One day, Spud was having his favourite bottomless cup of white trash coffee in a local truck stop diner and was pouring over his map of the United States to see where he should venture to as his next destination. As the tato glanced at the States, he remember so many fun and interesting adventures he had been on. Each place that he had visited were marked with either pen scratches or highlighter. Amidst the hundreds of places on his travels, he noticed that one particular part of North America didn't have any marks what so ever - that place was smack dab in the middle of the USA! Needless to say, that had to change, and the tuber reached for his tour guide to see what interesting sites lay in hiding in the heartland of America. The first state that immediately jumped out was named after one of his favourite musicals: Oklahoma!

Apparently the state had been referred to as 'The Sooner State' prior to the release of the famed Rogers and Hammerstein musical, and officials adopted the name in the hopes it would attract folks to settle. Population was very sparse prior to that as no one knew what the hell 'The Sooner State' was supposed to mean. The decision to rename the state to Oklahoma was a good one though, as it certainly brought a lot more folks to the territory. Unfortunately, many turned around and left again after finding it really had nothing in common with the musical and very few show tunes were heard on the radio and in local bars.

Now this is not to say that the state of Oklahoma hasn't churned out some decent music over the years... The state has produced some fairly memorable names in the music industry, such as Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire, however those two pale in comparison to Oklahoma's biggest stars: Roger Miller & Sheb Wooley.

WTF??!!  They have a museum for Sheb Wooley and Roger Miller?

These icons of the music world churned out ballads of epic proportion and monumental influence that would change the world forever. As such, the town of Erick, Oklahoma erected a museum to immortalize these two greats.

Inside the cavernous 150 square foot museum lay a wealth of treasures connected with the town's prodigys including the crown jewels of the collection: A magazine ad with Roger Miller posing with a giant Gabriel Shock Absorber, and a stuffed Sheb Wooley One Eyed, One Horn, Giant Purple People Eater (not to scale of course) Indeed, Erick Oklahoma has much to be proud of.

Kingfisher - birthplace of the man who shattered the family business

Amidst all of its native sons, Oklahoma is probably best known as being the birthplace of The Captain of Commerce: Sam Walton - the man behind super retailer Wal-Mart. The year was 1950 when Sam Walton opened the doors of his 5 and Dime store and a few decades later his retail leviathan has been effectively swallowing up mom and pop retailers and leaving a wake of vacant storefronts, shattered dreams and crushed economies in small towns around the world.

The next stop on Spud's tour was to head further East to visit Oklahoma City, the capital of the State. Oklahoma City is a city that is in the process of recovery after the economic oil bust hit the area hard back in the 1980s. Oil production has kicked back into high gear and once again the city is growing even though they still don't have regular productions of the musical playing. Oklahoma City is also known for the tragic terrorist bombing that took place at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown on April 19, 1995. The blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. 324 buildings were either damaged or destroyed within a sixteen-block radius.

Spud  reflects on the sanctity of life at the Oklahoma City  National Memorial

It was a sad time in the United States, however in he true sprirt of resiliency, the city and its people rebuilt. Today, the Oklahoma City National Memorial now resides on the grounds where the Federal Building stood and is truly a spectacular, thoughtful memorial of the event and the lives that were lost on that day. Spud visited the Memorial to pay his respects much the same as he had done after the loss of the Twin Towers in New York. It was a sobering site.


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