Our heroes have always been cowboys

We could write today about the end of the special legislative session and the 20-hour filibuster on the “Ford Bill” in the Senate. But what happens in the legislature is erroneously considered by too many people to be remote and abstract, not of interest unless it hits them personally in the stomach. So let us ponder something that will hit many Missourians just that way.

It is with a certain degree of sadness that we hear a Nebraska cable television company has paid $266,500 for the skin of a horse that’s been dead for 45 years.

It’s Trigger.

The taxidermist-mounted and preserved image of Roy Rogers’ great horse is one of the items from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum being sold by Christie’s Auction House in New York. The sale stated yesterday. It’s to end today.

It’s a sad event on several fronts. First, it’s the end of a Branson tourist attraction that couldn’t attract enough visitors even among the busloads of visitors who are demographically right for the museum. The museum moved from the California desert where Roy and Dale had set it up after they died.

But it’s also sad because, doggone it, it’s Roy Rogers. And a hero should never be broken up and sold at auction.

However in an era where the public and the media fixates on things like Lindsay Lohan’s “fame” or Bristol and whatshisname deciding they’re in love after all, who cares anymore about Roy Rogers, the symbol of the ultimate in white hat goodness for generations that not only don’t care who Lindsey Lohan is and thinks it’s nice but hardly worth the breathless reporting that Bristol and whatshisname are serious now?

Well, a lot of people do. And they’re showing by the prices they’re paying for the memorabilia from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, formerly of Branson that Roy Rogers will always be real and always be a hero to them.

Roy’s first boots have brought $7,500. His first acoustic guitar has brought $8,750. Dale’s Texas Star boots and hat and belt buckle also brought $8,750. Roy’s director’s chair has sold for $11,250. A set of his rodeo clothes sold for $10,625. Somebody has bought Roy’s Pontiac Bonneville for $254,500. Trigger, as we mentioned, is headed to RFD-TV for $266,500.

And Roy’s silver parade saddle—if you’re a Roy Rogers fan you’ve seen it in photos—has gone for $386,500.

The high regard for the things Roy Rogers stood for and for what he and Dale have meant to 20th century Americans (and citizens of the world, probably) is reflected in those prices that are often well above the original estimates sales figures. The estimate for the saddle, for instance, was $100-150,000. Christie’s had the same pre-sale estimate for Trigger.

As we write this, Buttermilk–Dale’s horse–has not been sold, nor has Bullet, the dog, or Nellybelle, Pat Brady’s eccentric jeep.

We’re sorry the museum will be gone. But the prices people are paying for the things that were in it proclaim the enduring value–and valueS—of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Oh, we know that the world they presented in their films and television shows was a fantasy. But Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were and apparently still are more a reality to many people than anybody in today’s world of “reality” entertainment.

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