Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive June 2017 Show 1726 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1726

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1726

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we bring you our swan song as we say our final goodbyes with a little Oklahoma inspired music.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1726

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1726

For more information visit these links:

Cain’s Ballroom-Tulsa

Dog Tired Guitars

Master Works

Lone Star State Dulcimer Society

Oklahoma Horizon


Show Details

Show 1726: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: June 25, 2017



Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” So how do you say goodbye? Few things are more difficult or, I believe, more important. Today, we will do our best to bid a fond farewell to a show that has been a passion of mine and I hope a pleasure of yours for the past 12 years. We begin with a tribute to an iconic musical venue where generations of dances may live on thanks to an Oklahoma craftsman.

Roger Cowan: My original idea was to just find random old structures and build out of that so that I could tell a story that’s not really been told before.

Rob: For many, the music of the dulcimer is the sound of Americana. We will meet an Oklahoman whose rural roots have helped him go international.

Russell Cook: We don’t want to take on a giant learning, 20-year process. I want something I can go home and start having fun with tomorrow.

Rob: And we will look back over our time of telling the good things in the great state of Oklahoma. Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company -- with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. So where has all the time gone? Today marks our 650th and final episode of “Oklahoma Horizon” – our swan song. Now, a little later we will take a look back through all the years we’ve shared, but first, what would a swan song be without some music? Our Austin Moore takes us to an iconic musical venue in Tulsa to show us how one Oklahoman is honoring the generations that have scooted across the Cain’s Ballroom dance floor.

Austin Moore: For those searching for the best in music, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys offered some sound advice back in 1941.

[Music: Take me back to Tulsa, I’m too young to marry. Take me back to Tulsa, I’m too young to marry, aha].

Austin: The most iconic of Oklahoma’s live music venues, Cain’s Dance Academy, was then known as the home of Bob Wills, as during the Great Depression radio station KVOO broadcast Wills’ music daily spreading its hopeful tone to reaches as far-flung as California and even Hawaii.

Austin: Rebranded Cain’s Ballroom in 1977, the ownership at that time began booking nationally touring bands from popular genres. So when you look at the walls in the office today, you are bound to be surprised a time or two.


Austin: Though it was a 1978 concert by British punk rock band, The Sex Pistols, that redefined Cain’s and opened a new chapter in its story.


Austin: This was No. 6 of seven shows played by the controversial band in the United States. After the show, Sid Vicious is said to have put his fist through the wall. This wall. One more piece of history maintained and honored by the Rodgers family, who purchased this registered landmark in late 2002.

Chad Rodgers: We knew at that time we were going to need to put a lot of money into the place. It needed it. So we shut down in May of 2003 and renovated it all summer. And reopened on Oct. 1 with Dwight Yoakam, a sold-out show.

Austin: Chad Rodgers and his brother Hunter serve as general managers at Cain’s.

Rodgers: People were very concerned, I remember, during the renovations. Because, you know, just bringing it up to code was in itself a huge task. I mean, all new plumbing, all new electrical, fire suppression system, just things that the building had never had. It never had central heat and air.

Austin: But the real controversy came a few years later when the Rodgers finally had to make the decision to replace the aging dance floor.

Rodgers: People didn’t realize that underneath here it was just basically a pit and dirt down there, underneath. So it dropped down about a foot and a half and it was all just like – dirt [laughs].

Austin: The 80-year-old floor was lauded for its springiness, but revered for the thousands of first dances, first kisses, first moments that had happened here.

Rodgers: Yeah, the old owner of Cain’s, I remember when we bought Cain’s, he said to us, he said, “Man, there are going to be people who tell you they, that there were marriages and divorces made on that floor,” you know, like, [laughs] and probably plenty of other things. But it has been a couple of years ago, but we had a couple stopped in. They were traveling across the U.S. and they were in their late 80s. And they stopped in and they said, “We met here,” you know, “60-some years ago.” And they were like out here walking around and so all the sudden I turned on the star, up here and the mirror ball. And I look out here later and they were underneath here kind of dancing and kissing. And it was like, man, my heart just melted. I mean, it’s just really cool.

Austin: So how do you honor a bit of 80-year-old tongue-and-groove flooring that has laid witness not only to musical greats, but to the cherished memories of a community as well?

Roger Cowan: You figure there is 80 years of just wax and gunk that was down in the crevasses of this flooring. So to get a good strong glue joint I’ve got to get all of that cleaned out.

Austin: Roger Cowan has always been a maker.

Cowan: When I decide I want to do something, I’m, I am typically not terribly fearful about what if I mess up because my philosophy is, if somebody else does this, then I can too. If a person makes it, well, I’m a person. I should be able to do it as well.

Austin: That can-do attitude led to Roger building his first guitar from scrap wood from the site of a historic church and upcycled military surplus items. From there, he formed a company called Dog Tired Guitars and has gone on to make incredible instruments including this one, for brothers Bo and Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe.

[NATS — music — I friggin love it. It’s awesome. Crush it].

Cowan: For me, the whole point behind Dog Tired is to tell stories.

Austin: Which is the motivation for Roger’s Heritage Series of guitars.

Cowan: What I am doing is I am finding one structure in each county in Oklahoma. I’m going to build one guitar out of that structure. And it is going to come with sort of a full history and a certificate of authenticity and all kinds of cool stuff. I didn’t have the intention to just seek out historical buildings to build from. My original idea was to just find random old structures and build out of that so that I could tell a story that has not really been told before, for me to do some research and find out, you know, the family that owned that place and their stories. That is what I want to do is to just add color to sort of what is already known about the state history. Yeah; yeah. Of course, I wasn’t going to turn down wood from Cain’s though [laughs].

Austin: The idea to build from this wood came from a friend with an eye on the value of music education.

Cowan: So he had an idea of maybe building a guitar to auction off or raffle off for Tulsa Public Schools’ music education. So I’m building two guitars for Cain’s. One for the Tulsa charity. And then one will be my Tulsa County heritage series guitar.

Rodgers: In the past we did some picture frames with the old wood floor. But now having actually music instruments that someone is going to be playing, that, 80-something years of people walking on this thing and now you are playing it is really cool. Yeah, it’s really cool, we are excited.

Austin: Which is exactly the inspiration Roger Cowan is looking for.

Cowan: This stuff is just so, [laughs] so much character. You can see 80 years of dents and dings and refinishes, and so, you know, each one of those little scraps gets more and more wax added in, so it gets darker than the rest of it. And it’s just, it’s not that I don’t like perfection. But I have a much bigger appreciation, I think, for the imperfections.

Austin: And that is the story of Cain’s. The perfect notes, blended with the sour. The laughter mixing with the tears. The classic – the modern – the uniquely Oklahoman – all coming together as one. Soon to be enshrined in these guitars.

Rob: Now, if you would like to follow Roger’s progress on the Cain’s guitars, look for a link to his website under this story on Well, as we mark our final show here on “Oklahoma Horizon,” one of the things we have always been proud of is helping students gain the experience to get that first professional job. It’s long been a passion of mine, and nowhere is that more evident than with our very own Austin Moore. Austin was a freshman in college when we first began working together – oh, so many years ago – and through the decades, he’s become one of my favorite storytellers with all the technical skills to back it up. As we go to break, a few more blasts from the past.

Andy Barth: Fifty years ago, nearly 80 percent of all jobs required only a high school diploma. Hey, Rob, I want to congratulate you and everyone at “Oklahoma Horizon” on an amazing run. I was really honored to be part of the team for a while, and whether I was noodling for catfish or searching for ghosts, I truly loved telling those amazing stories of the Sooner State. I will forever be grateful for the friendships I made and the experiences I had. Congratulations.

Courtney Maye: Thank you, “Oklahoma Horizon” for giving me my start in the broadcasting industry and fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was 3 years old. The impact and influence that you’ve had in my life will be something that I will carry with me forever.

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: Well, the hammer dulcimer is played around the world. It is a distinctive sound that can trace its origins back to antiquity. But in this country, it was the folk revival of the mid-20th century that breathed new life into its rich full tones. Our Blane Singletary introduces us to an Oklahoman who has made the dulcimer his life work.

Blane Singletary: It’s a sunny afternoon with music ringing through the air at the 36th annual Lone Star Dulcimer Festival.

Russell Cook: If you ask any multi-instrumentalist -- guitar, banjo, fiddle, all that other stuff -- every last one of them will tell you this is by far the easiest instrument they’ve ever learned.

[Music: Ode to Joy].

Blane: That’s Russell Cook of Master Works Dulcimers.

Cook: Older folks, we don’t want to take on a giant learning 20-year process. I want something I can go home and start having fun with tomorrow.

Blane: While dulcimers tend to attract an older demographic, Russell has had a long history with this instrument.

Cook: I was 23 years old, just graduated from college, brother-in-law invited me to Mountain View, Arkansas, to that first ever dulcimer festival in ’79. But when I got Mountain View, all these great players, some from Michigan and other parts of the country were there. I was overwhelmed by the voice of the instrument and the people that were gathered there. I’d never been to a folk festival before.

[NATS: music].

Blane: And that would be the first of many festivals to come. He learned quickly and by 1981, won his first national championship. He would go on to record several albums, all the while perfecting the craft of making these instruments.

Cook: You gotta have something to build, you gotta have a design, you gotta have a sound. And I think that’s been a big part of the success of Master Works is not that I’m so good at any one thing, but I’m a musician and a craftsman. So I was working not just for something that worked or something that was beautiful to look at, it was the sound that I was totally focused on.

Blane: From his first dulcimer, made from an old, broken and abandoned piano, to his special Russell Cook Edition hammer dulcimers, Master Works instruments are enjoyed by musicians and music lovers the world over.

Cook: I think it started off as Master Woodworking or something like that, not just Master Works. And they asked, “Why? What does that mean?” I said, “Well, I wanna be a master of the work that I do, and I wanna be about the work of The Master while I do it.” So Master Works suits us.

Blane: That group of three craftsmen started in 1991 in Estes Park, Colorado, and by 1994 moved to a business incubator in Russell’s small, rural hometown of Bennington, Oklahoma.

Cook: So that’s how we first wound up here at Bennington. But we kept an office and a showroom and did our shipping from Arlington, Texas. Well, we had very few retail customers there, we were shipping them everywhere they went, or I was going to festivals. Well, this is sort of silly, so we built our own place here in 2000.

Blane: Despite its remote location, thanks to modern technology, this rural business has a global reach.

Cook: The internet and UPS, you can live on top of a mountain, you can live on a beach, you can be anywhere, out in the middle of nowhere here in Bennington, Oklahoma. It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s a great place to live, and UPS actually comes by here every day, you know. So whatever I build, you’re gonna find it on the internet, or you’re gonna hear it on a recording or meet someone that’s playing it at a festival somewhere.

Blane: Today, Master Works hammer dulcimers are seen as some of the best elite, performance-quality dulcimers on the market. And Russell says that’s because they focus on the quality of each instrument they produce, not the amount they can produce in a year.

Cook: We’re not an intense, hurry up and get it done kind of a place to work. This is a real touchy-feely, accuracy first, quality and perfection as much as humanly possible. Then we’ll work on the speed later. It’ll come with practice, y’know, and that’s worked out well for us.

Blane: It may take a lot of time and hard work to craft one of these instruments, but it’s a pleasure to enjoy one and its unique voice.


Cook: The voice is just different than any other instrument in the world. My brother-in-law says there’s just something ancient inherent in the sound of a hammer dulcimer.


Cook: I’ve just got a stack of letters and emails in abundance from folks that just, from the CDs that I’ve recorded and from the instruments that we’ve built for them, how it has changed their lives. Literally changed their lives. People in general, and I firmly believe in this, you know, God created us, he gave us air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, but God is not just about the essentials. He wants to make us happy. So he invented music, gave us the gift of music to enjoy. You might not die without it, but you’re not the same person without music of some kind in your heart, in your life. It’s arguably, you know, one of the most beautiful things that so many people are missing out on.

Elizabeth Kinney: Rob, congratulations. You’ve made such an impact on so many people’s lives, including mine. I will never forget getting the opportunity to be on camera for the first time. You knew when to challenge, when to push us to dig deeper. Thank you for your years and your support in influencing me.

Kela Kelln: It’s incredible just how far technology has come. I cannot thank “Oklahoma Horizon” enough for giving me my start in television. I will always cherish the memories made with the “Horizon” team, and I wish everyone the best of luck.

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips – join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: Well, it’s been said journalists walk on the shores of the vast pools of other people’s knowledge. And nowhere has that been more true than here on “Horizon.” As I look back over the past 12 years, it has been quite the education – hopefully for you, and certainly for me.

Rob McClendon: From our very first show.

Rusty Muns: And now from the CareerTech studios in Stillwater, here’s your host, Rob McClendon.

Rob: Our mission was simple. So what’s in a name? Well, for us the very name “Horizon” signifies what we hope to bring you each week – a look towards the future while very much living here in the present – trying to share insight into our ever-changing world.

Lowell Catlett: So how much of your disposable income does it take to eat in the United States of America? It’s the lowest it has ever been in history, the lowest in the world. It’s 9.6 percent. Are you with me? Average American household has 70 percent of their disposable income after eating, drinking, eating out, owning a home, paid their utilities, hooked to the internet, left to do what? I call it buying crap.

Rob: Telling stories that were never sensational and strove to be substantive.

Rick Garrison: What Eric has gained doesn’t measure up in any magnitude to what he has given to our school.

Rob: Examining economic trends and social issues that affect us all.

Nick Pinchuk: America is a great country. And it’s a great country because of the middle class and the achievement of the American dream. It has succeeded, not only because of the brilliance of the few, but the efforts of the many.

Rob: Our reporters crisscrossed the state going places few ever go, from mucking around in sewers --

Andy Barth: Just waiting to spring a leak.

Rob: -- to climbing atop a wind turbine, we covered the world of work looking at how to get a job and how to keep it.

Porsha Lippincott: And make sure you guys are careful with those heating elements.

Many of the best jobs in the U.S. are what we call middle skills jobs. They require very advanced technical skills. They do not require a four-year college degree.

Rob: So we spent as much time on shop floors as in corporate boardrooms.

Rep. Frank Lucas: Maybe not everyone is going to go to a four-year, comprehensive university. Maybe you’re going to go to a community college or junior college, a two-year program. Or Oklahoma has an outstanding CareerTech System.

This is something that I’m not just going to learn so I can take a test. This is something I’m learning so I can be productive in society and life.

Rob: Focusing on the world of work from every perspective and from every corner of the globe.

Rob: But rather than hurt Israeli agriculture such factors have actually helped it. But the story of Anjolla University is much more than grim tales of war atrocity. In Havana, Cuba, I’m Rob McClendon. Not that we didn’t know how to have a little fun, from the rattlesnake roundups to trying our hand at noodling.

Kaleb Summers: Full experience right here, Mr. Andy.

Andy Barth: Ow! Scared the crap outta me. Oh, yeah!

Rob: We tried to give you an up-close experience with what work is about.

Giving them a trade or a skill, but actually helping them be placed into the job.

Ralph Passow: Here, camel, here, camel! Whoo, whoo!

Rob: Meeting people from all walks of life and learning the lessons from the paths they’ve taken.

Passow: Do not get in a line, cause you’ll never be first when you’re in a line.

Rob: Simple Oklahoma wisdom.

Gary Kirk: Had an old ag teacher tell me one time, he said, “I teach ‘em about life, and if there’s any time left I teach ‘em about agriculture.”

Rob: Lessons from America’s heartland that guide us all to our next horizon.

Wade Hayes: This is a precious day, and it’s, it’s flying by us.

[Wade Hayes singing: Go live your life, go chase your dreams, we’ve got no way of knowing what tomorrow brings].

Rob McClendon: Well, television is kind of like an iceberg, and I am just the tip. Every one of the 650 “Horizon” shows we have produced over the years was a team effort. From the outset, I have been blessed to work with people who can balance creativity with execution. And on our current staff, both Austin Moore and Blane Singletary, well, they are triple threats – meaning they can shoot, write and edit – and their work, I would put up against anybody’s in the business. Karen Hart also wears just as many hats doing graphics, copy-editing and our digital delivery, not to mention just keeping us all organized, while Gayle Scott who is sitting in our director’s chair right now, has had the unenviable task of working with me each week in post-production and has the patience that knows no bounds. Now, over the years, our staff has definitely shrunk, and I miss every one of them, but will always be proud to call them colleague.

Brian Bendele: “Oklahoma Horizon” was all about the opportunity to tell the world about the good things that happen in the state of Oklahoma. So for me, I want to say thank you to all those that helped produce this show and best wishes in the future.

Courtenay DeHoff: Thank you guys so much for everything you’ve done for me. I’m now in Dallas working for “Eye Opener TV.” This is market five, and I owe it all to Rob and everyone at “Oklahoma Horizon.” They taught me how to shoot, produce, edit and be on air. What a show, so many great years it’s been, and I am so honored to have been a part of it. You guys helped launch my career.

Female Announcer: Want to see more stories like this? All our segments are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV.

Rob McClendon: Finally today, some final thoughts. Air – it is invisible and all around us and something most people don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about – but we do. Public airwaves are limited and therefore precious. They are not a gift, but a sacred trust. And for the past 12 years, we have been tasked with the stewardship of a half an hour of public air each week. It has been our honor to carry that responsibility – to make efforts to fill that time wisely and usefully. As we step aside today and relinquish our role in managing this time, we offer our thanks, first and foremost, to you, our viewers, who welcomed us weekly into your homes. I also want to thank the individuals willing to stand in front of our cameras so that we may tell their stories and learn something from them. And none of this would have been possible were it not for all of the stations that have partnered with us. It has been a privilege to share this time – these airwaves – with you. I’m Rob McClendon. Thanks for watching. It has been my pleasure.

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education – with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.