I work.  The truth is that I spend more time at the Mercantile than I do at any other single place, so if anything of interest is to happen then most likely that is where it will happen.  Case in point, just the other day, two fellows came in and after we all said our howdies, one of the gents said “we aren’t from around here”.  This was obvious even to me, but it’s possible that he thought that I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed.  People usually have to get to known me before they come to that conclusion.  Turns out these visitors call Perth, Western Australia home.  Peter and Colin are taking their month long holiday to travel across the United States, roughly following Route 66.  Occasionally something will catch their attention and off they go on a side trip.  On arriving in Texas, they decided that they wanted to see Dallas.  It was on their return trip north that they found themselves in beautiful downtown Ryan, Oklahoma.  Colin was documenting the trip by taking photos with his phone and both were more than able to hold their own in the storytelling department.  Peter brought with him 12 new caps, one for each state that they would be traveling through and at some point he would trade with someone in each state.  There is now as we speak, a Beaver Creek Mercantile cap being worn in Perth, Western Australia.  We also have a cap with a kangaroo on the front on display in the store. 

New Pastor Arrives in Ryan


Pictured left is Alex and Naomi Alejandro along with their three kids: AJ (7th grade), Ava (4th grade), and Axel (2nd grade).

Alex and his wife Naomi worked in education in Wichita Falls before moving to Ryan. 

Alex worked at Zundy Elementary as a bilingual teacher, and Naomi worked at Milam Elementary as the campus principal. 

Although the Alejandros loved their jobs and the community they served, they answered the call to full-time ministry this past summer.

Since moving to Ryan they have been overwhelmed with the welcomes and well wishes they have received from the community. 

They are now the new Pastors of the First Assembly of God Church in Ryan. 

Services at the Ryan Assembly begin each Sunday at 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. Soon, they plan to hold Sunday School classes each Sunday morning at 9:30 am. 

The Alejandros wish to thank everyone for their kindness in welcoming them to Ryan. They look forward to meeting more people and becoming more acquainted with the community. 

Members of the church have expressed their excitement for the arrival of the Alejandros into their church family. 

Round Ryan September 26 2019


The First Annual Christmas On the Trail Chili Cook-off is in the books and J.K.Townsend has been declared he winner.  I feel behooved to try and name all of the folks that made it a success.  First has to be the cooks.  J.K. Townsend was sponsored by the United Methodist Women, Linda Harrison cooked for the Peoples Bank, John Snider was at the helm of the Ryan city employees team, although Deb Reynolds made cornbread because they were of the opinion that crackers just would not do.  Cody Rodriquez led the Ryan Volunteer Fire Fighters, Justin Dewbre, Raquel Welchel cooked for the Ryan FFA and the list of competitors was rounded out by Jared Dyer that cooked what he called green chili.  I personally had never seen anything quite like it but I can tell you it was good.  We had three fine judges, although there have been charges of cahootinizing among the judges and one member of the group that hosted the event.  Ricky Martin, Kristi Hamm Whitford and Mike Retos all did a good job and worked for very little pay.  I can’t say enough good things about the band, The Upper Road Band.  They kept everyone entertained and did it with two of the three members feeling under the weather.  Alana Miranda, Seth Miranda and J.D. Martin comprise the band and covered everything from classic country to soft rock to Tom Petty and along the way made us laugh.  I think I will see if they can do some Molly Hatchet (that is what I am listening to).  Every time they are asked to help they step up and do a wonderful job.  All three deserve a lot of praise.  Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the cause, the cause of coarse being the Christmas On the Trail tree lighting festival that with take place in early December.  All of the fund raising goes toward paying for the day of fun that is planned for children and grownups alike.

On the subject of music that I am listening to, you would think on that long ride across that desert that they could have found a name for that horse.

Bill Roberson

Bill Roberson passed away this week messing with his old cows.  I first came into contact with Bill when I was a small boy playing baseball, he coached a couple of the teams that I played on.  Even to a kid it was obvious that he loved sports.  Another love was music.  He loved playing music, listening to music and taking about music.  This was a side of Bill that I saw when I reconnected with him as a grownup.  The one thing that Bill talked about the most was his family.  We sometimes spent hours on this very subject, he even got to where he would say “stop me if you have heard this”.  I am glad that I never did.  Bill Roberson will be sorely missed.

Maris Blanchard: Restoring Historical Mural


The next time you are driving into Ryan, Oklahoma, take a look to the right before you come to downtown. The 22-year old Chisholm Trail scenery that has always been an eye-catching welcome suddenly appears a little different. Its subtle change might have you turn around and crawl back by. The Chisholm Trail mural!! Something’s different. The sage-covered hillside scenery has a focused depth to it. And the cattle, the cowboys and horse-drawn wagon come alive on the forefront of the dimensional landscape. To passersby, it’s beautiful and a nice addition to the town. To the people of Ryan, it means so much more. 

What started out as a pipe dream for the Ryan Regeneration Group became reality during the month of July. The talk began in early 2018 to develop a plan to refurbish the 40-foot long mural depicting a scene from the glory days of the historic Chisholm Trail. A path laid by drovers, cowboys and the cattle they ran from deep in Texas through Ryan and into Kansas throughout the last half of the 19th century. The mural is the work of M.H. Henry, an artist, a passionate advocate of preserving the Trail’s history and a resident of Bowie, Texas. With the structural assistance of Hershel Shofner, the sign was erected in 1997. This mural stamped Ryan’s presence in southern Oklahoma and was a proud addition for the citizens of the town. The timing was perfect, with hundreds of former students pouring into town for the Ryan High School reunion in September. Everyone was in awe of the work and happy to know that our history would now be shared with everyone that passed through the town.

Maris Blanchard in front of the Mural she recently restored.

Over the next two decades, the mural stood strong, but began to take on the effects of the intense weather of southern Oklahoma. With the birth of the Regeneration group, thoughts began to come into words about assisting with its refurbishment and longevity. The suggestion came up to find an artist to bring the mural back to life. But not only that, find someone that shares the passion of beautifying the town. Maris Blanchard, granddaughter to Theresa Blanchard, was approached by the group to see if she would consider taking on this timely task. As recalled, the group did not even have to fully ask her help, as Maris excitedly interrupted and said, “I would LOVE to help you with the mural.” It was a joyous occasion not only for the Regeneration group, but just as much for Maris. Her father, Bobby Blanchard, was a 1975 graduate of Ryan. Back in her childhood, Maris came back to Ryan frequently with her Dad. She and her Dad shared the love of going out on land northeast of Ryan to hunt for cow skulls or any skulls she could find. Along with spiders, bugs and critters that she could talk her Dad into taking home. Maris found this would be one of her many outdoor passions that still carries on to today. Bobby passed away in 2007 and with this, Maris’ memories of Ryan started to fade over the years.

At the beginning of the project, Maris began the preparation and studied the work of Mr. Henry so that her efforts would accent his vision. All the way down to the brands on the cattle that depicted the symbol of ranches in the local area. Maris unexpectedly and pleasantly found help as the citizens of Ryan became her eyes, ears and cold-water providers during the intensely hot days of late July. Work on the project started early in the morning and went on till sundown. What could have been an arduous task became a celebration as she moved slowly and carefully through bringing the wonderful scene back to life. The town was vibrant with talk at Stick’s and the Parlor about the young lady working on our mural. It did not take anyone long to find out that Maris invited everyone in to the scene going on at the junction of Highways 32 and 81. Among the topics of interest were Maris’ other hobbies and line of work such as taxidermy and making organic home décor themed around animal cadavers and skeletal remains. Many were intrigued and Maris was endless with conversation as she learned hunting in this part of Oklahoma is right up there with football as a favorite sport.  

Now with the task complete and the mural looking like new again, the Ryan Regeneration group share the joy of their pipe dream becoming a reality. And as the folks of Ryan cherish anew this testament to our heritage, the warmth and joy of knowing that the spirit of the town stretches far past the limits of the ranches and fields surrounding the city. 

A very special thanks go to so many of the hard-working, fun loving members of the Ryan Generation group. A special thanks to Sherry and Eddie Pewitt, Heather and Crosby Casebolt, Dennis Underwood and many others for showing up and sharing time with Maris. A very, very special Thank You goes out to Walker and Linda Ryan. Not only for providing the scaffolding, which without it, the project could not at all have been completed. But for your warm-hearted, incredible hospitality each day this project was going on. Maris said that she has found her second home in Ryan and a new extended family that would make her Dad proud.

Round Ryan August 1, 2019


 If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a young lady perched atop the scaffolding by the mural on Highway 81.  Her name is Maris Blanchard, she is the daughter of the late Bobbie Blanchard and the granddaughter of Teresa Blanchard.  We have all become accustomed to its faded appearance but I believe that if you look at it now or wait until she is finished, I think you will agree that it looks much better.  Ms. Blanchard is doing a wonderful job and she told me that it means a lot to her to be able to do this for her fathers home town and also that she has fond memories of coming to Ryan to visit when she was younger.  Thank you Maris.

 Ryan Fire Chief Randal Garcia tells me that they had a good turn out for the first annual Stop, Drop and Run 5K fun run and walk.  It is great to see so many people participating.  They had hamburgers for lunch after the run but I was unable to attend as I had a family reunion to attend at the same time but I bet the food was good.

 The reunion mentioned in the above paragraph was a lot of fun.  Mostly we sat around talking and eating.  Some of our relations from the east side of the county as well as some nice folks from Texas came to visit.  Bob Cates started off life in Ryan but his family left after a fire destroyed the family business.  Bob told me his brother, Utah Cates (is that a cool name or what), worked for the railroad.  I am hoping that some of my elders around town can enlighten me in regard to the Cates family.

 Wednesday was the last day for the children’s reading group here in Ryan because school will be starting in a couple of weeks.  T J Dewbre tells me that there are already plans in the works for a possibly expanded reading group next year.  As you can imagine this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  I believe that the earlier that you expose children to reading and books the better.  I am taking this opportunity to thank a few folks, Michelle for getting the ball rolling, TJ, Heidi Townsend, Emily Smith, Amanda Reagan, Cheryl Carter and the town council (I know that I am missing a bunch of people but you know who you are), thank you for picking the ball up and running with it.

 It is easy to let personal feelings color our thinking, but all of these stories, the mural, the fire department and the children’s reading group are examples of people working together for the common good.  Call me Pollyanna if you like but I think things are looking up in Ryan.

 The book I am reading is called “Dancing At the Harvest Moon” by K.C. McKinnon.  The harvest moon of the title is a dance hall and eating establishment open seasonally on a lake in Canada.  This is a tale of love and loss, re-birth and starting over when life kicks you in the teeth as happens from time to time.  I am not sure from whom I acquired this book but so far it has been good reading.  The art work alone makes it worth looking through.  I frequently get books given to me.  Sometimes it is a case of someone cleaning out a cupboard and sometimes it is hey I just read this and you need to read it as well.  In ether case the gifts are greatly appreciated, I can’t think of a better gift than a book.

 I am thinking about a time when my younger sister came home from college to visit and when she walked through the door, I’m stretched out in the living room floor listening to “Freebird” and reading a volume of Walt Whitman that she had given me.  This comes to mind because as I sit here writing this I have music playing, it is hard to type and rock out as well. (I have my earplugs in so to anyone watching, I must appear spastic). Other than the first song, none of the music was selected by me, so I have run down the list of several great songs, from “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Can’t You See” to “With a Little Help from My Friends” and now it’s “Freebird”.  I’m not sure why books and music go together for me, maybe it’s the story telling inherit in both.  I’ll see if my sister remembers.   

Garcia Settling in as New Fire Chief


Randal Garcia has been the Ryan Fire chief since May of this year. However, he has been a member of the fire department since around 2008. 

He says everyone has come together and the support he has received has been great. 

He is the brother of Stephanie Wesberry and the son of Josey and  Mio Garcia of Terral. (Josey is pictured on the back page at her restaurant known as Mama Josey’s in Terral.)

Randal is grateful for how things have progressed and the way Waurika and Ryan have worked together. 

We’ve had some training with Waurika he says. 

Last Saturday the Fire Department held their first 5K Run fundraiser. Many of the Ryan track teams as well as members of the community participated. 

The money will go toward the upgrading and repairing of some of the fire trucks. 

Along with the 5K Run the department sold T-shirts that said, “Stop Drop and Run 5K and Fun Run.”

Participants had the option of running or walking the 5K. 

There may still be some shirts available. The cost of each shirt is $10 for small through XXL and $15 for #XL. 

The hot dogs and hamburgers served at the fundraiser were excellent. Donations were taken for the meal. 

Round Ryan July 25 ​2019


Saturday nights dance at the American Legion Post #183 was a success.  The music was provided by a five piece band consisting of the regulars.   Bill Roberson, Cary Gore and Gene Chesley as well as newcomers Joy and Don McCullough supplied a mix of old country, middle aged country and gospel.  The music lovers and dancers don’t equal the days of the Old Ryan Stomp but the numbers seem to be growing.  I enjoyed hearing “Go Rest High On that Mountain” and also their version of “Arkansas River” but hearing Joy McCullough sing some old gospel tunes really took me back.  If you have not been to one of these get togethers then you are missing out.  Besides the music you can visit with your neighbors or even meet some new folks if you are of a mind.

 Don’t forget this coming Saturday the Ryan Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a 5K fun run/walk.  It will be starting at 8:00 am and they will be serving lunch after the event at the Fire Department.  Come out and support the fire fighters and all the participants.

 One of the members of the Irving Baptist Church told me that this last Sunday they had their monthly meal at the church.  It consisted of fried chicken, various salads, watermelon and home made ice cream.  Telling me this on Monday seems a bit mean spirited, but I’m not one to hold a grudge, especially if you tell me in time for the next one.

 Monte Wright is refurbishing the benches on Washington.  He has the new wood on the first bench and it is back in place.  It’s my understanding that the Ryan Beautification Group is providing the material and Monte is donating his time and labor.

 The book related section of this article is not about one book alone but about reading in general. How did my fellow readers get started down the road to being bibliophiles?  I don’t really remember how it got started for me but there were always books in our home while I was growing up and I had access to the school library.  After my folks purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias, I spent a lot of time reading those volumes that told of far away places or animals and customs that were foreign to me.  From there I graduated to books that at times were probably a bit mature for me, some of those I re-read later and then could grasp the nuances that had escaped my young self.  Some books and authors were introduced to me by teachers  and older siblings.  Mrs. Rickard lead me to Shakespeare and Chaucer.  My brother Phil gave me the gift of Hemingway.  My father fed my love of history, on his bookshelf were stories of the American Civil War by Bruce Catton.  On my own (if that is even possible) I discovered James Fenimore Cooper and Emerson.  Some of my most prized possessions are volumes of Thoreau and Walt Whitman given to me by my sister Merrianne.  Not everything that I read is a classic,  I enjoy a good adventure story as much as the next person.  Drop me a line and let me known how you got started.

 Maybe next time I’ll discuss my musical influences and how my sister Lynn scarred me for life with some her musical tastes.   

Round Ryan July 18, 2019


 The American Legion Post here in Ryan will be having their monthly dance Saturday, July 20th.  The dance will start at 7:00 pm.  They will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs.  You can’t beat the price for dinner and entertainment.

 Sunday, July 21st is the date chosen by the Ryan Beautification Group for another Indian Taco dinner.  It will be held at the Ryan Senior Citizens Center.  It will run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  They price is donations only.

 Sports Physicals are scheduled for Monday, July 22nd for the female athletes and Monday, July 29th for the male athletes.  They will be performed at Dr. Chad Williams office in Waurika at the cost of $10.00 and is for all athletes grades 5 through 12.

 Enrollment for the coming school year will be August 7th and 8th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Check with the school for the schedule for enrollment for your youngster.

 Ryan Volunteer Fire Department is having their 1st Annual 5K fun run and walk, someone has a strange idea of fun.  It will be held Saturday, July 27th at 8:00 am, lunch will be served after at the Fire Department.

 I feel behooved to announce the 1st Annual “Christmas On the Trail Chili Cook Off”.  It will be held Saturday, September 21st in beautiful downtown Ryan, Oklahoma.  This is a fundraiser for the Christmas On the Trail Festival that we will have in early December.  Entry fee is $40.00 per team, with a limit of four members to a team.  You must enter by Monday, September 16th.  Identity of the judges is a closely guarded secret but I can tell you that we are fortunate to have an expert on food of the tex-mex variety, another gentleman of discerning taste and a well known chef.  I hope you will all come out for some chili and listen to the music of Upper Road.

 I was just sitting and visiting with some friends the other day about the good old days and the name Lester “Pinkie” Abell was mentioned.  Most of you will probably remember Pinkie Abell.  The thing that came to mind for me was Pinkie riding his motorcycle.  Now Mr. Abell did farm and ranch work and he dressed the part, he wore tall cowboy boots and tucked his pants into the tops.  I can still see him in his cowboy clothes  on what was the first full dressed Harley-Davidson motorcycle that I ever saw, it even had a stereo.

 You may have noticed the activity going on Highway 81 across from the Bob Givens Sports Complex.  I am starting a contest, it’s a guessing game.  What is going to be built on that site?  So far I have heard several different things.  #1 is a new bank, #2 is a dollar store, #3 is a new bank and a dollar store and #4 is a house.  If you guess correctly you get bragging rights.  I don’t know about all of you but I’m giddy with anticipation to find out what’s going to be built.