Bob Wills tour bus returns to Tulsa

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About four years ago, Lee Roy Chapman set out on a quest to find Bob Wills's 1948 Flxible Clipper tour bus. He found Bob's bus, and a companion -- the bus of Wills's good friend, western swing bandleader Hoyle Nix -- rusting in a field near Big Spring, Texas, Nix's home base. Chapman reached a deal with the owner to hold the option on the bus until he could raise the money to pay the asking price and bring the bus back to Tulsa. The hope was to exhibit it here, near Cain's Ballroom, the house that Bob built, and take it on tour as well.

It seemed like an impossible dream at the time.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, Bob's bus came home, thanks to the help of Loren Frederick. Here's a photo from his Facebook page of the bus entering Tulsa County at the Turner Turnpike terminus.


I hope to have more of the story soon, but in the meantime western swing fans can look forward to the day when we can once again "Ride with Bob."

MORE: Lee Roy Chapman also put forward the idea that the arts district north of the Frisco tracks in downtown Tulsa should be marketed as the Bob Wills District, rather than the Brady Arts District, named (indirectly, by way of Brady Street and the Brady Theater) for Tulsa founder, segregationist, Democratic National Committeeman, and Klansman (but I repeat myself) Tate Brady. Read his This Land Press investigative report on Tate Brady's role in vigilantism, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and its aftermath.

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Graychin said:

The "Bob Wills District"?

I like it! Let's do it!


"...Tulsa founder, segregationist, Democratic National Committeeman, and Klansman (but I repeat myself) Tate Brady."

How do you hope for any credibility when you make remarks like that? We all know which party the segregationists and Klansmen populate today.

Which party is that, Graychin? I don't see any segregationists or Klansmen at Republican events.

Graychin said:

Please proceed, Mr. Bates. Don't stop digging.

It's true that many of the numerous Dixiecrats-turned-Republican like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond are dead. Of course the party of their youth left them during the 1960s. Fortunately the GOP "southern strategy" welcomed them with open arms.

But many of them like Trent Lott are still around. And it's probably true that Pat Buchanan rarely comes to Republican events out here in flyover country.

Don't believe me? Believe J. C. Watts:

Pat Buchanan, Jesse Helms, and Trent Lott weren't/aren't segregationists or Klansmen. Buchanan hasn't been a Republican since before 2000. The articles you linked have nothing to do with either topic. And I'm not going to argue with you further on what was a jokey aside. This ain't the Tulsa World comments section.

Larry Blomberg said:

Did Bob Will shave several tour buses at different times?. I have 3 pics of his tour buses and they are all different except for the fact that they are all Flxibles. Thanks - Larry

He did have different buses over his thirty years of touring with a band. I believe the one found in Big Spring is likely the one he used leading up to his retirement as a band leader in 1964.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 13, 2013 1:14 AM.

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