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Award-winning local Wild West performers headline showcase at Annie Oakley Festival July 29-31.

In Local News on July 11, 2022 at 11:24 am

Greenville, OH – The 19th Annual American Western Arts Showcase is slated for July 29-30, 2022, during the Annie Oakley Festival at the Darke County Fairground, 800 Sweitzer St., in Greenville, Ohio. Each of the stage-style Wild West shows features whip marksmanship and knife throwing performances as well as some trick roping, stunt demos, comedy routines and audience participation. The showcase event is free and open to the public.

Presented in the spirit of the stage-style Wild West shows of the late 19th Century, each production will include some detailed history of how these arts came to be and who still practices them today. Award-winning bullwhip performer and coach, Gery Deer is the show’s founder, emcee, and producer. “This is a one-of-a-kind show in this region,” Deer said. “We have some of the best Wild West arts entertainment anywhere in the Midwest with real practitioners of each skill.”

Gery Deer of Jamestown is producer, performer, and emcee for the American Western Arts Showcase, each year at Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, Ohio. The 2022 season marks their 19th year.

Deer started the event in Jamestown, Ohio, in 2002 but has been a regular presence at the Annie Oakley Festival every year since. “Our goal has always been to educate as well as entertain, ours is a dying art form,” Deer said. “These are talented performers with genuine ability, no fakery, no tricks. Everything you see in our show is real – and all of our shows are in 3-D and high definition!”

Champion knife thrower Kirk Bass, of Xenia, Ohio, is co-producer of the event. He and his daring wife Melodee are known as “Bass Blades,” a long-running impalement act.  They are among the performers to take the open-air stage for the competition and matinee show beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. Contests begin with the National Whip Speed and Accuracy Exhibition Competition, the world’s only Bullwhip Fast Draw contest. Plus, there is a contest taken straight from the big screen.

In 1981, a fedora-wearing, leather-clad archaeologist threw the crack heard round the world when he “whipped” a pistol from the hand of a jungle guide. At the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones demonstrated his skills with the holstered fast-draw of a 10-foot bullwhip, all while having to spin around to take aim first.

In the spirit of Dr. Jones’ proficiency, the competition includes a special, “blind bullwhip fast draw.” Contestants must mimic the move used in the film to turn, draw their holstered whip, and crack at a target with speed and accuracy.

“With the popularity of Indiana Jones among western performers, particularly whip artists, it’s odd this hasn’t been done before,” explained Deer, who holds multiple, national whip speed and accuracy titles and is the director of The Whip Artistry Studio, the only permanent whip training facility in America.

The final showcase performance for the weekend will be at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. However, Deer will also appear at the festival as a solo performer beginning at 12 Noon on Sunday, July 31, for a series of Indiana Jones-style whip performances, complete with costuming.

The event is sponsored by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd., The Whip Artistry Studio, and the Annie Oakley Festival Committee. For links to the festival and sneak previews of the performers plus updated show times, visit ohiowesternarts.org.

Harry S. Truman, the Accidental President

In Education, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized on January 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

I’ve always been interested in politics and, given how public I am in some ways it’s not unexpected to have people come up to me and ask why I don’t run for some public office. Given my work and family commitments, I don’t really see that as a viable option. If I did run, though, I know where my inspiration would come from.

While everyone else is quoting Lincoln and idolizing Thomas Jefferson, I would probably try my hardest to emulate Harry Truman. My generation probably doesn’t know much about our 33rd president. I know I didn’t until I watched a documentary about him recently. Then I did some research of my own.

Truman is featured in many pages of America’s history book but is most noted as the man who made the final decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, forcing their surrender to end World War II. Upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, Truman was sworn in on April 12, 1945, but the presidency was a job he never had any ambition to hold.

Harry was a man of short stature (5-foot, 8-inches in height) but big accomplishments. He didn’t even enter politics until he was 33 years old and, by that time, he had, in his own words, “failed at everything he tried.” As a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a concert pianist, practicing for hours on end. His mother was a college graduate, a music teacher who, to some, probably seemed a bit over protective of her small, bespectacled son.

Socially awkward, young Harry rarely roughhoused or played sports like the other boys his age and he was thoroughly terrified of girls. That is, until he summoned up the courage to talk to Elizabeth “Bess” Wallace, a girl he’d virtually grown up with and finally married many years later after numerous rejections to his courting.

His father held many jobs, finally tending his mother-in-law’s farm before being severely injured and incapacitated. Harry was forced to leave his job as a bank clerk and forget his dream of college to work the farm and help pay off the family’s mounting debt. Later, he joined the army during World War I, where he became an officer. After the war, he and an army buddy opened a haberdashery which later went bankrupt. But, as usual, Truman didn’t give up.

Shortly afterwards, Truman ran for the office of district judge, essentially a county commissioner, in Jackson County, Missouri. Though he weathered his share of scandal in the corrupt, good-old-boy system of Kansas City, his straight-forward honesty and no-nonsense demeanor seemed to resonate and he eventually won a seat for the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate in 1934. His rise to the second-highest seat in the government came almost by accident and with great trepidation by many in the party.

When Roosevelt died, it was immediately apparent that Truman’s White House would be run quite differently. His “regular guy” persona was in stark contrast and a welcome change from FDR’s upper-class style. His impoverished upbringing probably had something to do with his detest of wasteful spending and Truman became known as the chief of all budget hawks. At one point, he even had the entire White House gutted and refurbished to protect it from further deterioration while also saving public money on excessive repair.

In the end, however, the simple clerk from Independence, Missouri proved to be much more than the accidental president. He had managed to create foreign policies that are still the basis of modern diplomacy, he was one of the first presidents to work towards equality in the workplace for African Americans and he helped restructure the country’s economy after World War II.

I could go on and on about this man, but you should look him up on your own. Harry S. Truman’s is a story of great struggle, fortitude and achievement from a man who many considered a lifetime failure with no focus or ambition. With today’s staggering level of corruption and waste in government, America certainly could use another, “Give ‘Em Hell Harry.”