A TRIP TO REMEMBER

The Virginian was a great western classic. This is a screen shot from show with James Drury as the Virginian and his horse Joe D.
The Virginian was a great western classic. This is a screen shot from show with James Drury as the Virginian and his horse Joe D. | Source
A true animal lover.
A true animal lover. | Source

Charity Ride for Veteran's Open Horse Show

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Autographed Pictures

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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Saddle Up Saturday

The Virginian is now part of INSP’s line up for Saddle Up Saturday. As of September 2012 which marked the classic western’s fiftieth anniversary of its airing we are proud to say through much demand INSP agreed to air The Virginian in celebration. It has been added along with another newcomer The High Chaparral and ran along with already featured classics, Bonanza and The Big Valley. This event was a celebration all its own.

My Favorite Classic Western Television Show

It all began two summers ago when I restored my love in watching westerns. My favorite western is The Virginian, a series that was aired back in the years 1962-1971. I was only 7 years old when this show first aired. You could say I grew up with the show. James Drury’s character The Virginian was one not only of mystery because he never had a given name, but the star’s talent and looks on screen became an icon to everyone who watched him. His sidekick Trampas which Doug McClure so graciously betrayed was just as mysterious only The Virginian’s role was serious and Trampas was his opposite. Both talents gave the series their best for the entire 9 seasons.

Thank-you Encore for the Reunion

The Encore western channel aired The Virginian every week day at 4:30 p.m. Sadly they did not renew the license to air it for 2012. But I value the chance I had to view the show in 2011. Encore gave me a chance to get a blast from the past. I became drawn to the show and its characters all over again. I began searching the internet for anything having to do with the show’s lead man, James Drury, and found he has his own website www.thevirginian.net. I found James Drury-The Virginian on Facebook where his assistant Karen does an excellent job of running along with his website. He has a group on Facebook called The Virginian Posse which I joined the moment I found it. I chatted with other Posse members from all over the world and we become friends using the internet as our chat source. It gave us all a chance to know where our idol was to be each month. Mr. Drury does not use computers at all. Karen gives him print outs of activity she feels he should see. With such a good assistant he has no need to be online. He’s way to busy for it anyway with all the appearances he makes and travel time he puts into keeping his fans happy.

Meeting James Drury-The Virginian, Visiting Cousins and Making Memories

I got it in my head to take a trip west, a little out of the ordinary for me. Not very far west, but west never the less. I really wanted to meet James Drury, the legendary western movie/television star. He was to be the honorary guest at a Charity Ride for Veteran’s Open Horse Show in Swanton, Ohio on October 1 & 2, 2011. Swanton is located just outside of Toledo. My son Jason and his wife Amy told me if I make reservations for a two night stay in Swanton, they will take me out there. So I made reservations a month in advance to make sure of a room close to the event. We wanted to stay Friday night as to be there early Saturday for the event. We planned to head home Sunday.

We left home around 8 a.m. Friday the 30th. We stopped in Cleveland on the way out to see The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was windy and rainy when we stopped. But fighting the elements paid off getting to the building as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was fantastic. All the greats’ honored under one roof. My favorite was the Elvis displays but they had many other entertainers honored just as graciously. It is truly a great adventure for anyone wanting a bit of history of America’s great rock and roll entertainers.

It had been almost fifty years since the show The Virginian first aired. But I finally got the chance to meet James Drury in Swanton, Ohio. What a charming individual. I knew he would be. I wanted to meet him years ago. Better late than never the old saying goes. Not only did I get two autographed pictures, one of The Virginian era and one current, but I also got to have my picture taken with him twice in the same day and a hug with each encounter. A group of about 18 of his fans, mostly Posse members got to have dinner with him Saturday night after the Charity Ride for Veteran’s Open Horse Show’s first day of a two day event, October 1, 2011. What other celebrities would do that for their fans? I had the chance to ask him anything, but could only manage to ask about Elvis. Elvis’s very first movie, co-starred James Drury as one of his brothers in the movie Love Me Tender. Mr. Drury told me how much he enjoyed working with Elvis in those days, which was 1956. Mr. Drury said he was pleased to have been part of an Elvis picture that actually had a story to tell. Love Me Tender was a movie of the Civil war era, taking place just as the war was ending. It was a western in its own right by all means.

Mr. Drury traveled by car 1250 miles, which took him 4 days to get to Swanton. He was once a commander in the Navy so he had special interest in helping raise money for the veterans at this horse show. He was certainly in his element around horses. I only stayed for the first day of the event but enjoyed it very much despite the chilly cold weather that had to interfere with our occasion. I got some good pictures for keepsakes to boot. You see James Drury fans are just as devoted to him as he is to us.


I had other interest in Swanton

I had other interest in Swanton which made this a special trip for me. I have cousins in Ohio I had never been to see. The only time I saw them was when they traveled to see me. I was so pleased to make them a nice long visit where they live in Liberty Center and Toledo. They were so happy I finally got out their way and that I got to see my childhood hero. They were really impressed to think we were meeting him for dinner that night.

We headed home Sunday as planned, but I really wish we could have stayed for the second day of the horse show. I met a lot of good friends there and meeting James Drury was extra special to me. So taking a trip a little out of the ordinary gave me new memories to hold dear for a lifetime.

Seventh Annual Cowboy Up for Vets April 22-24, 2016

Four years has passed since that memorable road trip and since that time the Cowboy Up for Vet’s event has become a very popular charity. They have changed location to W.B. Ranch in Swanton, Ohio. They added an array of extra special entertainment supplied by the Black Swamp Bandits Mounted Shooters.

A horseshow like no other that offers free admissions and free parking. But bring your wallet as the April 22-24, 2016 event will be working to raise money for the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society and Heroes in Action. This is the seventh show my good friend and fellow Virginian Posse member, Judy Shafer has presented.

The Virginian brings his entire cast to the Seventh Annual Cowboy Up for Vets. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet these classic stars as they help raise money for a good cause and a rare occasion to see this many cast members together at one location. Along with these special guests, there will also be the Lone Ranger (Troy Casey) and Tonto look-a-like (John Phipps).

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Comments 6 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

This is a lovely write up of a fantastic, memorable weekend. I hope you have many more! Rated Up and several others.


marellen 5 years ago

I used to watch that show to and also got to meet cast of The Virginian and Bonanza when I was probably 11 or 12. Sure wish I would of saved their autographs but I didn't. I will have to check out that site on Facebook. Thanks for sharing your story....


Karen Webley 5 years ago

We greatly enjoyed your visit & hope you can return when you can stay longer & maybe have nicer weather!


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Thanks, Patty and Marellen for your nice comments. I don't get to travel often or meet someone as special to me as a childhood hero like James Drury. Karen, I hope to get out your way again. I really enjoyed seeing you and the rest of the family.


PaintedLady2000 profile image

PaintedLady2000 4 years ago from Camden, AR USA

Very wonderful story. I'm so glad you got to meet your childhood hero.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Thanks, paintedLady2000,much appreciated.

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