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101 Ranch Memorabilia, Photos Show Set in Ponca City

Michael McNutt Published: August 1, 1993

PONCA CITY - Almost 90 years ago, three brothers put on a show in northern Oklahoma territory and thousands came.

Another huge crowd is expected to once again flock to northern Oklahoma to see memorabilia and photographs from the heyday of the Miller Brothers and their 101 Ranch Wild West Show.

A show scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22 in Ponca City plans to bring together in one place for the first time dealers and collectors of the 101 Ranch.

Items from other Wild West characters, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Tom Mix and Jesse and Frank James also will be on display, said Jerry Murphey of Corpus Christi who with his wife, Ruth, is staging the event.

"It's going to be a well-versed showing of collectors," Jerry Murphey said. "There are people coming from all over the United States. It's going to be astronomical. " The Murpheys, who claim to have the largest number of 101 Ranch collectibles in the world, also plan to bring along mementos worth about $500,000.

Those include some rifles Murphey recently purchased that were used by Princess Wenona, a Native American champion rifle shooter who performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Murphey said Princess Wenona started in 1885 with Buffalo Bill's show and joined the Miller Brothers in 1907. She later retired on the 101 Ranch on a tract of land given to her by the Millers until she died in 1930, he said.

The special two-day display, held at the Marland Mansion, will commemorate the centennial of the founding of the Miller Brothers Ranch, an empire that once stretched more than 100,000 acres between Ponca City and Marland.

On June 11, 1905, 65,000 people came to the 101 Ranch to watch a show put on by Joe, Zack and George Miller, according to the Murpheys.

That event was the start of the annual 101 Ranch Roundup. In 1907, it developed into the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, which became a worldwide road show.

The 101 Ranch Wild West collectible show is being held during the same time as the annual 101 Rodeo.

The Murpheys say the show will be the first time in decades that so much of 101 Ranch and Miller Brothers memorabilia will be gathered in one spot at the same time.

"It's a dream we've had for five years, and we're going to see if we can't make it materialize," Jerry Murphey said. "The golden opportunity was the centennial celebration of the Cherokee Strip. " Never before have family and friends of the 101 Ranch, Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, Col. Tim McCoy and others been invited to meet, the Murpheys say.

Some family members of the Miller Brothers and their sister, Alma, have agreed to attend.

Western movie star Lash La Rue, who always dressed in black and carried a whip, also will appear. And Bob Edgar, one of the last Old West sharpshooters, will be shooting his Colt .45 with live ammunition at targets.

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