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cowboys

Trae Q.L. Venerable

Trae Q.L. Venerable is a lot of things: a horseman, a houndsman, a writer and an educator, for sure. But foremost, he’s a real-life cowboy who doesn’t fit the image found in most western movies or in country music.

The Kansas City writer is African American and a mix of Choctaw, Cherokee and Black Foot as well as a fourth generation cowboy. He thought he'd do well to write books that honor those previous generations as well as future generations of cowboys of color.

Segment 1: As the tourism industry grows, so do questions about the impact of travel.

Are there ways to enjoy greater acess to travel while also treading more lightly on the destinations we visit? Or do we simply need to cut back?

Segment 1: The story behind a cowboy music band from Kansas City.

Cowboy music is not the same as country-western. We speak with two of the musicians of 3 Trails West — one of the few practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City.

Segment 1: How long does it take to make a friend?

According to a KU professor, it takes 50 hours to make a casual friend (though that's not always guaranteed). We take a closer look into his research, including the online quiz he created to determine the closeness of a friendship.

Johnson County Parks and Recreation District

This Saturday, Antioch Park in Johnson County, Kansas, will reopen its western-themed playground named "Dodge Town."

Complete with a general store, smithy and jail, the township looks less like a playground and more like a Hollywood film set, albeit in miniature.

Scott Wilson, a longtime Kansas City resident and writer, has just one word for how he remembers playing in Dodge Town: escape.

Segment 1: Memories of the wild west are kept alive in Johnson County park.

For many kids who grew up near Antioch Park, 'Dodge Town' has been a place to relive the wild west. As the playground prepares to re-open after being remodeled, we take a nostalgic look back.

  • Scott Wilson, writer and editor

Segment 2, beginning at 11:51: Mary Shelley's classic novel celebrates bicentennial anniversary.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Dannette Ray is standing inside a re-created train depot, wearing cowboy boots, leather chaps and two six-shooters in holsters at her waist. Before she draws her pistols to fire at a row of targets, she calls out: "You get back inside, I'll cover for ya!" — a line spoken by Jimmy Stewart in the 1957 western Night Passage.

Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress / On Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum

The worn-slick saddle encased in Plexiglas is not a standard fixture of the Kansas City Public Library’s grand, marbled entry hall. But it's not out of place, either, considering that the stately former First National Bank building, which opened in 1886, is a monument to how cosmopolitan the cattle industry once made our town.

Public Domain

They may be icons of the old west, but cowboys aren't just an American phenomenon. Today, we learn the long history of the horseback herdsmen, whose roots go back to Africa. Then, we discuss climate change and the complexities of reducing fossil fuel use with environmentalist Bill McKibben. Later, we ask Sam Cossman why on earth he climbs into active volcanoes and what he hopes to gain from doing so.

Jack Hummel, Western Music Association

On a sunny summer afternoon, a group of cowboys took to the outdoor stage in front of the Raphael Hotel on the Plaza and started singing in four-part harmonies.

That band, 3 Trails West, is one of the only practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City — and has been named the band of the year by the Academy of Western Artists and the Western Music Association.

But what exactly is cowboy music? It isn’t country music. Or country-western.

Blake Little

Blake Little made pictures of beautiful cowboys.

Little was a professional photographer, doing film and television work and shooting magazine covers in Los Angeles. When he and a friend went to their first rodeo, he wanted to be a cowboy, too.

“We were hooked immediately, by the whole scene, watching it, imagining that these guys were really doing this, and they were gay,” Little would later say of the first International Gay Rodeo Association event he attended, in Los Angeles in 1988.

'Cattle, Cowboys & Culture: Kansas City To Amarillo'

Oct 23, 2015

The bond between Kansas City and Amarillo, Texas may be stronger than you think.  A train that ran between the two cities led to the shaping of cultures, and a lasting connection.  

Guest:

Michael Grauer is a Kansas City native and Curator of Art and Western heritage at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.