A group of Custer County 4-H’ers took a step back in time recently to help some out-of-staters learn about the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889.
Members of the Custer County Performing Arts Club, along with some of the Custer County 4-H Horse Club, dressed in period costumes and led visitors on a walking tour at the Oklahoma Land Run Monument in Bricktown in Oklahoma City while presenting information about the state’s beginning and some of the individuals involved in this historic event.
The group was invited by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, to be part of the OKC Western Heritage Bus Tour for individuals in Oklahoma City for the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show.
Madison Stephens, a member of the Performing Arts Club, said the information the group presented at Bricktown was based upon a play she wrote for the club earlier this year.
“I learned so much about the Oklahoma Land Run while doing research for the play. We talk about this part of history in school, but not as in-depth as my research,” Stephens said. “We added a few characters for this presentation so we could involve more kids and they’ve really enjoyed it. It really helps them work on their public speaking skills and helps them with their history classes, too.”
Samantha Rother, 11, reprised her role of Lou, who was known as the town gossip, for the historical tour.
“I really like playing Lou because it’s fun to play the one everyone else loves to hate,” she said with a grin. “My character likes to talk behind people’s backs and tell secrets.”
Rother, who has been in the Performing Arts Club for a couple of years, said aside from being fun, it also has been a learning experience.
“I’m excited to learn about history because it’s my favorite class in school,” she said. “I love being on stage and performing.
Fifteen-year-old Karson Frans also reprised his role from the land run play as he talked to the visitors about what it was like to ride a horse in the land run. He also did a roping demonstration at the end of the presentation.
“This is a lot of fun and helps me build skills like leadership and public speaking,” Frans said.
At the end of the presentation and tour of the Oklahoma Land Run Monument, the visitors were treated to homemade biscuits, along with butter they churned themselves.
Barbara Kane, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, was in town for the AQHA World Show, and indicated she knew nothing about Oklahoma’s history.
“This has been absolutely fabulous,” Kane said. “It was so informative and the group’s attention to detail, from everything they talked about, right down to their costumes, was just great. All of the kids were so informed about the roles they were playing. This really was a treat to experience.”
Jordan Nel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension 4-H educator in Custer County, said she is very proud of her club members.
“Madison got the call about this wonderful, educational opportunity and got everyone organized. She basically told me what I needed to do and when to be there,” Nel said. “This is exactly what 4-H does for its members. It teaches them responsibility, leadership and accountability, and that’s what happened to make this event come together.”
Story by Trisha Gedon