Portraying Smoky Hill Thompson
Donald Wade Davis was born in Southern California but has spent most of his adult life in the Midwest states of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas. Earning his undergraduate degree in Great Pains Studies from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Wade has been an avid student of the American West, especially here in the Plains region. Wade’s interests are Historic Reenacting and Living History. He portrays a fur trader at Nebraska’s historic Fort Atkinson and takes part in many Living History events around the country. Wade has worked as a Coal Miner, a Cowboy, a Labor Advocate, a Psychotherapist and a Writer over his career. Wade has published extensively in the outdoor press, with his works appearing in Muzzleloader, American Frontiersman, Guns of the Old West and Backwoodsman. Publishing mostly on historical subjects and living history, Wade is also a lecturer on historic subjects who has given presentations at Historic sites, museums, and schools throughout the state of Kansas.
When not presenting or at a Living History event, Wade can be found at home with his wife Pam, playing guitar or spending time with their blended family of 4 children and 3 grandchildren.
Portraying Marion Sloan Russell
Miss Smith speaks as Marion Sloan Russell who traveled the Santa Fe Trail 5 times before age 21.
She enjoys telling about her adventures on the Santa Fe Trail with her mother and brother. Along the trail she was known as “Maid Marion” as her first travels began as a young girl of 7.
While in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she met Kit Carson not realizing he would play an important role in her life. At Ft. Union she also met her husband, the handsome Lt. Richard Russell where soon many adventures caught up with her.
Smith is a juried member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historical Performer and presents her historical correct presentation in Chautauqua style.
Smith is a twenty-one year veteran of the Army retiring in 2001. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science History from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Smith belongs to the Topeka Daughters of American Revolution, The American Legion, VFW Auxiliary and is an honorary member of the Sons of American Revolution Kanza chapter in Manhattan, Kansas.
Portraying Charlie Goodnight
Paul Gray was born in Memphis, TN and raised in Tupelo, MS. In 1976 he and his wife moved to Texas where he would find himself entering the reenacting world when he played Custer for a series of events at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. From there he began working at the Log Cabin Village, which is a collection of log buildings from central Texas where they dressed in period attire and discussed the life and times of folks in Texas from the 1830’s to the 1870’s. Paul said “I never lost my love for the 'reel' west I grew up on but it was while working at the Village I got more and more interested in the 'real' story -- which is often even more interesting than the movies.” Some of the presentations he does are ones on the history of the vaquero as well as the whys, hows and whos of the cattle drive era. Mr. Gray also enjoys reciting western poetry, and in particular, treating some of the great Marty Robbins ballads as poetry.
It was at the Log Cabin Village that he first portrayed Charles Goodnight; which he will be doing at the Gunfight on the Santa Fe Trail this year. Commonly referred to as the Father of the Texas Panhandle and also well known for his partnership with Oliver Loving and the development of the Goodnight Loving Trail, Charles Goodnight was an important figure in Texas ranching history.
Make sure to stop in during one of Paul’s Living History performance as Charlie Goodnight to learn more about Mr. Goodnights fortunes and friends he had made and lost over the years and get a glimpse back in time.
Portraying Phil Coe
You will be transported back to the lawless old west of the 1800s. Discover how Phil Coe went from being born the son of a rich rancher in Texas to becoming a confederate soldier, gunfighter, gambler, and eventually, a saloon owner in the rough and tumble cowtown, Abilene, Kansas. Where his fate was ultimately left in the hands of its dangerous, unpredictable Marshall... James Butler Hickok. Which side of this powder keg would you have been on? The side of the young, saddle weary drovers, just looking to let loose after a long drive up the Chisholm Trail? Or the side of the loose cannon, Marshall Hickok, who was paid to keep the peace, but had questionable methods of achieving it. As you experience this performance, imagine yourself there, faced with deciding which play to back.... it won't be as easy as you might think!
Scott and Kelly Jury
Portraying Moose and WindDancer
Scott Jury brings the character to life as Moose, a plainsman/buffalo hunter who married a Lakota woman, WindDancer (Kelly Jury). Together they bring history alive as they entertain visitors with stories about the plains of Kansas and tales of the Lakota.
Kelly is WindDancer woman, from the Lakota Sioux tribe, who will take you on a journey with songs sung in the Lakota language. Listen to the tale of Three Paws, the adopted daughter of Moose and WindDancer, portrayed by their daughter Ruby Jury and the adventure of how she became part of the family.
Learn the skills and knowledge of a plainsman family, including a display of the many hides from Kansas critters. See how quickly Moose can start a fire using flint and steel and follow your nose to see what WindDancer is cooking for supper. Don’t forget to try your best to beat Three Paws at throwing the tomahawk!
With over 30 years of re-enacting and living history experience, Moose and WindDancer will entertain and educate all ages.
Scott grew up in the Council Grove area and is a 1989 graduate of Council Grove High School. Kelly is a lifetime Kansas resident and grew up in Lyon, Kansas.
Portraying Madame Vestal
Jefferson, Missouri 1842.
Belle Siddons was a yound woman born into a man’s world. Women were considered to be only one step above livestock and were treated as such. This would not be her fate.
Sharon Houston’s first person presentation will colorfully animate Belle Siddon’s remarkable transformation to infamy. Belle’s is the perilous journey of a yound woman with little to no prospects. Defying social norms, Belle reinvented herself and even changed her name many times. She trailblazed paths that no one could have predicted, eventually becoming the world renowned celebrity, The Queen of Faro, Madame Vestal.
Sharon will completely enthrall you as she immortalizes Madam Vestal as the incredible historical figure she was.
Wyatt and Josie Earp
Wyatt Earp was a businessman, a gold miner, a lawman, and a gambler. Most of all, Wyatt was an American frontiersman. His adventurous lifestyle brought him to wherever money flowed. He is best known for partaking in the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and for his saloon in Nome, Alaska, named ‘The Dexter’.
Josephine Marcus Earp, was the German Jewish entertainer, who stole Wyatt’s heart in Tombstone and became Wyatt’s third wife. Wyatt and Josephine spent 47 adventurous years together!