On The Bricks

August 28, 2020

          Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. It is an emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.

The bright red capes of bullfighters (matadors, not rodeo bullfighters) that are used to incite the bovine opponents into spectacular rages is a topic addressed in The Book of Bizarre Truths. The phrase “seeing red” is believed to have originate from the fury the color seems to provoke in the bull.

          The truth is that Bulls are partially color – blind and don’t respond to the color red at all. The red color of the cape is just eye candy for the audience, much like the bullfighter’s suit.

          There is nothing the matador does that makes the bull angry. It is in ill humor before it enters the ring. The bulls aren’t bred to take quiet walks in the park on Sunday afternoons. They are selected because they exhibit violent and aggressive behavior. By the time they hit the bull – fighting arena, just about anything sets them off.

          These bulls have personalities like John McEnroe. The color red doesn’t make them angry – everything makes them angry.

          Famous Okie information: Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party. Each June, Okmulgee hosts the annual Pecan Festival.

Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: Don’t buy things you don’t need.

Made me laugh: A friend said he told his wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised.

Aug. 31 the Main Street Cash Mob is hitting the Golden Crown. The mobsters, who are all volunteers that promise to spend a minimum of $20 at each monthly mob, will be able to go to Golden Crown and view online and can even get curbside service if they are COVID weary. The group is so happy to get back to their retail therapy! Anyone who wishes can be a part of the Main Street Cash Mob. Just contact Melyn Johnson,, if you would like to be a part of this fun group.

On Sept. 14 a circus is coming to Guymon. And on Sept. 18 is the Guymon High School homecoming.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

August 27, 2020

          Carter’s Country Supercenter in Guymon is opening on Sept. 3. And they’ll have plenty of shopping carts for their shoppers. Here’s an interesting story about the shopping cart.

An Oklahoma entrepreneur used a simple folding chair to change the way the world shopped. In the late 1930s, Sylvan Goldman was trying to find a way to increase sales. At his two grocery store chains in the Oklahoma City area, Standard and Humpty Dumpty, he noticed when the wire hand baskets became heavy, most customers headed for the checkout.

          Goldman imagined this problem could be remedied if shoppers had a way to conveniently carry more items through the aisles. Puzzling over the problem in his office one evening, he was struck by inspiration when a simple wooden folding chair caught his eye. What if that chair had wheels on the bottom and a basket attached to the seat? Or two baskets?

          The grocer explained his idea to Fred Young, a carpenter and handyman who worked at the store, and Young began tinkering. After many months and many prototypes, they hit on a design they thought might work. Goldman’s first carts used metal frames that held two enormous baskets 19 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. When not in use, the baskets could be removed and stacked, and the frames folded up to a depth of only five inches, preserving retail floor space.

          His customers were reluctant to use the new contraptions at first. He then hired models of various ages to shop with his “folding carrier baskets.” Eventually they caught on. In 1937, Goldman founded the Folding Carrier Basket Company to manufacture his carts for other stores. They became so popular that by 1940 he was faced with a seven – year backlog of new orders.

Famous Okie information: Chad Richison founded Paycom in 1998. It is one of the first companies to process payroll completely online and has been recognized by FortuneForbes and Inc. Magazine for its continued growth as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. A native Oklahoman, Richison was born in Tuttle, graduated from Tuttle High School, and holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. Richison lives with his family in Edmond, Okla., and is deeply involved in his community.

Keep going on New Years resolutions: Let go of grudges and leave hate behind.

Made me laugh: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” ~Will Rogers

Aug. 31 the Main Street Cash Mob is hitting the Golden Crown. The mobsters, who are all volunteers that promise to spend a minimum of $20 at each monthly mob, will be able to go to Golden Crown and view online and can even get curbside service if they are COVID weary. The group is so happy to get back to their retail therapy! Anyone who wishes can be a part of the Main Street Cash Mob. Just contact Melyn Johnson,, if you would like to be a part of this fun group.

On Sept. 14 a circus is coming to Guymon. And on Sept. 18 is the Guymon High School homecoming.

Go by and visit Carter’s at 1902 N. Academy in Guymon.

See you on the bricks, soon! Stay safe.

On The Bricks

August 22, 2020

          Olivia Joules is the character is a set of novels about a freelance journalist with an overactive imagination, written by Helen Fielding. Olivia Joules teaches you these Rules for Living:

* Never panic. Stop, breathe, think.

* No one is thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves, just like you.

* Never change your haircut or color before an important event.

* Nothing is either as bad or good as it seems.

* Do as you would be done by, e.g thou shalt not kill.

* It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only quite like.

* Hardly anything matters. If you get upset, ask yourself, “Does it really matter?”

* The key to success lies in how you pick yourself up from failure.

* Be honest and kind.

* Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance.

* Trust your instincts, not your overactive imagination.

* Don’t expect the world to be safe or life to be fair.

          Famous Okie information: Basketball coach Bertha Frank Teague from Byng was the first woman in the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

Keep going on your New Years resolutions: Reduce your waste. Some research says the average American produces over 2,000 pounds of trash every year. Reduce your waste by ditching paper towels in favor of rags you cut up from old towels and clothes. Another easy switch is to use reusable grocery bags. It makes a difference!

Made me laugh: Parallel lines have so much in common. Too bad they will never meet.

Hope you had a great time at Pioneer Days. Thank you to the many volunteers and sponsors that made it happen.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

August 17, 2021

Oklahoma has a rich and long western tradition. We are celebrating that tradition this week with Pioneer Days, with four rodeo performances for our enjoyment. A great time to be in Guymon! Here’s a little more Oklahoma western tradition.

Jesse Chisholm was born around 1805 to Ignatius Chisholm, of Scottish descent, and Martha (née Rogers), a Cherokee. Jesse moved with his mother to Indian Territory during the early period when some Cherokee migrated there voluntarily from the Southeast, and he grew up in the Cherokee culture.

In 1830, Chisholm helped blaze a trail from Fort Gibson to Fort Towson in Indian Territory. Six years later, Chisholm married Eliza Edwards and they resided in the area of her father’s trading post on the Little River near its confluence with the Canadian River in Indian Territory.

Fluent in several languages, Chisholm served as an interpreter and general aid in several treaties. This diplomatic work spanned 20 years, between 1838 and 1858. During this period, he also continued in the Indian trade, trading manufactured goods for peltry and for cattle.

During the Civil War, Chisholm led a band of refugees to the western part of the territory. At the end of the war, he settled permanently near present-day Wichita, Kansas, and began to trade again into Indian Territory. He built up what had been a military and Indian trail into a road capable of carrying heavy wagons for his goods. This road later became known as Chisholm’s Trail. When the Texas to Kansas cattle drives started, the users of the trail renamed it the Chisholm Trail.

Chisholm died on Mar. 4, 1868, at his last camp near Left Hand Spring (now near Geary, Okla.), due to food poisoning. He is buried there.

Made me laugh: If you wear cowboy clothes are you ranch dressing?

Good advice: Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. ~Robert Frost

Pioneer Day Rodeo is Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. The Parade is Saturday at 10 am. The Family Fun Time at the Fairgrounds is Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm (with a Food Court). The mercantile is Saturday and Sunday at the Activity Center.

We will have the Farmers Market going on Saturday. It is a great time to get a fried pie or some blueberry bread for breakfast. You can also get some lip balm if you forgot yours! Pick up your fresh melon for lunch, too. We would love to see you before and after the parade.

Catch you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

August 13, 2020

          William Pickett was one of the first great rodeo cowboys and is credited introducing the sport of bulldogging. He was born on Dec. 5, 1870, in Travis County, Texas, the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary “Janie” Gilbert. Pickett was of black and Cherokee descent.

          He and his brothers learned to ride and rope as young boys. By the time he was 18, he and his brothers began breaking horses and a cowboy service called Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association in Taylor, Texas. Credited with inventing bulldogging, the skill of wrestling a running steer to the ground, Pickett began to supplement his income by demonstrating his bulldogging skills and other stunts at county fairs. Legend has it that Pickett resorted to biting the lip of a difficult steer to wrestle it to the dirt.

At age 20, Pickett married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter of a white plantation owner. The couple eventually had nine children.

          In 1907, with these skills, he was hired as a cowhand on the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma and participated in the Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch Wild West Show that featured notable western characters such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, and others. Pickett moved his family to Oklahoma.

          The show toured around the world. During these times he was sometimes banned from shows because of his color and was forced to claim to be a full – blooded Indian in order to perform. Pickett performed in the show until about 1916.

He later appeared in the silent films The Bull-Dogger (1921) and The Crimson Skull (1922). Pickett continued to work on the ranch until he was kicked in the head while breaking a colt at the 101 Ranch. A few days later he died of his injuries on Apr. 2, 1932, and was buried on the ranch, north of Marland, Okla., near Ponca City.

He was honored by the U.S. Postal Service, who featured Pickett on a stamp as part of its Legends of the West series.

          Today the cowboy skill of bulldogging is still popular on the rodeo circuit. The PRCA, professional rodeo cowboy association, describes bulldogging as “speed and strength are the name of the game in steer wrestling. In fact, with a world record sitting at 2.4 seconds, steer wrestling is the quickest event in rodeo.

The objective of the steer wrestler, who is also known as a ‘bulldogger,’ is to use strength and technique to wrestle a steer to the ground as quickly as possible.

“The steer generally weighs more than twice as much as the cowboy and, at the time the two come together, they’re both often traveling at 30 miles per hour. Speed and precision, the two most important ingredients in steer wrestling, make bulldogging one of rodeo’s most challenging events.

“As with tie-down and team ropers, the bulldogger starts on horseback in a box. The steer gets a head start that is determined by the size of the arena. When the steer reaches the advantage point, the bulldogger takes off in pursuit.

“A perfect combination of strength, timing and technique are necessary for success in the lightning – quick event of steer wrestling. In addition to strength, two other skills critical to success in steer wrestling are timing and balance.

“When the cowboy reaches the steer, he slides down and off the right side of his galloping horse, hooks his right arm around the steer’s right horn, grasps the left horn with his left hand and, using strength and leverage, slows the animal and wrestles it to the ground. His work isn’t complete until the steer is on its side with all four feet pointing the same direction.

Checotah, Okla., calls itself the Steer Wrestling Capitol of the World for the many world class bulldoggers that call this eastern Oklahoma town home.

Be sure to attend the Pioneer Day Rodeo in Guymon this month where you can watch the sport of bull dogging, or steer wrestling, firsthand. The rodeo will be at Guymon’s Hitch Arena on Sunset Drive, Aug. 21 – 23. The performance are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. The bull riding is the last event at each rodeo performance. Get your tickets early at an outlet for the cheapest price.

On The Bricks

August 8, 2020…rodeo

Oklahoma is known for rodeo. Many a ranch has been the training ground for a rodeo champion in our state. But, not only the champion riders, but also, the champion stock. Let’s talk about some champion bulls.

In rodeo, points are split, 50/50, between rider and bull. The bull’s tenacity, spirit and elegance are judged each ride, just as the rider’s skills are assessed. A crop of amazing bull riders passed through the sport over the years, so too have there been an equally impressive list of animals that rank at the top.

Bulls are just as much athletes as cowboys, and the great ones are respected, feared and admired. There are a few legendary bulls in the history of bull riding that will go down in history — some mean as blazes, others athletes who gave 110 percent. From the budding days of the sport to the now-popular Pro Bull Riding (PBR) series, these are some the bulls that have made watching rodeo thrilling whose history is tied to Oklahoma.

Tornado is one of the first truly legendary bulls in rodeo. In six years and 220 outs Tornado threw every single rider who attempted to last eight seconds. In many cases, riders who drew his name opted out. He was not nasty or ill tempered. In fact, his owner Jim Shoulders reportedly said he was incredibly docile out of the arena, grazing in the field. The 1,600-pound bull’s strengths were his muscularity, agility, and ability to spin quickly and change direction at the drop of a hat. When Tornado was finally ridden in 1968 by the late, great Warren Granger “Freckles” Brown, the rafters shook.

          Tornado’s owner, Jim Shoulders, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, was known as the ‘Babe Ruth of rodeo’. He was born May 13, 1928, in Tulsa, Okla., and died in Henryetta, Okla., on June 20, 2007.

Freckles Brown, who finally rode Tornado, is another Oklahoma cowboy. He was a friend and mentor to bull riding champion Lane Frost, who is buried next to him in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Okla.

Oscar, another great bull, was a California bull. At 1,300 pounds he was considerably smaller than most rodeo. In the first five years of his career, Oscar was ridden by 100 cowboys and not one could stay on. While he was small, he could still make trouble for his riders, usually with a fast, violent spin to the left. By the end of his career, Oscar would be ridden eight times in 300 outs, by just a handful of riders.

Red Rock is one of rodeo’s most famous bulls because in the 309 outs during his PRCA career between 1983 and 1987, he was never ridden. Red Rock was unridable, not because he was mean or temperamental, but because he was smart. He could somehow sense a rider’s moves and then pull a swift and effective counterattack. It wasn’t until Red Rock made a brief return from retirement in 1988 that he was ridden. In this one-off “Challenge of the Champions”, 1987’s PRCA World Champion Rider and Oklahoma cowboy Lane Frost was pitted against Red Rock (himself voted Bucking Bull of the Year in 1987) for seven rides. Frost managed to ride Red Rock not just once, but four times out of seven.

Few bulls were as feared as Bodacious. The 1,900-pound bull was such a nasty son of a gun that he terrified even the most seasoned of rodeo’s riders. Bodacious would explode out of the chute at an impressive speed and, more sinisterly, would throw back his head using his skull and horns as weapons. In 135 outs, Bodacious bucked off 127 riders.

Bodacious, the world’s most dangerous bull, was born in 1988 on the Merrick Ranch in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma.

Bodacious had grown into his full adult weight of 1,900 pounds. “Bo was psychotic. He didn’t like people,” said bull riding champion Cody Lambert. “If you were on his back, he wanted to hurt you.”

An article in the New Yorker described the encounter, “… a split second after leaving the chute, the bull bucked forward with all his might. (Tuff) Hedeman did what riders are supposed to do: he leaned high over the bull’s shoulders and flung his arm back as a counterbalance. But just as he came forward, Bodacious threw his head back – smashing it square into Hedeman’s face. Hedeman stayed on somehow, his hand twisted in the rope, only to get head-butted again, thrown into the air, and bounced off the bull’s back like a rag doll.”

Hedeman lasted four seconds. ” When I hit the ground,” said the bull rider. “I felt numb.” What Hedeman could not see was how his face really looked; how much blood was on it. “When I was walking out of the arena I bit down and my teeth didn’t come together, so I figured my jaw was broken,” Hedeman recalled. “I didn’t realize my whole face was smashed. But when I looked at people looking at me, they looked like they’d seen the devil.” At the hospital, doctors diagnosed Hedeman and said every major bone in his face was broken. Hedeman went through two surgeries which installed six titanium plates and totaled 13 hours. On discharge, the swelling of his face was so extreme that his own young son could not recognize him. He called Bodacious, “the baddest bull there has ever been.”

Then, in the 9th round of the NFR two nights later, bull rider Scott Breding drew Bodacious. Breding gave Bodacious his final professional ride. It took less than four seconds for Bodacious to use the same move that he did on Hedeman to fracture Scott’s left eye socket and cheekbone. He also broke his nose and knocked him unconscious.

In round 10 of the next day, Dec. 11, 1995, the gate opened to reveal Sammy Andrews and then a yellow bull flashed out of a chute without a rider. Andrews announced that his famous bull was officially retired. The crowd was both shocked and relieved. Bodacious was seven years old at the time, still in his prime. 

“I didn’t want to be the guy who let him kill someone,” Andrews said. Andrews said Bodacious would be used for breeding.

Bodacious spent his retirement on the Andrews Rodeo Company Ranch. When the breeding organization, Buckers, Inc., was formed, Bodacious was its first client. 

Be sure to come out to the Pioneer Day Rodeo at Guymon’s Hitch Arena on Sunset, Aug. 21 – 23. The performance are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. The bull riding is the last event at each rodeo performance.

On The Bricks

August 5, 2020

          Last Saturday morning at the Farmers Market, I met two young watercolor artists from Guymon. They were delightful ladies and so very talented. Leyla Meza had a table and sold some notecards with her work and other items. I bought some of the notecards because Leyla’s art made me smile.

          When I got home, I already had thought about several cousins of mine who would love the art on the cards, too, and I sat down and wrote them a little chatty note. I love my cousins. They live a long ways away. I don’t get to see them often enough. It was a good thing to sit and write them. After five notes, I was feeling really happy.

          I had been to a little cousins get together and didn’t even leave my house.

          Thank you to Leyla for giving me the opportunity to share the happiness you bring through your art.

          You might go to the market and meet her yourself. She is a bit shy and quiet. You’ll like her.

          And I made a deal with the baker, Sue Smith, who has some of the best sweet bread, wheat bread, and pies you ever had at the market. She sold all she could at the Guymon and Liberal Farmers Market and then she posted on facebook if anyone wanted to come and pick something that was left up. What was left, Main Street Guymon took and shared with some of our favorite Main Street members and volunteers.

          Pies went to Bank of the Panhandle employees. Pies went to the Workforce Oklahoma employees. And sweet breads went to the various City of Guymon departments. It is the Parks Department, the Street Department, and the Sanitation Department that helps Main Street volunteers in so many ways. What better way to show our appreciate than to support one of our Farmer’s Market vendors at the same time? I felt like Santa Clause. I pretty much have the right shape, but the beard isn’t going to happen.

          It’s a good day to be from the Oklahoma Panhandle!

          Pioneer Days Rescheduled is going to be August 21 and 23. One of my Main Street volunteers and I went out and hung up posters. Well, I drove him and he went and did the hanging. I think we’ll have more to do tomorrow. The Chamber has a full Schedule of Events out on their website and Facebook page and there are some left at businesses around town.

          See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

August 4, 2020…telephones

The telephone is a remarkable instrument and its history is interesting. From the first concept of a voice being transmitted to today’s cell phone is amazing. But this little bit of its history shows us, it is interesting, but it wasn’t easy!

The phone has been one of the most profitable inventions in the history of the United States. Today it is the most used piece of communication equipment in the world. Globally, about $1 trillion is spent annually on telecommunications products and services.

It started in 1667, when Robert Hooke invented a string telephone that conveyed sounds over an extended wire by mechanical vibrations. It was to be termed an ‘acoustic’ or ‘mechanical’ (non-electrical) telephone.

Charles Morrison proposed in 1753 the idea that electricity can be used to transmit messages, by using different wires for each letter.

Charles Bourseul wrote a memorandum, in 1854, on the principles of the telephone. In 1854, Antonio Meucci demonstrates an electric voice – operated device in New York. Philipp Reis, in 1861, constructed the first speech – transmitting telephone

On Dec. 28, 1871, Antonio Meucci filed a patent caveat for a device he named “Sound Telegraph”.

Elisha Gray establishes Western Electric Manufacturing Company in 1872.

On July 1, 1875, Bell uses a bi – directional “gallows” telephone that was able to transmit “voicelike sounds”, but not clear speech. Both the transmitter and the receiver were identical membrane electromagnet instruments.

Thomas Edison experimented with acoustic telegraphy and in November of 1875 builds an electro – dynamic receiver.

Also in the year 1875, Hungarian Tivadar Puskás (the inventor of telephone exchange) arrived in the United States and Bell’s U.S. Patent 161,739 “Transmitters and Receivers for Electric Telegraphs” is granted on Apr. 6, 1875. This used multiple vibrating steel reeds in make – break circuits, and the concept of multiplexed frequencies. Bell signed and notarized his patent application for the telephone on Jan. 20, 1876.

Elisha Gray designs a liquid transmitter for use with a telephone, but did not build one, in February 1876. Bell’s U.S. patent No. 174,465 for the telephone is granted Mar. 7, 1876. Three days later, Bell transmits the sentence, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you!” using a liquid transmitter and an electromagnetic receiver.

On Aug. 10, 1876, using the telegraph line between Brantford and Paris, Ontario, eight miles apart, Bell made a telephone call, said by some to be the world’s first long – distance call. Bell’s U.S. patent is granted on Jan. 30, 1877, for an electromagnetic telephone using permanent magnets, iron diaphragms, and a call bell.

Edison files for a patent on Apr. 27, 1877, for a carbon (graphite) transmitter. Patent was granted on May 3, 1892, after a 15 – year delay because of litigation. Edison was granted patent for a carbon granules transmitter in 1879.

The Scientific American in Oct. 1877 publishes the invention from Bell – at that time still without a ringer. The article is discussed at the Telegraphenamt in Berlin, Oct. 25, 1877.

The first commercial telephone company enters telephone business on Nov. 12, 1877, in Friedrichsberg, Germany, close to Berlin,using the Siemens pipe as ringer and telephone devices built by Siemens.

America’s first experimental Telephone Exchange in Boston is built in 1877.

Bell demonstrates the telephone to Queen Victoria on Jan. 14, 1878, and makes the first publicly – witnessed long – distance call in the UK. The queen tries the device and finds it to be “quite extraordinary”. First permanent telephone connection in the UK between two business in Manchester was finished Jan. 26, 1878.

The first commercial US telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Conn., on Jan. 28, 1878. Nine years later, Tivadar Puskás introduced the multiplex switchboard. The First U.S. coast-to-coast long-distance telephone call, ceremonially inaugurated by A.G. Bell in New York City and his former assistant Thomas Augustus Watson in San Francisco, California took place in 1915. It took a year to connect the first telephone line from New York to San Francisco. Approximately 14,000 miles of copper wire and 130,000 telephone poles were needed to link the country.

The initial transatlantic phone call took place in 1927, from the United States to the United Kingdom. Three years later, in the spring of 1930, the U.S. Senate almost voted to ban all dial telephones from the Senate wing of the Capitol, as the technophobic older senators found them too complicated to use.

The longest phone cable is a submarine cable called Fiber – Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG). It spans 16,800 miles from Japan to the United Kingdom and can carry 600,000 calls at a time. One million threads of fiber optic cable can fit in a tube one – half inch in diameter.

          The busiest organization in the world is the Pentagon, which has 34,500 phone lines and receives 1 million calls a day. It received more than 1.5 million phone calls on the 50th anniversary of D – Day.

Getting phone lines throughout rural America was a daunting task (as it was to take electricity there too). Bringing the telephone to the rural portions of the Oklahoma Panhandle started in the early 1950s when a Rural Electrification Administration representative from Washington, D.C. met in the Beaver County Farm Bureau facilities with a group of 35 individuals intent upon acquiring telephone service for themselves and their neighbors. Delegates from Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, Texas, and Woodward counties attended meetings that followed.

The first PTCI manager, Earl Alden, was named. In 1956, the cooperative acquired its first REA loan of $515,000 for improvement of service to 506 subscribers, including 266 new members. Two years later, the cooperative cut over service to its first four exchanges: Adams, Balko / Bryans Corner, Floris, and Tyrone, with about 600 subscribers.

Robert Jeffries was named manager in early 1960. In the winter of 1960 Hardesty, Eva, Griggs, and Felt – Wheeless exchanges were added, soon followed by the Logan exchange in southern Beaver County, early 1962. Kenton exchange was added in 1963.

Their headquarters building, 603 S. Main Street in Guymon, was built in 1962 and continues to serve as the cooperative’s headquarters to this date. In 1967, the cooperative secured a loan from REA in the amount of $1,640,000 to upgrade service.

The year 1973 marked the upgrade of all exchanges to one – party service using all buried cable. The party line was soon to be history. The same year, the cooperative purchased the Turpin area from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (who served the larger towns) with approximately 185 main stations.

Gary Kennedy, who had worked for the company since 1958, was chosen as CEO in 1979. The next year was the completion of the upgrade of all exchanges to one – party service using all buried cable.

In September 1983, the cooperative purchased the exchanges of Hooker and Forgan from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. In 1987, the PTCI network completely converted to digital technology. PTSI entered the cellular telephone business in 1989.

In 1994, PTCI acquired eight new exchange areas from GTE, including Guymon. In December 1994, Gary Kennedy retired, and Ron Strecker became the Chief Executive Officer. He retired after 38 years with PTCI in 2012.

Shawn Hanson, began as General Manager and CEO. PTCI initiated a five to seven – year plan to bring fiber – to – the – home infrastructure to all of the exchanges in the Oklahoma Panhandle with construction beginning in 2015. 

Customers in Hooker were converted to fiber in 2019 and the same year began a five to seven year “Rural Surge” project, extending fiber to all the farms and ranches within our serving territory. The project replaces over 2,000 miles of outdated cable and provides high-speed internet to customers in remote location.

Today Jana Wallace is leading the company as CEO, working to bring these amazing and complicated telephones to us in our homes, autos, and purses. It wasn’t simple back then to get to where we had a good telephone. It isn’t simple now. But PTCI employees make it feel simple for us.  Thank you, PTCI!

On The Bricks

July 28, 2020

For ten years the On the Bricks column has been written by me, putting something down to try and make you smile or ponder, but then followed by things happening in town. I try not to tell the same things that the newspaper and facebook is filled with, but something different. So, I pulled out the information that I had squirrelled away that is just, hopefully, interesting trivia and Oklahoma trivia. It doesn’t hurt to learn more about our state, by any means. Today is mostly trivia. We can learn some of this useless trivia and be a much better conversationalist. That’s a good goal, don’t you think? To not be so boring is a good goal for us all. Heck, we both know, if you don’t think so, you just won’t read it. It’s a good way to handle things.

Walking barefoot on hot coals isn’t as mysterious as it seems, according to The Book of Bizarre Truth. The secret to walking on hot coals has nothing to do with mental might and everything to do with the physical properties of what’s involved. It comes down to how fast heat can move from one object to another.

Some materials, like metal, conduct heat well. They’re good at transmitting thermal energy to whatever they touch. Think of your frying pan. You het it up, slap a juicy steak down on it, and witness an instant sizzle. The metal passes its heat to an object of lower temperature.

Now consider the bed of hot coals that’s used for fire walks. It started out as chunks of wood and wood is a terrible conductor of heat. It is important that the hot coals are not on fire. If you have seen a fire walking demonstration, you may have noticed there were no jumping flames, just smoldering embers. The coals probably have been burning for hours and had built up a layer of ash.

Ash is another poor conductor of heat.

But you still have to make a mad dash when going over the coals. The amount of time your foot is in contact with the coal needs to be less than a second, and with the exposure not continuous, each foot gets a millisecond break with each step. This is how you can make it work for you.

With a poor heat conductor (wood), covered with a layer of insulation (ash), and intermittent exposure to the heat, the likelihood of sustaining serious burns is low.

It still isn’t a good idea.

And if you are a slow runner, it’s a really bad idea.

Means I won’t be trying it. You know, my dad used to say that I was the only softball player he knew that had to hit a home run to get to third base. Really. Slow.

An average penguin can run as fast as an average man. That means I’m slower than a penguin. This self – realization is difficult for me. Don’t worry, I’ll get through it. With therapy. Or chocolate. Or both.

          Famous Okie information: The nation’s first tornado warning was issued March 25, 1948, in Oklahoma City minutes before a devastating tornado. Because of the warning, no lives were lost.

Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: Consider turning off your phone one night a week. You’re sleeping anyway, so you don’t need it. Right?

Made me laugh: I tried to catch fog yesterday. Mist.

          The Farmers Market is going strong on Saturday mornings, starting at 8 am. These gardeners and craftsmen are working hard to bring you tasty, fresh produce that is ripened on the vine. It’s wonderful! Hope you’ll be able to come out. This week the City of Guymon is giving prizes for the best watercolor art brought to the market. I so appreciate what artists can do.

Come out and celebrate the hard work and talent of folks on Saturday morning in front of the courthouse. When we appreciate others rather than try to tear them down, we are a better person! And we can make our community a better place by being positive. Let’s do it!

See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

July 17, 2020 – Presidents

 Pretty soon we’re going to be voting on the Presidential election. How much do you know about our Presidents?

Three presidents died on the Fourth of July: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.

Samuel Seymour was five years old when he was at Ford’s Theater the night Abraham Lincoln was shot. He was the last survivor of that event, dying in 1956.

Not only was President Richard Nixon the first American president to visit both China and the Soviet Union, he was also the first to visit all 50 states while in office.

The Library of Congress was started in 1815 when President James Madison bought almost 6,500 books from former President Thomas Jefferson’s library.

And here’s an interesting fact about the ruling family in England. The British royal family changed its name from Saxe – Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917, during World War I, because its original name sounded too German. The English royals are still today known as the House of Windsor.

Though the Hope Diamond is more famous, the Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found. Unearthed in South Africa in 1905, this 3,100 carat monster was cut into several stones that are still part of the British Crown Jewels.

It is crazy, but not even acid can dissolve a diamond.

Many people have opinions on how to be happy, or content. One bit of advice towards that end that I recently read, “If you can’t manage $1,000, you can’t manage $10,000. If you’re not happy on your own, you won’t be happy in a relationship. If you don’t feel good now, you won’t feel good when you have everything you’re working toward. Money doesn’t make you good with money. Love doesn’t make you love yourself. Success doesn’t make you happier unless you are already happy. You are your own foundation. If that’s not solid, nothing else can stand on it.” Makes sense.

I have a grandson that is going to Texas A&M as part of the Corp and the Aggies have a facebook page for the parents. Recently a mother posted on the site, “My son is in the band and has picked AFROTC. Where can we find what he needs for a physical?”

The answer to her question was posted, “Please ask your son to find it. He registered to join and everything he needed was provided on the registration website. Tell him COL Hawes said he was an adult now and this should not fall on his mother to fix him up.”

I’m guessing not many questions followed. Makes sense.

Famous Okie: Dr. Hall Duncan taught cartooning and advertising design for 17 years at the University of Central Oklahoma. During that time, he collaborated with Don Heath, an African American cartoonist, on an interracial comic strip called Winner Williams, published in the Oklahoma City Times. The cartoon strip was dedicated to teaching children from all ethnic backgrounds to respect and relate to each other in a healthy way. As a result, Duncan and Heath were awarded the National Education Association’s Whitney M. Young Human Relations Award for their work. In 2000, the comic strips were consolidated into a book, The Gospel According to Winner, Larry, and Friends.

Duncan retired in 1986 and began his Humor and Communication Publishing Company in 1998. He has written and illustrated eight children’s books, and trained illustrators in Africa and the United States. He has created four published cartoon features: Les Aventures de Jano and Mopela, (in Central Africa) and Clip-a-Tip for Parents and Winner Williams (in the United States). Duncan’s work has taken him to 28 countries, primarily in Africa.

He resides with his wife in Edmond.

More about Oklahoma cartoonists can be seen at the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, that includes the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame. See more at

See you on the bricks!