Today is Friday, July 21, 2017

Cheryl Rogers-Bennett hosts salute to the Cowboy King

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Not only did Cheryl have Trigger, Roys golden palomino, as her pet horse, but there were dozens of other creatures around the ranch due to the singing cowboy stars uncanny affinity with animals.

Among other pets, Cheryl and her eight siblings had a raccoon, fawn, skunk and mountain lion, while Roy, a great hunter, had a pack of coon dogs.

We had Angus cattle and sheep for a while. Dad was going to raise pheasants, and he raised rabbits until we had a walk-in freezer with 500 rabbits in it. Our house was crazy, but it was great, said the author of Cowboy Princess.

At dinner time, Dad used to come into the backyard and say, If youre mine come on in, and if youre not, go on home. We had 10 acres. It was a big spread, and we had a yard full, a lot of them the neighbors kids, said Cheryl, who will be signing her books Cowboy Princess and The All-American Cowboy Grill Cookbook, 6-7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce office on the Lebanon square (149 Public Square), an event sponsored by the Chamber and Stockman Supply.

Cheryl also will host a celebration of the 100th anniversary of movie and TV cowboy star Roy Rogers. That event will be held 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at The Theatre at the Patterson Park Community Center (521 Mercury Blvd.) in Murfreesboro and features the Roy Rogers film Under Western Stars.

Asked to describe her fathers personality, she says, It depended on where he was. He was an introvert, and yet, if you saw him at his museum, you would never have known it. With his museum and all his stuff around, he loved giving strangers a guided tour. He liked women, but he was much more comfortable around the guys. He loved being outdoors. He was a big hunter and fisherman, but bird hunting was his favorite of all.

He loved skeet and trap and target shooting. He hunted for wild boar on horseback with a bow and arrow. One of his of the main things he liked to do was get on his motorcycle and see where a road went. Sometimes he would just take off across the desert, said Cheryl, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.

Mom said Dad was born 100 years too late. He would have been a great mountain man or wagon train scout. He loved his dogs. He always had dogs. He enjoyed bowling and was proud of being a 33rd degree Mason.

As for her mother, Dale Evans, an actress, singer, author and devout Christian, Cheryl said, She was interested in everybody. If you were talking with her, it was like you were the only two people on the planet. The most important thing to Mom was her faith. With all of the tragedies in the family, her faith was just incredible. Before she died, she spoke as if it were her graduation. She lived her life for that moment.

Roy Rogers died in 1998 at age 86, and Dale Evans died in 2001 at 88. Six of their nine children survive.

A year ago the Rogers family was forced to close the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo., and sell the hundreds and hundreds of items from their famous parents careers. Roys memorabilia was sold in auctions in Texas, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Missouri and Arizona.

Roys onscreen horse and dog, Trigger and Bullet, had been mounted, and they were purchased by Patrick Gottsch, president of RFD-TV, which has its network operations in Nashville. Trigger, known as the smartest horse in the movies, served as Cheryls saddle pal when she was a child.

He was a wonderful horse. To this day, I cant believe he was a stallion. He was so gentle with me on his back. Yet, you put dad or Richards Farnsworth (Roys stunt double) on his back, and he became the incredible, wonderful speedy thoroughbred that he was. Trigger liked to eat my mayonnaise sandwiches and drank Dads coffee and my Coca-Cola, remembered Cheryl, who made a brief appearance in one Roy Rogers film, The Trail of Robin Hood.

Producing next Saturdays event is Murfreesboro native Fred Goodwin, a cowboy historian and expert on the Sons of the Pioneers.

Under Western Stars was Roy Rogers first starring movie role from 1938, and the film has been restored by the UCLA film laboratory in Los Angeles. This will be the first showing east of the Mississippi, said Goodwin, who owns and operates Concept Productions.

This Saturday afternoon offers a chance to relive the past and have a wholesome family experience as you enjoy this classic Western movie. Bring your children and grandchildren. It will be a memorable afternoon, Goodwin promises.

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