On July 13, 12 summer scholars and three willing Noble employees embarked on a voyage to the bustling streets of Bricktown, an area of downtown Oklahoma City, Okla. As we drove to our destination in a caravan of white vehicles, I wondered what adventures were in store for us.
The first stop on our agenda was the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, aka the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Little did I know there are museums in Oklahoma that are nothing but cowboy décor, art and history, telling about the rugged lifestyles cowboys and Indians led. It seemed foreign to me that there was so much history behind the iconic cowboy I loved to read about in books and watch in theaters.
Sadly, I have never experienced a museum quite like this. First of all, we don't really have cowboys in Pennsylvania. Secondly, the majority of our museums address the era surrounding the Civil War, which meant countless middle school field trips to museums and battlegrounds.
Imagine yourself in my shoes, stepping into the museum lobby and looking across the room, only to be humbled by a work of art. Hearing the story behind the marble sculpture was the moment I understood the real meaning behind this Native American and his horse. "End of the Trail" is the name of the piece that was beautifully sculpted by James Earle Fraser. The piece tells of Fraser's childhood memories living in the Wild West. Fraser captured the emotions felt by so many Native Americans living in that time period.
My eyes wandered to the top of the statue, and I suddenly felt a shiver up my spine - a feeling you only get when truly connecting to something. The Native American portrayed anguish and the uncertain destiny of his people, but showed strength and determination that he and his people would not be destroyed.
I am happy to say I have Native American blood running through my veins. I couldn't believe how much history had been collected at this museum. I was thoroughly impressed by the varying artifacts and clothing still in great condition today. Near the end of the tour, I felt the urge to splurge on an expensive piece of jewelry, but I listened to the little voice inside my head and stopped myself before it was too late.
Later that day, Bricktown welcomed us with a night of great food and a walk in the park - the baseball park, that is. It wasn't until I was walking on the street, looking down at the brick road, that I realized where Bricktown got its name. The town's construction is outstanding, and I loved the scenery surrounding the baseball stadium, especially the canal boat rides, because I'm a kid at heart.
For the third consecutive year, the Redhawks lost, keeping the tradition alive for the scholar Bricktown trip. Regardless of the score, we all had a blast at the baseball game. The highlight of my evening, though, was when the blow-up mascots ran out on the field between innings, doing hilarious skits. I had to regain my composure after losing control and laughing hysterically until I cried.
A full day of learning about Oklahoma's past, great food, laughter and baseball led to one tired scholar! I have realized over the last several weeks that there is no such thing as an empty schedule when you are a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture. The Noble Research Institute knows how to keep us entertained.
I thought this week I would shed some light on how we spend our weekends and time outside the office. I am glad I am able to take advantage of the cultural and local activities around the Oklahoma City area. As I travel around the state, I continue to feel more at home.
Until next time,
Arika Snyder is a 2013 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Lewistown, Pa. She will be a senior at Penn State University this fall, majoring in animal sciences with a science option. Additionally she would like to complete a minor in international agriculture.