Oklahoma Secret: Boley Rodeo

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I grew up in Oklahoma and never heard of Boley, or 40 other “black towns’ that were formed in the early 1900s by African Americans looking for the “promised land.”

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Boley, 53 miles southwest of Tulsa, is one of a couple that are still there, and has — for decades — hosted a wonderful three-day Memorial Day Weekend event, Boley’s “black rodeo.”

No one seems to know how long it’s been around, but last year at the Oklahoma Historical Society, I tracked an early version of the event (“The Great Summer Carnival”) from microfiche of The Boley Progress, dated June 29, 1905; note that’s before Oklahoma was a state: “Boley, Indian Territory.”

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For more Boely fun, here’s an article I did on Boley for Lonely Planet, as well as my episode of the “76-Second Travel Show”:

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If you go, and it really is fun, Saturday is the best night, and be sure to get that “potato on a stick.”

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About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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One Response to Oklahoma Secret: Boley Rodeo

  1. Pingback: reidontravel | 34 reasons I don’t travel like a local

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