Thursday, July 15, 2010

A horse is a horse, of course, of course

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK — A Nebraska cable TV network ponied up $266,500 for Roy Rogers' stuffed and mounted horse, Trigger, at an auction in New York City on Wednesday.

The movie cowboy's faithful companion was bought by the cable company RFD-TV in Omaha, Neb., at a Christie's auction of items from the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo.

Trigger's sale price outpaced the estimated $100,000 to $200,000 it was expected to fetch, with many other items also selling far above estimate.

RFD-TV's chief financial officer Steve Campione says Rogers reflects the company's values. The network airs mainly agricultural, equine and country living programming.

The company's owner, Patrick Gottsch, wanted to buy the whole Rogers collection but didn't have time to work out the deal, Campione said.

"It came to our attention a little too late," Campione said. "By the time we lined up the right financing and kind of got our arms around the value of the collection, it was literally 24 hours ago."

I’ve watched this channel a time or two courtesy of my sister Kat’s DirecTV hookup, and there are some fascinating country music artifacts on there. Classic reruns of The Wilburn Brothers Show, The Porter Wagoner Show, Pop Goes the Country and Hee Haw—I watched the latter with my father over the Fourth of July weekend, and that rerun was so old that Archie Campbell’s hair was still dark…and Charley Pride looked as if he were twelve years old.

Funny, though—you’d think a channel named “RFD” could make room for reruns of the beloved situation comedy that we remember so affectionately here every Monday. But no dice.

[Julie Ann] Ream, the niece of another famous singing cowboy, Rex Allen, said her family was close friends with the Rogers' family. She said some of Rogers' children didn't support the auction, and she didn't think Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans, would have wanted the collection dispersed either.

"They are spinning in their graves right now," she said.

[Mary Lynn] Cabrall, also a family friend, had another take on Rogers' wishes.

"Roy always said, `When I'm dead, skin me and put me up on Trigger,'" she said. "It's a famous quote. If he got his wish, he'd be up here for sale today."

Well, I’m sure Roy didn’t mean that literally…he was quite the corker once he got a few sarsaparillas in him.

As for Trigger's new owner, Campione says RFD-TV hopes to start its own Western museum and is looking to buy more Rogers items.

In the meantime, Trigger will be put to pasture at either the network's office lobby or Gottsch's house until final plans are made.

Other items auctioned Wednesday included Roy's first guitar, which sold for $8,750, compared to an estimated high of $3,000; his first boots, which sold for $7,500, compared to an estimate of $4,000; and a charm bracelet that sold for $20,000, compared to an estimate of $9,000.

All sale prices include the buyer's premium of 25 percent for most items, or 20 percent for prices in excess of $50,000.

The auction was to continue Thursday with more than 1,000 items, including the Rogers' family dinner table, toy six-shooters, Rogers-themed tin lunchboxes and the Jeep "Nellybelle" from the Roy Rogers TV show.

On behalf of RFD—“happy trails and may the Good Lord take a likin’ to ya!”

(Once again, a generous doff of the TDOY chapeau to Bill “Go ahead and run, kids…the gators will catch up to you eventually” Crider for the link…)

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Scott C. said...

So they moved the Roy and Dale museum to Branson, eh? Figures.

When I was but a wee sprout, my grandparents took me to the museum, which at the time was still located in Apple Valley (the high desert outside of Los Angeles). Sadly, the only thing I remember about it was the praying mantis I saw in the parking lot. And the big dead stuffed horse, which I found kind of creepy, after having seen Trigger looking quite a bit livelier in so many episodes of Roy's TV show.

Amanda said...

In my research, I've also read that much of the family was not happy about the auction. I love Roy Rogers, so to me Trigger is priceless.

Pam said...

Damn. I wanted that.