The Edmond Sun

October 4, 2013

Roy Rogers pieces to be at exhibit inside Dale Rogers Training Center

Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — A local nonprofit is opening an exhibit that will appeal to historical pop culture buffs and fans of Roy and Dale Rogers, beloved 1950s TV and movie stars.

Dale Rogers Training Center will unveil “Robin’s Corner” at its 60th anniversary celebration at 2 p.m. Oct. 13 to showcase memorabilia and items donated by the Rogers family from the Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, Mo., and items from a longtime collector of the Rogers’ memorabilia.  

Robin’s Corner is an exhibit dedicated to Roy and Dale Rogers’ daughter who was born with Down syndrome and died just after her second birthday. The exhibit and collection features more than 50 items such as a satin coverlet from Robin’s layette, the original oil pastel painting of Robin and the red miniature piano mentioned in Dale Rogers’ popular book, “Angel Unaware.” The memorabilia collection displays vintage figurines of the “King of the Cowboys and the Queen of the West” on their iconic horses Trigger and Buttermilk, original Dale Evans comic books and a vintage Roy Rogers and Trigger child size guitar.   

The exhibit will be open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Roy and Dale Rogers’ son, Roy Rogers Jr. and grandson, Dustin Rogers, will be there to support the exhibit’s unveiling and to perform for DRTC’s clients, their families and staff.  Their band, Roy Rogers Jr. and the High Riders, perform in Branson, Mo., on a regular basis. The band is doing its farewell show in November.

“The Rogers brought a significant amount of national attention to parenting a child with disabilities at a time when most people did not speak publically about disabilities,” said Connie McGoodwin, executive director of Dale Rogers Training Center. “Dale Evans Rogers’ book, ‘Angel Unaware,’ is the account of Robin’s life, which changed the way people with disabilities were treated.”

A group of Oklahoma parents of young children with developmental disabilities formed the Dale Rogers Training Center in the late 1940s and incorporated it in 1953. It was a safe and caring place for their children to go, rather than be institutionalized. The center was named for Dale Evans Rogers, her compassion and the positive influence she had on the public’s perception of individuals with disabilities. She visited the center twice, once with Roy.

The clients at DRTC produce several products, ranging from acrylic gift pieces to making pizzas at their Papa Murphy’s location in Northwest Oklahoma City. The vocational program promotes self sufficiency and allows the individuals to earn a paycheck while learning work-related skills that eventually can lead to a job in the community.

Dale Rogers Training Center, the largest vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma, helps teens and adults with disabilities develop job and life skills, find meaningful work and become productive citizens. Last year, the people with disabilities who were served in DRTC’s programs earned $5.9 million in wages. In addition, during the last program year, the Center trained, employed or placed in the community more than 1,200 people with disabilities.