Tag Archives: Red Dirt Kelly

Happy Birthday to Us. We’re FIVE Years Old!

Day 28: It Was So Loud, I Couldn't Hear Myself Praying
A quote written in the UK that answered a need I had at the time. Now, I’m finding stillness in rural, suburban and metropolitan Oklahoma…one discussion at a time.

In July of 2010, I left for a 40 day educational trip to Oxford and other parts of the United Kingdom. Having never traveled abroad other than to Canada and Mexico, I began researching the world of blogs.  I warmed up my writing skills with a Google “Blogger” based platform entitled “Red Dirt Kelly.”

A week or so later, I left for my journey and began what was basically an online journaling exercise to document my trip.  This series, entitled 40 Days in the UK, helped me realize the benefits of daily writing and perspective sharing.

Women on hand cart treks in NE OK pulling carts back up the ridge to safety.

In the past five years, bloggers have been called out for their lack of journalism credentials, heralded for their insightful research and posts, and been in the courts for cases involving informational sources and classifications.  And while the days of online journaling still exist, the All American Blog has certainly developed in its own right.

Case in point: The Red Dirt Chronicles (RDC).  A month post Oxford, I began to think about whether to keep my blog or evolve the project into something I still cared about now that I had returned to Oklahoma.  These dreams eventually carried me to recruit eight content authors and for almost three years they wrote on a regular basis covering their area of expertise with an Oklahoma perspective. At that time I moved to a WordPress (WP) platform and although the RDC has had four different “faces,” all our history is stored on very large WP servers and for that I’m grateful.

At the point when I began toward the homestretch in my doctoral program, I raised the issue of “slowing down” the RDC production and almost simultaneously all authors agreed they, too, would like a break.  For another year while I dug deep into my dissertation research, Alisa Hines at Oklahoma Horizon TV deployed video posts covering their work with either her notes, or the notes of other journalists.  I am grateful for our former authors, and for Oklahoma Horizon producing Oklahoma cultural content deployed through the RDC.

August prairie grasses. Photo by Rachel Apple

Our RDC content is now much more focused on revealing Oklahomans and their cultural diversity.  Most of this work is done through our Every Point on the Map (EPOTM) posts.  In some ways, EPOTM is like a ten-year ethnography.  The work of our team feeds my social research side as well as my love for Oklahomans and all they encompass.

To our readers who have continued to check in with us through the past five years, I wish to say “thank you.” To those who have joined along the way, I appreciate your presence and thoughtfulness. And, to the work we have yet to produce, I can only say, “We’re ready. Whomever we meet, and whatever they say…it’s our pleasure to hear their stories and share them with our readers.”

Happy five year birthday, RDC!

~ Red Dirt Kelly


How Do You Say That?

In honor of tonight’s NCAA Men’s basketball final between Louisville and Michigan, don’t you think it’s about time to revisit Southwestern Oklahoma – home to some of the best small school basketball teams – and make sure we know how to pronounce those town names?  Just in case you’re wondering how to pronounce the capital of Kentucky, it is pronounced, “FRANK-fort”.

Red Dirt Kelly gave birth to the Red Dirt Chronicles just a few short years ago. Since that time she has posted Red Dirt trivia questions on Facebook about all things related to Oklahoma. My favorite trivia questions are the ones that focus on Oklahoma places. When it comes to Oklahoma place names, the trivia can include more than just location, it might even pull out the old “how do you pronounce . . .” routine. As Jeff Foxworthy might say: “You might be from Oklahoma if you know how to say ‘Gotebo’, ‘Hobart’, ‘Eufaula’, Oologah, or Skiatook.”

Southwestern Oklahoma has its fair share of names that make you either grin or raise an eyebrow before attempting to say them. Go pack a snack now, and a tall glass of sweet iced tea, and we’ll take us a little road trip around Southwestern Oklahoma and discover some of these places. Leave your GPS devices at home for this trip – just pick up a copy of the free map of Oklahoma that the tourism department provides. It’ll save you a hundred bucks or so, and give you a better idea of where you are going.

Driving along US 62, halfway between Altus and Lawton, there is that sign that says “Gotebo –>”. Gotebo is one of those place names that exposes the non-Oklahoma roots of weather reporters. Very few know that it sounds just the way it is spelled, “go-tee-bo” with all long vowels. Gotebo is located in Kiowa County, at the junction of State Highways 9 and 54. It was founded around 1901 and has a current population of 226.

Northwest of Gotebo is Retrop. Some may wonder where this strange name came from, but it is quite simple, really. Spell it backwards and you have the surname of the first family to settle in Retrop. When the town applied for a post office, they discovered there was a town in Indian Territory named “Porter”. When word came back to Retrop about Porter, the forefathers said, “Let’s just spell it backwards.” Retrop is located on the Washita/Beckham county line, along State Highway 6, not too far down the road from Sentinel.

Up the road a ways from Retrop are two towns located a few miles apart on either side of State Highway 54, and nearly always paired together on the highway signs. Corn and Colony are their names. I’m not sure if they grow corn in Corn, or if any colonists remain in Colony, but I do know that one has family ties to John Denver. Continue reading How Do You Say That?