In honor of the 100th birthday of the great American western screen star Roy Rogers, his oldest daughter Cheryl Rogers Barnett, along with her husband Larry, are on tour paying tribute to the late King of the Cowboys and his wife/co-star Dale Evans Rogers.
The tribute will be held in the Texas Theater at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at 110 W. Main St. in downtown Waxahachie. The program will include a question and answer session with Cheryl and she will also be available for pictures and signing of her book, “Cowboy Princes,” in which she tells of her life growing up in the Rogers’ home.
Barnett’s acting career was brief, being introduced in a film feature “Meet Roy Rogers,” and she had a line in the movie, “Trail of Robin Hood,” and “Outlaws of Paradise Valley,”
In an interview with the Daily Light, Barnett shared some of her experiences of being raised in the home of the famous couple.
My dad and mother were as opposite as they could be and their interests were 180 degrees of each other,” Barnett said, saying that her mother loved to attend the theater and meet people while her dad was more introverted and loved the outdoors.
“Dad loved to tease mother and he could make her so angry she could kill him – and then he would deliver a one-liner that would make her break out into laughter,” Barnett recalled.
She spoke of her dad’s unique relationship with his beloved horse, Trigger, saying there were more than 100 tricks he could do.
When the original Trigger died, Roy wanted to have him mounted for display, but Barnett said her mother vehemently protested, saying it wasn’t right because scripture referred to “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and she reasoned with her husband it wasn’t right to put a dead animal on display.
But the famed cowboy argued back, saying the horse was largely responsible for his success in show business and it was something he wanted to do.
“My mother asked him how he would like it if he were to die first and she had him stuffed,” Barnett said. “My dad told her that would be fine – he’d like that. So the joke began that she told everyone that she didn’t want to go first or he’d have her stuffed.”
Roy and Dale raised nine adopted children throughout their marriage, which spanned from 1947 until Roy passed away in 1998. According to Barnett’s website, Roy stopped off in Dallas during a personal appearance in Texas to visit the babies at Hope Cottage. As Roy told it, all the babies in the nursery cried when he leaned over the cribs and tickled them under the chin – except for Cheryl, who grasped his finger, smiled and cooed. He said it was love at first sight and he couldn’t wait to take her home to his then wife, Arline. A year later, Arline passed away and later Roy married Dale Evans on New Year’s Eve of 1947.
Barnett’s husband shared a story about a credit card Roy Rogers carried.
“During his latter years, I basically drove him to different places,” Larry said. “There was this one time when we stopped in to a Union Oil service station – Roy would give me the card and I would fill the car up. When I went inside to pay the bill, the station (clerk) looked at the card, smiled and said, ‘Nice card.’ ”
The credit card bore the name “Roy Rogers and Trigger.”
“As far as we know, Trigger was the only animal to ever have a credit card,” he said with a laugh.
Roy Rogers passed away in 1998 and his wife, Dale, passed away in 2001.
Admission to the tribute is $2 for adults and $1 for children under 12. For ticket information, call Tim Eaton, Texas Theater manager, at 972-937-1993.
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