(Note: The below
article was published in the Thursday, August 27, 1970, issue of the
Ponca City News.....Myrtle (Peggy) Prentice, now of
Fairview, remembers with pleasure and nostalgia the, season she
spent with the 101 Ranch Wild West show, 1925. She has written, for
The News and 101 Ranch fans, the following account based on her
By MYRTLE PRENTICE
The 101 Ranch as well as the Wild West Show was owned and operated
by the three Miller brothers; Joe, Zack and George of Ponca City.
Zack Miller, in his book, "The Fabulous Empire," wrote of how the
ranch was established. I will endeavor to describe the beauty of it.
The big "White House" centered a spacious lawn. Surrounding it were
employees quarters, a
fine orchard, grocery store, Post Office, canning plant, large
stock barns, corrals, rodeo grounds as well as herds of buffalo,
cattle and horses.
The welcome mat was out for all who
cared to come and visit, and
people came from all over the world.
A schoolmate of mine, Hazel Plank, and I signed with this great
organization in 1925, to ride with the cowgiri string.
We were on the ranch three weeks before going on the road, and
during this time put on several rodeos and made some scenes for
three moving pictures. The stars were; Marion Davies and Jack
Mulhall, adopted son of Col. Zack Mulhall and thus brother to Lucille. Mulhall,
the famous cowgirl of those days.
The big day came when we were to leave the ranch for parts unknown.
Our first stop was Kansas City. We arrived in a pouring rain, and
riding on that muddy lot made me a bit homesick, but my father,
having been a bronc rider with the
Pawnee Bill Show, had told me that if I came running home when the
going get rough, he would disown me. He didn't get that chance.
We were all through the South and while there encountered some very
severe storms. In leaving Birmingham, Ala., we were asked to leave
the sleeping cars and ride out on the
steel flats; as the Millers were afraid that if we remained in the
coaches the road bed might wash out, and we would be drowned. We
huddled under canvas and pole wagons in that rain for two days,
going back into the privilege cars just long enough to get
something to eat.
It was like being in the middle of a large lake.
It was in one of these downpours that I made my first big mistake
of the season. I came on the lot and was asked by Col.
Joe to get up into the ticket wagon out of the rain. As I sat by
the front window a man came up and asked if I had seen any "Bull
Men" around. Seems as though he had a pole wagon stuck in the mud
and needed an elephant to push it out. Not knowing they call
Trainers "Bull Men," I promptly replied, "No, but there are a
lot of cowboys out back." Well, this became the joke of the season.
Of course it wasn't all rain; there was also a lot of sunshine mixed
in. The time Mrs. Zack Miller brought the children on to see their
Zack Jr. was the proud owner of a little Shetland pony and all the
cute western gear that went with it, And when Mr. Joe had a
birthday party and we were all invited to their private car to
We traveled through so many beautiful states and cities. Up state
New York, the New England States. Went swimming in the Great
Lakes, visited Niagara Falls, in all her splendor.
Went boating on the "Maid of the Mist," a boat carrying passengers
down under the falls, Walked on the famous "Hurricane" deck and
the spray from the falls came over on us.
We also visited the capital of the United States and crossed the
beautiful Potomac River. We went. sight seeing whenever we could. Had
the pleasure of touring New York City and Coney Island.
While touring the eastern cities there were many little children who
came to the lot without money for tickets, so
Mr. Joe, Zack or George would raise the side wall of the tent and
let them crawl under. This made many a little boy and girl happy.
We had some of the greatest
riders and ropers of all times with the show, such greats as
Tad and Buck Lucas, Velda and
Louis Tindell, Kenny Williams,
Hank Daraell, Buff Braidy, Dick Shelton, Joe Braire, Zeima
Zimmennan, the Blatherwick children, Eddy and Tillie Bowman,
Blondie Russell, Clair and
Bob Belcher, Leo and Leonard
Murray, Peggy Murry, Rene
Hafley, Eddy Botsford, an Indian interpreter, Tex Cooper, an
announcer, who was often mistaken for Buffalo Bill, Bill
Pickett, who bulldogged steers with his teeth. To accomplish this,
great feat, he sank his teeth into the animal's lip, bringing him
down every time.
Then there were California
Frank Hafley and wife, Mamie
Francis, with their great shooting act, Ezra Meeker, the grand old gentleman, and Dan Dix, with his famous trick mule "Virgil." It is also my understanding that Will
Rogers started his fine rope spinning act while visiting the Miller
Brothers. I shall never be able to recall the many names of those
who played important parts.
Through the kindness, and understanding from the hearts of three
great men, Joe, Zack and George Miller, the 101 Ranch Wild West show
was born. It seems such a pity when the Miller Brothers died, that
the "Fabulous Empire" died with them. It was one of the greatest
attractions Oklahoma has ever known. I feel very proud to have
traveled with this great organization.