St. Robert Military Tribute to feature Freedom Rock

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Robert Incontro
City of Saint Robert

Acclaimed Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen to Paint City of St. Robert Freedom Rock

Saint Robert, MO March 28, 2017 – The City of Saint Robert is pleased to announce that we have emplaced a large slab of Missouri limestone that will become a part of the Freedom Rock Tour. The Freedom Rock Tour is an effort by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II to paint unique, patriotic murals on rocks around the country. Sorensen started by painting a large rock in his native Iowa and began traveling the state painting murals in different towns that reflected the town’s history and connection with the Armed Forces as a way to honor them. This has since grown into a national effort with rocks painted in three states with the ultimate goal of two in all fifty states. Bubba Sorensen has been painting rocks for approximately 18 years and is well versed on preparation and painting for longevity. Bubba is also known internationally for his artwork.

The City of St. Robert Freedom Rock is approximately nine feet by 10 feet at its widest point. The size was a challenge to move and set, our rock is set in 12 inches of concrete. The intent of this project is to honor Saint Robert’s and the surrounding communities’ veterans and service members with a unique tribute recognizing their sacrifice. Additionally it will serve to highlight this area’s connection with the Armed Forces and Fort Leonard Wood. We hope that it will draw interest to the area from both locals and citizens across the country that have begun traveling to see the murals painted by Sorensen known as The Freedom Rock Tour.

The rock is located on Saint Robert Boulevard adjacent to our current St. Robert Military Tribute display and M60 Tank. Now that the rock has been emplaced, Sorensen is set to arrive and begin painting in late August and finish by September 11th, 2017. An enclosure will be built over the rock to protect it from the elements and to preserve the mural. After completion of work, a formal unveiling ceremony will be held. The public is encouraged to come out and watch while work is underway.

Any questions or media requests can be directed to the City of Saint Robert, 573-451-2000 extension 1307, or Follow us on Facebook at Bubba Sorensen’s work can be viewed at

Presenting Abraham Lincoln

One score and five years ago bearded Lance Mack shaved off his mustache. When he looked at his shorn upper lip he immediately realized that the face staring back at him wasn’t his anymore- it was the face of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. His first thought was “now what…?”.

At the urging of his wife, Maureen, tall and gangly Mack ventured to Civil War Days at Crossroads Village near Flint, MI. Stovepipe hatless and without a Lincolnesque suit, Mack was greeted by festival-goers with a hearty “Howdy, Abe!”, or a sincere, respectful “Good Afternoon, Mister President”. Union soldier reenactors came to attention and saluted as he approached. The event organizers noticed Mack, who at 6’5″ overtopped the crowd, and asked him to speak. Hearkening back to fifth grade, Mack began speaking, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Rick Perry And Michelle Bachmann Address Republican Dinner In Iowa

Lance V. Mack, as Abraham Lincoln in Waterloo, IA. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Since then Mack has performed as Abraham Lincoln, complete with hat and suit, at hundreds of events. He speaks in Lincoln’s own words and uses portions of Lincoln’s autobiographical essays, his farewell speech to Springfield, Illinois, his first Inaugural Address, The Gettysburg Address, The Letter to Mrs. Bixby, and the second Inaugural Address. When asked about his personal favorite Lincoln quote, Mack had a tough time narrowing it down to just one, but he did decide on the words that first thrust Lincoln onto the national stage. “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

Test-firing Gatling Gun

Lance V. Mack, as Abraham Lincoln, test fires a Gatling gun. Photo courtesy of Lance V. Mack.

Mack’s journeys as Lincoln have taken him throughout the Midwest, to New York City and Boston, and even to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. One of his favorite events is the Lincoln Highway Bridge Festival held annually in Tama, IA.

2016 will mark his first appearance at Old Settlers Day in Waynesville, MO.

To learn more about Lance V. Mack Presents Abraham Lincoln please visit

To learn more about events and activities during Old Settlers Day please visit

First Flyer

Immerse yourself in a weekend of living history!

The Back Porch Players- The Beat Goes On

Paul Stickley, acoustic guitar and banjo player for The Back Porch Players, has been a performing musician since the early 1960’s. His career started as many musical careers do, playing popular tunes that made folks want to dance. In 1963 in El Paso, TX James Brown opened for Stickley’s band, The Saxons, on a local TV show. It seems that James Brown and his band had to beat feet to play a gig in Phoenix, AZ that evening so they decided to play first.

Fast forward to 2002, Stickley and his family make a pact to spend one night a week together to play music and sing and you have the earliest beginnings of The Back Porch Players. Things began to move quickly after they played folk music at a Habitat for Humanity event in Springfield, MO. In 2005 Stickley actively began searching for gigs that were folk music related. He also began doing historical research on the songs that they performed and realized that a lot of the music was from the 17 and 1800’s. This led to bookings at Civil War events in 2006 and by 2008 the band was playing close to 32 weekends a year.

The Back Porch Players are Paul, Carol, Barb, and Kaylin Stickley. The group also includes guest performances by Carissa Gilbert, Elizabeth Coons, and Steve & Lori Allen.

Back Porch Players 2016 no txt copy

The Back Porch Players- Back Row: Steve Allen, Reth Allen, Greg Stickley, Paul Stickley, Elizabeth Coons. Front Row: Lori Allen, Barb Stickley, Kaylin Stickley, Carol Stickley, Carissa Gilbert. The Back Porch Players will be performing Civil War era music at Old Settlers Day in Waynesville, MO., July 30 & 31, 2016.

Some of the songs that they play include “Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Battle of Shiloh Hill”, “Dixie”, “Goober Peas”, “Hard Times”, “I’m Gonna Die On The Battlefield”, “Rose of Alabamy”, “Shelby’s Mule”, “Shenandoah”, “Southern Soldier Boy”, and “The Cruel War”. One song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, is believed to have its beginnings as a tool to teach slaves how to escape from Alabama and Mississippi to the North by using the Big Dipper constellation as a guide.

Partnered dances often accompanied these Civil War era tunes. Victorian balls were often opened by The Grand March. Other popular dances were Paddy Cake Polka, Broom Stick Polka, Virginia Reel, Quadrille, and Schottische.

When asked about finding music from the Civil War era Stickley remarked that “Finding it is easy. The hard part is performing it in a style that is not modern”. He added that Appalachian style music is the most similar to what was performed in that time period. The Back Porch Players arrange the songs to fit their instrumentation to fit the era.

It’s no surprise that The Back Porch Players believe in passing down the musical heritage of the Civil War era. “Music is an expression of the times and how life was affected during this time period,” said Stickley. “We hope to help keep alive a love of the melodies, lyrics, and history of these songs.” Some of those lyrics have a blood connection to The Back Porch Players. An ancestor of Carol Geddes Stickley, General James L. Geddes, penned the Union’s answer to “The Bonnie Blue Flag” while a prisoner of war. Sung to the tune of “The Irish Jaunting Car”, Gen. Geddes lyrics include this verse:

And when this war is over, we’ll each resume our home
And treat you still as brothers where ever you may roam.
We’ll pledge the hand of friendship, and think no more of wars,
But dwell in peace beneath the flag that bears the Stripes and Stars!

The Back Porch Players now only perform nine weekends a year. Fortunately, you can find them at Old Settlers Day & Civil War Battle Reenectments July 30 & 31 in Waynesville, MO.

To learn more about The Back Porch Players please visit

To learn more about events and activities during Old Settlers Day please visit

First Flyer

Immerse yourself in a weekend of living history!

Hidden History Found by Author Kitty Sutton

Kitty Sutton is the author of the historical fiction “Mysteries From The Trail of Tears” series. Although written with an adult audience in mind, the series is also appropriate for, and popular with, readers as young as twelve. Each book, three in all, with a fourth forthcoming, are based on hidden or lost historical events that have been overlooked by scholars or escaped the historical record.

The first installment, “Wheezer and the Painted Frog”, tells the tale of a conspiracy to steal food allotments from the tribes after they relocated to Indian Territory. The missing food caused untold suffering and led to thousands of deaths.

The second book, “Wheezer and the Shy Coyote”, tackles the illegal whiskey trade that exploited tribesmen. The “Arkansas Whiskey War” pitted the Seventh Infantry, garrisoned at Fort Smith, Arkansas, against the merchants who peddled their cheap whiskey to emigrating tribesmen. Sutton states that “the long term effects can be seen today on many reservations across the U.S. in rampant alcoholism, as much as 70%.”

Kitty Sutton

Author Kitty Sutton. Image via Home Grown Books

The third novel, “Wheezer and the Golden Serpent”, takes an international twist as spies for the government of Mexico agitate rebellion in Indian Territory. The conspiracy was a smokescreen to disguise their intentions of regaining the territory known as the Republic of Texas. The author describes Chief John Ross as an unsung hero for “saving Texas from an all out invasion.”

Wheezer and the Golden Serpent

“Wheezer and the Golden Serpent” cover.

The latest installment headed to press, “Wheezer and the Giveaway Child”, probes the ongoing issue of “illegal adoption and the abduction of Indian children out of Indian territory.” This novel has an especially strong connection with Sutton’s own Native American ancestry and family history. Her Grandmother was “adopted out to a family in Missouri” and her family name was lost to time.

Wheezer, the central character of the series, is rooted in historical accuracy as well. The Jack Russell Terrier represents the first of his breed in the United States.

Sutton describes the timeline for each novels completion as between one and a half to two years, which includes research to ensure “my facts are straight.” . Sutton will continue the series for as long as she is able to “dig out hidden historical events”.

Kitty, and her husband, Native American artist, Jim Tatonka Sutton, will both be appearing as vendors at Old Settlers Day in Waynesville, Missouri, July 30th, 2016. In addition to “Mysteries From The Trail Of Tears” novels, they will also have art, moccasins, jewelry, and other crafts available for purchase.

To learn more about Kitty Sutton please visit her website at, like her on Facebook at , or follow her on Twitter at


Route 66 Neon Park Proposed In Saint Robert, Missouri

Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation announced Monday its plan to develop a Route 66 Neon Park within George M. Reed Roadside Park in Saint Robert, Missouri.

This development will be the first of its kind along the 2,448 miles of the Mother Road that stretches from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA. It will feature restored, orphaned Route 66 neon signs in an outdoor park-like setting with corresponding story boards to inform visitors about the history of each sign.

Artist rendering of proposed Route 66 Neon Park in St. Robert, MO.

Artist rendering of proposed Route 66 Neon Park in St. Robert, MO.

Eligible signs would be those that were originally along the Route between 1926 and 1985, have been abandoned and do not have a home, and would not otherwise return to the Mother Road without a park such as this.

Currently the roadside park is home to a US Army M-60 tank which will remain within the park, and be embellished to tell the story of the importance of Route 66 as a thoroughfare for transporting war material to the west coast during WWII. For additional information on the namesake of the roadside park refer to “George M. Reed Roadside Park“.

“Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation is excited to offer a prime location to preserve and memorialize this particular element of the Route’s culture,” said Beth Wiles, President of the organization. “Pulaski County has an opportunity to become an anchor destination along the Route with this development. Mother Road enthusiasts from around the world will want to make Pulaski County a preferred stop to see the ‘neon at night’ in this unique park.”

The opportunity for this development began in November 2013 during the “The Road Ahead” Strategic Roundtable hosted by the World Monument Fund in Anaheim, CA, where Beth Wiles, Executive Director of the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, was in attendance. One of the speakers there was a representative from the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association of Missouri who described the Association’s vision to establish a neon park in Missouri for orphaned Route 66 neon signs. Ensuing discussions between those two parties then led to St. Robert becoming the proposed home for these former icons of the Mother Road.

The Route 66 Association of Missouri and the City of St. Robert will also be the organization’s partners in this endeavor.

A Kickstarter campaign focuses on raising funds for architectural designs and the layout of the park. The campaign offers various levels of backing designed to appeal to individuals, associations and corporations. Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation reminds those who want to “have a hand” in this development to back the project TODAY. The campaign runs for a limited time.

For more information about the Route 66 Neon Park project visit and

Route 66 Association of Missouri- “The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves”

The Route 66 Association of Missouri will hold its 26th Annual Motor Tour, “The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves”, on September 11—13, 2015. This may be the first “hub and spoke” format Motor Tour ever held on Historic Route 66. The “hub” for the weekend of Missouri Historic Route 66-focused travel and fun will be St. Robert. One “spoke” will be a trip to Strafford and back, and the other “spoke” will be a trip to Leasburg. After 25 successful one-way Motor Tours, this new format should be exciting for all Tourists. Everyone will get to appreciate the beauty of the Ozarks that makes traveling Historic Route 66 in Missouri so special.

"The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves”, takes place September 11—13, 2015.

“The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves”, takes place September 11—13, 2015.

On Friday, September 11th, Motor Tour check in will be from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Hampton Inn Ft. Leonard Wood/St. Robert. The Motel is holding a block of rooms until August 21st. For reservations, Tourists must contact the Motel directly at (573) 336-3355 and mention the Motor Tour. Guides identifying places to visit and sights to see, including activities and things to do in Waynesville/St. Robert, will be provided. Driving instructions will also be provided. Each paid registration will receive a dash plaque and window decal. T-shirts and other memorabilia will be available for purchase. A mini-tour will be held that evening; details will follow.

Hampton Inn in Saint Robert, MO is the host hotel for “The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves” .

Hampton Inn in Saint Robert, MO is the host hotel for “The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves” .

On Saturday September 12th, check in will resume at 8:00 a.m. After departing at 9:00 a.m., the Motor Tour will follow the westward “spoke” to Bushmaster’s Rockin’ Race Place outside Strafford to view an interesting collection of hot rods, race cars, and racing memorabilia. There will be a $10.00 admission fee to tour the museum. As always, Tourists may create their own itinerary and stop anywhere they like. At the banquet room of the Hampton Inn that evening, a hearty and delicious meal of fried chicken and roast beef with all the trimmings will be served. Details regarding the evening’s activities will be announced later.

On Sunday September 13th, a nondenominational service will be held at 8:00 a.m. at the Hampton Inn. The Motor Tour will depart at 9:00 a.m. and follow the eastward “spoke” to Onondaga Cave State Park outside Leasburg. On the way, the owner of Belmont Vineyards and Winery outside Leasburg will provide a complimentary tour of the operation. However, Tourists may choose to stop anywhere they like. The Motor Tour will end with a box lunch at the picnic pavilion inside Onondaga Cave State Park. Either before or after lunch, Tourists may tour Onondaga Cave, a unique Missouri show cave, at a special group rate of $10.00 offered only on this day.

Visit to download a registration form, find more details, or check for updates. Or visit us on Facebook at For more information or to receive a registration form, contact Robert Schulz at or (618) 799-8021, or Tommy Pike at or (417) 865-1318. Completed registration forms and payment for registration and meals must be received by August 21, 2015. Meals cannot be reserved after that date. We hope that you will join us on “The Hub and Spoke Tour: Hot Rods and Cool Caves”, the 26th Annual Motor Tour of the Route 66 Association of Missouri!

For a preview of Route 66 in Pulaski County, Missouri please contact Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at 573.336.6355 and ask for their complimentary Historic Auto Tours brochure.

ABA Route 66 Familiarization Tour Rolls into Pulaski County on Friday

More than 3,000 American Bus Association’s delegates gathered in St. Louis January 10-13, conducting more than 100,000 face-to-face business meetings with people from all across North America. In the process, they booked tens of millions of dollars’ worth of business to destinations, attractions and hotels in the United States and Canada.

Following the just-completed 2015 Marketplace in St. Louis, the trade organization has offered tour operators a variety of Post FAM Tours to explore the beautiful state of Missouri.

Pulaski County Tourism Bureau will host 15 American Bus Association representatives on a motor coach tour, Friday January 16th. “These tour operators will get a taste of Pulaski County along their Route 66 themed tour” said Beth Wiles, Executive Director of the Bureau. “We are very excited to show off our county and Historic Route 66. Although we will have just 1 ½ hours with these folks, we intend to show off a few of our best assets- Frog Rock, 1923 Devils Elbow truss bridge, Elbow Inn BBQ which is the original Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop and a good portion of the original Mother Road. We are providing lunch at Cellar 66. Mayor Hardman will welcome the group to Downtown Waynesville, while Old Stagecoach Stop Board President Jan Primas and Curator of the 1903 Courthouse Museum Denise Seevers will present tour venue information from their perspective organizations. Seeing is believing. We are delighted to show our colleagues that we are as promised- A Welcome Place in America’s Heartland… right along Historic Route 66.”

W.H. Croaker, also known as Frog Rock, greets Route 66 travelers into Waynesville. Photo by Cat Spencer.

W.H. Croaker, also known as Frog Rock, greets Route 66 travelers into Waynesville. Photo by Cat Spencer.

One of only two period courthouses on the Mother Road in Missouri , the Route 66 (1903) Courthouse Museum is surely a gem in the historic highway's crown. Photo by Pics By Jax.

One of only two period courthouses on the Mother Road in Missouri , the Route 66 (1903) Courthouse Museum is surely a gem in the historic highway’s crown. Photo by Pics By Jax.

Local historian and Route 66 tour guide Terry Primas will follow up and step on the motor coach to escort them out of the county with a lively and informative tour of Route 66 via Devils Elbow.

Originally the Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop, the Elbow Inn & BBQ has been a Route 66 landmark since 1929.

Originally the Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop, the Elbow Inn & BBQ has been a Route 66 landmark since 1929.

The Old Stagecoach Stop on the Square in Waynesville has served as a stagecoach stop, a tavern, a hotel, and as a hospital during the Civil War. Photo by Terry Primas.

The Old Stagecoach Stop on the Square in Waynesville has served as a stagecoach stop, a tavern, a hotel, and as a hospital during the Civil War. Photo by Terry Primas.

About the American Bus Association: The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

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To learn more about Pulaski County, Missouri please visit: and follow Pulaski County USA on Twitter at @PulCoUSA

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