The “Celebration for an Oklahoma Treasure,” a tribute to the life and art of Charles Banks Wilson (Aug. 6, 1918 — May 2, 2013), is scheduled for Aug. 9-10 at the historic Coleman Theatre Beautiful in Miami to recognize the life and work of the remarkable artist.
On Aug 9 at 7 p.m. video documentaries will be shown at the Coleman: “Charles Banks Wilson, Portrait of an American Artist” and NBC’s “Names We Never Knew,” and on Aug 10 at 7 p.m. live performing arts: Helen Russell of Woody Sez, Big Shiny Brass Quintet, Contemporary Dance, Kowboy Kal Trick Roper, Dillingham violinist and more.
Most young boys dream of being a cowboy, and growing up in Miami, Charles Banks Wilson had a horse he and his friends would ride all over the countryside. After seeing Will Rogers on stage at the Coleman most locals know the story of this 12-year-old boy drawing the famous Oklahoman from his encounters, but not everyone knows how Will Rogers inspired Charles to pick up a rope and learn a few tricks.
Charles Banks Wilson became quite proficient at trick roping and performed at the Vinita Rodeo as well as other venues in the area. When he went off the Chicago Art Institute his rope went with him. He often performed before his fellow students and would put on a few shows while attending school.
His daughter, Carrie V. Wilson, remembers growing up and having her dad in the backyard spinning rope and showing a few tricks to her friends.
Carrie’s son, Ben Woodley, was taught by his granddad how to hold and spin a rope. So, to have this celebration of Charles Banks Wilson’s life, Carrie was driven to find a trick roper to perform on the very stage that Will Rogers had performed in 1931. Kalvin Cook, who is known as Kowboy Kal, is flying in from Montana just for this performance. He not only is honored to perform in tribute to the artist but to show his appreciation for another trick roper as well.
KOWBOY KAL is from the southwestern Oklahoma town of Apache. The Will Rogers legacy is getting a workout with champion trick roper and show biz cowboy Kalvin Cook. Cook broke Montie Montana’s single-loop record of 75 feet in 1994 with a 95-footer.
He has since logged a 99-foot single loop, and “I can twirl a 100-foot rope standing in the saddle,” says Cook.
Cook takes on the world’s best in categories such as the “Texas Skip” each year at the Wild West Arts Club’s International Convention in Las Vegas. He learned the ropes from his grandfather, Evert Cook, and studied the films and books of Will Rogers. His dream was to leave the Sooner State for Hollywood, and he arrived in Southern California in 1993.
Cook was living in his truck when he was chosen as a contestant on “The Price Is Right” game show.
“I went wearing my favorite cowboy shirt and hat. I won almost $30,000 on my fourth day in L.A,” Cook said.
After a job as a tour guide at Universal Studios, Cook changed his name to Kowboy Kal, landed an agent and started making commercials. Today his resume is packed with TV and movie appearances as well as commercials.
Cook’s seemingly endless menu of rope tricks includes the Two Foot Spoke hop, where he jumps in and out of a spinning lariat with both feet, and the Handshake Switch, where he switches hands with the rope like a juggler. Cook, 38, who sells his own how-to video, admits it’s not a cinch. “The biggest misconception is that you need a trick rope. I use a standard calf rope,” he said.
Cook lists his most unusual gig as a world Buddhist convention. Provided that Kowboy Kal would not lasso anyone, the CIA approved his performance as the center showpiece for the 1997 economic “Summit of the Eight” with President Bill Clinton and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in attendance. http://www.kowboykal.com
Tickets can be purchased for Aug. 9 for $10 and Aug.10 for $15 or both night’s events for $20 by calling 918-540-2425.