Annual Osage County Historical Society fundraiser barbecue a sellout

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Annual Osage County Historical Society fundraiser barbecue a sellout

Editor’s Note: The following article presents an overview of the Osage County Historical Society’s annual dinner and auction. This was also a tribute to the Historical Society’s first five Osage County Heroes and Legends (Janet Holcombe, Harvey Payne, George Wayman, Strat Tolson and Arthur Shoemaker). Next week, the J-C will share some insight into what made these inductees Osage County heroes and legends.

“Tickets to the Osage County Historical Society’s Annual Barbecue dinner meeting sold quickly,” said OCHS Director Garrett Hartness. “We had so many people wanting reservations that several directors had to sell our tickets in order to accommodate them. To make sure our directors had something to eat tonight, I ordered these (McDonald’s) takeouts!” Hartness’ humor drew boisterous laughter.

“Because of the increasing popularity of our annual event, the committee promises to consider larger facilities next year so that we will not have to turn anyone away. This certainly makes sense since this soiree is the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year.”

The barbecue was held Friday night at the Pawhuska Methodist Family Life Center. Pastor Kathy Morris gave the invocation. Bill Todd and his crew from Marvin’s Deli dished up a five-star barbecue meal. Cody Garnett, assisted by lovely wife Lauren, conducted the live auction which included a vast array of art and baked goods from Osage County artists and some determined bidders.

Sought after items included a hand-crafted belt buckle by James Coldren of JC’s Cow Horn Buckles and a 99 percent silver engraved belt buckle by Bruce Carter of Tallgrass Art Gallery. Bidding intensified with the introduction of home-baked pies and cakes by John Reber, Debbie Reed, Jane Payne and Kathy Scott’s coveted prickly cactus jellies.

The auction included something for everyone from garden decor to autographed books. Art reflected the history and beauty of Osage County, such as the late Kenneth Spence’s rendition of the Round de Osage metal sculptures located west of City Hall, Journal-Capital photographer Jack Buzbee’s scenic view of the falls at Bluestem Lake, and Harvey Payne’s photo of the historic Hulah Depot. Artist Bob Chesbro’s gourd painting portrayed the County’s rich Native American history. Brian Tharp’s charcoal drawing of Pawhuska’s historic City Hall drew an intense bidding war.

In opening the program, Hartness said, “Osage County was built by the strength and character of many extraordinary men and women. It has been stated that ‘place holds power’ over the human spirit, with the challenges of geography and the culture therein. As you listen to the achievement of these individuals, you may begin to believe that the five have molded this land into a place of new trails for generations to come, where all can achieve excellence of life, if they choose. These five people leave a legacy of highest standards. Together, we are honored to name Janet Holcombe, Harvey Payne, Arthur Shoemaker, Strat Tolson and George Wayman, for their exceptional leadership.”

Each honoree was presented with an impressive medallion that featured the Osage County Historical Society logo. Hartness said, “This medallion was carefully enhanced to beautifully portray our county. The committee considered every detail, down to the ‘green’ ribbon which we felt portrays green country.”

As the program drew to an end, Hartness announced a last-minute entry for the live auction with one of two autographed certificates honoring this first round of Osage County heroes and legends. He explained that one document will be on display at the Museum. The certificate contained this quote from Denzel Washington, “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you have accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

Bidding for the piece of history continued to escalate until one guest offered to purchase the document for $1,000, providing duplicates can be given to each honoree. This act of generosity provided an extraordinary end to a beautiful evening.