For the second weekend in a row I will be hosting Matt Clark’s radio show on Saturday, June 20th, 2015 at 1 PM. The topic this week will be a discussion of traditional Western Arts and a sneak peek at this year’s Annie Oakley event put on by Gery Deer. At the bottom of the hour I will have Gery on to talk about the classic event in Greenville, Ohio and tell stories from years past. It is a topic that is dear to me. It will also be a different kind of show from the typical AM radio discussion that often circulates around politics. Western Arts to me transcend politics and are part of our American heritage which should be preserved at all cost. Click the video below to see a summation of the 2014 Annie Oakley event.
July often resets my American patriotism each year starting with the Fourth of July and ending with the Annie Oakley event which takes place in Darke County, Ohio on the last weekend of every July—celebrating the old western performer’s birthday in Greenville. I get more out of the event than I put into it—whereas people like Gery make it all happen. I show up and participate in the bullwhip contests, but most of the time I watch the performances of the other participants with genuine glee, because most of them make their livings as actual western art performers.
One of my favorite films from the past is Clint Eastwood’s Bronco Billy where he plays a nearly always broke western performer. I used to watch that movie and admire that character as a pure American creation. A part of me always wanted to live that life—and if I didn’t have children and a wife that I was responsible to, I might have done just such a thing—roaming from town to town performing western arts for a sleepy America in hopes of igniting in just a few youth here and there the wonders of freedom and western expansion from a historical perspective.
Gery Deer is the closest person I’ve ever met to a real life Bronco Billy. He has a background that is white-collar; he’s a writer, a television producer, a computer technician, a college graduate well versed and quite comfortable in professional settings. He’s been on America’s Got Talent and done films as a material supplier for projects like The Rundown. He also runs the only bullwhip studio in America from his home where he teaches the art form to students. He’s also a bit of a geek, and attends sci-fi conventions with boyish enthusiasm. But at his core he’s a western performer and vaudeville musician. His band the Brothers and Company performs most weekends of the year and is a throwback to yesteryear with their compositions. He’s a very unique person who fits best in a motion picture screen rather than real life.
Gery could be a grotesquely rich man if he wanted to be, but he’s too authentic to be. He will steer his material a bit to fit the regulations of the industry as he does for television. He stays away from controversy so that he always has options, but to his core, he’s a very solid family man and an advocate of old-fashioned entertainment. He’s as old school as there is in entertainment. He will bend, but he never breaks and has been that way for the entire decade that I’ve known him.
It is a pleasure to bring people like this to the surface who work in the cracks of life to a broadcast audience like those at WAAM. Even though Gery is clearly a successful person, he is slightly out-of-step with mainstream entertainment, which is decidedly how Clint Eastwood was in Bronco Billy. Both characters possess the tools to be as successful as they want to be, but are stubborn in their adherence to classic American art. This makes Gery always a bit of a “where’s Waldo” type in a busy society. When he is hired for a show, it’s for his skill, his depreciating humor, but more than anything, the classic vaudeville style he still brings to Americana. His best friends are bullwhip artists, sadomasochists who live in the back of their vans 12 months out of the year and eat based on their latest job in every back hole-venue they can come up with. He is close friends with Hollywood stuntmen, sword swallowers, magicians, and knife throwers—and at the same time every television media personality in the Dayton region.
So it will be an interesting hour of radio to an audience who hasn’t had an opportunity to meet people like this in their day-to-day lives. Radio is a perfect venue to place such a unique personality into the public. I have the fortune to know a great number of very unique personalities. It comes from my lifestyle, and I truly wish I had time to nurture them all along. As it stands, I don’t have a lot of time for people in general. I make time when I can, but most people I enjoy most only get time with me a few times a year. And they understand because they are all equally diversified. Matt Clark of course is one of those people and I am glad he is fulfilling the parameters of his secret mission/honeymoon—and that I have the opportunity to cover for his show and bring some color to the AM landscape. For the radio listener there needs to be something unique they are getting from the experience—something they couldn’t get otherwise, and Gery is certainly one of those people.
Be sure to tune this weekend to the live show. Of course I’ll have the actual pod cast up at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom, but there is nothing like live radio—not knowing what is coming next. I’m going to preface Gery by talking about my history with bullwhips and what the value of that relationship is regarding classic American value. That by itself will be interesting enough. The show will then migrate into my relationship with Gery Deer and the upcoming Annie Oakley event which is unique in America. For the casual listener it will be an entertaining hour. For the seasoned veteran, it will be confirmation and reassurance that you are not the only one out there. There are others.