At an early age, my interest in drawing began and I illustrated; Cowboys, Indians & characters from the Sunday comics. It was in the sixth grade that a friend asked me if I had ever drawn a real person, I had not so I gave it a try. Some of the school tablets we used had western stars on them, mine had Roy Rogers, no better place to start than with the “King of The Cowboys”. Once, I took that step there was no turning back; drawing realism had just become my favorite subject. I was hooked.
Fast forward to 1994, I find myself with my son James, friend Sally and daughter Bridget, attending the 60th Anniversary of The Sons of the Pioneers in Tucson, Arizona (the last gathering of the original members). But for me there was a special reason for that trip. At the request of good friend, Fred Goodwin, I had just completed a drawing of Roy, Dale, Trigger and Bullet. The drawing had been accepted to become a new print and Roy wanted to meet me.
The morning we were to meet, Roy and Dale came into a private room at the hotel restaurant. After breakfast, James graciously serving as my photographer , and I were escorted in to meet with Roy and Dale. Roy invited me to sit down beside him and I looked into his eyes, which appeared to be twinkling stars. Emotion overwhelmed me and tears started to run down my face. He was talking and I could not seem to get any words out of my mouth. I felt like my whole life was floating by. I found myself sitting with the very first person I had ever drawn that ultimately put me on the road to my career as a portrait artist. It was all too surreal. We had a nice visit and he told me how much he liked the art, saying “it was the best likeness he had ever seen of himself.”
On Saturday November 5, Roy Rogers would have been 100 years old. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him. He gave us countless movies, television shows, songs and the Sons of the Pioneers.
Below, I share with you some of the art of Roy and the only three pictures to survive that day.
Thanks Roy, and “Happy Trails to You.”