The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum, a popular tourist attraction in Victorville for more than 35 years, relocated in 2003 to Branson, Mo.
A bad move, as it turned out.
The museum failed to flourish there, and now it has gone bust, as I reported in my column of Jan. 15 (check it out online at sbsun.com/johnweeks). The museum closed its doors for good in mid-December and all its contents will be sold, piece-meal, in a series of auctions that will begin Jan. 30 and continue into the summer.
Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr., son of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, shares his melancholy thoughts on the demise of the museum in the following statement addressed to fans:
“I guess I will start by saying thank you. Thank you for the years of love, support, prayers and loyalty to the Rogers family. You, the fans, and our Board of Directors, are the ones who have kept our family’s museum going for over 42 years. It has been a wonderful ride. After millions of visitors and countless stories of what Roy and Dale have meant to you, the Board of Directors have voted to close our doors. This has not been an easy decision. Many very emotional and financial issues have been addressed by all of us, as you can well imagine.
“The decision to close the museum has come after two years of steady decline in visitors. A lot of factors have made our decision for us. The economy for one. People are just not traveling as much. Dad’s fans are getting older, and concerned about their retirement funds. Everyone is concerned about their future in this present economy. Secondly, with our high fiscal obligations we cannot continue to accumulate debt to keep the doors open.This situation is one I have not wanted to happen. Dad always said, “If the museum starts costing you money, then liquidate everything and move on.” Myself and my family have tried to hold together the museum and collection. It is very difficult to think that it will all be gone soon.
“What will happen to Roy Rogers Jr. and his family? For those of you who have heard I am retiring, nothing could be farther from the truth. My company, Golden Stallion, and its show tribute to Roy and Dale, will continue. I plan on taking the show to another venue in Branson. (Micky Gilley’s starting in March.) The show will also be available to travel around the country and take the message of Roy and Dale wherever we travel. I feel that this country needs the message that Roy and Dale always put forth, not only in their professional lives, but in their private lives as well.
“Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Remember, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans will live forever in our hearts and minds, and will continue to ride across the silver screen through their movies. Every time you think of Roy and Dale, that warm feeling you have always felt will always return.
“Watch our website for further announcements and special dates (royrogers.com).
“I leave you all with Dad’s favorite saying: Good bye, good luck, and may the good Lord take a likin’ to ya!”