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Area 2-Wall 1-Gene Autry
Around the corner is the Gene Autry wall. A TV is set up telling the story of Everett Colborn’s youngest daughter getting Gene Autry to come to her class at school and sing. I ask does anyone know who Gene Autry is? The young people have not. I tell them that Gene Autry is the first singing Cowboy and is the only person that has 5 stars in the Hollywood walk of fame in movies, radio, television, recording and live performances. He made 93 films, some of the Christmas songs he made famous were “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Clause is Coming to Town. Back in the Saddle Again and Ghost Riders in the Sky are more songs he made famous. He stared in 93 films and in one of those films, Blazing Sun, he talks of Dublin, Texas at the end of the movie.
Photos on the wall is a photo of Everett Colborn and Gene Auty on horses in the Parades in New York.
Gene Autry, Everett Colborn and Abe Lefton that was on the cover of newspaper
Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code
Photo of Gene Auty and Rusty McGinty. Rusty McGinty worked for Everett Colborn and was in the film of Rodeo Goes to Town when 20th Century Fox came in 1940.
Photo of Gene Autry and Everett Colborn and surrounding men where Gene Autry is signing contracts.
Gene Autry with Everett Colborn, his daughter Carolyn and two men from Dublin. They are standing in front of Gene Autry’s plane that flew in to Stephenville airport and Gene Autry is dressed as a Leprechaun the late 50’s.
In 1942 Gene Autry merged his rodeo company “The Flying A Ranch Rodeo” with Everett Colborn’s “Worlds Championship Rodeo”. Gene Autry trades his name for 25% of the proceeds and gets top billing and the rodeo company becomes “Gene Autry’s World’s Championship Rodeo and Associates”. Everett Colborn’s name gets downsized but he is still a partner and runs one the biggest rodeos in its time. Immediately after the paperwork is signed Gene goes into the army and Everett Colborn is left to run this huge rodeo company.
Photos on the wall are of Gene Autry going into the army to get fingerprinted, swearing into the army and a photo of Everett Colborn on a horse and Gene Autry in his uniform when he on leave during the Dublin Rodeo.
On the wall is a poster of Gene Autry and Everett Colborn bucking horses named down each side of the page announcing the merger. Hell’s Angel is at the top of the list for Everett Colborn. He is listed the Pro Rodeo Hall of fame in Colorado Springs, CO and in the National Cowboy and Western Museum in Ok City. At Oklahoma City he has a tombstone and is listed as one of the greatest bucking horses of all time.
On the Gene Autry wall are publicity photos, photos of his first wife and second wife. There is also a letter from his second wife sent in 2014 recognizing the Dublin Rodeo Heritage Association as a memory of Gene Autry. I read the last paragraph, “Gene Expressed to me a number of times how he hoped the history and heritage of Everett Colborn, the World’s Championship Rodeo, and the wonderful people and performers involved would be documented and preserved for future generations. He would be very happy to know the Dublin Rodeo Heritage Association is doing just that.”
There are photos of Tioga Texas where Gene Autry was born, including a photo of the shoe shine kit and barber shop where he worked as kid. On the wall is also a photo of a rail station depot where he worked at his first job as a telegram operator. The legend goes that Will Rogers comes in to that station and hears Autry sing, then advises him to go to New York and the rest is history.
Gene Autry died a very rich man. He owned radio stations, hotels, banks and more. He produced TV programs and once owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team. He told his 2nd wife he wanted to take his money with him so when he died in the early 90’s she wrote a check for 400 million dollars and put it in his pocket.