Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 29
Printed in the Warrensburg Gazette January 20, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

The latest official phone book (the one with the red cover) features a picture of the Old Drum statue. Inside, there's a short description of why Warrensburg has the statue; I learned some things about the case that I'd never seen in any history or discussion. I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about the trial, but this is the first I'd heard about any "vast out cry of support for justice after the dog was shot" and that "dog lovers from far and near flocked to the courtroom." The blurb also mentions a "battery of attorneys" but doesn't mention the speech that made the case famous nor the attorney who delivered it.

The Old Drum story, including the attorneys, the speech and the building of the monument are great stories and could be used as a great tourist attraction for Warrensburg; they need neither glossing over nor embellishment. Sen. Vest's speech is widely known even today, and has been recognized as one of the greatest speeches of all time. I don't know whether the incorrect & incomplete information was furnished to the phone company by the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center (GWACC&VC) or the phone company butchered the story.

Here's a thought that could go along with "Aunt Ida's" vision of a real dog-themed Old Drum Days festival. What if the tourism authorities in Warrensburg, Marshall, Sedalia and other towns created a "Western Missouri Dog-Lovers Trail" which tied in the monuments, festivals and locations honoring Old Drum, Jim the Wonder Dog, and various characters associated with them? Certainly, a multi-town cooperative brochure would be eligible for state cost-share funding, and would likely attract lead travel articles in the Kansas City & St. Louis papers that might even be picked up nationwide. It's too bad the County Commission won't allow Main Street to sell bricks honoring pet dogs to be placed around the Old Drum statue - we could probably get enough outside money to pay for paving the whole lawn!

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