I think she was surprised that this museum wasn't only about tractors.
My favorite part of this attraction is that Lyle and Helen Dumont are there, strolling from one room to another, giving everyone the opportunity to ask questions. They love to see people enjoying their collections, and they like to answer questions. There is an article HERE that includes an interview with the two. To know them is to love them.
They have quite a bit of Roy Rogers memorabilia, although they trimmed it down somewhat. Helen said she noticed that not many people spent a lot of time looking at that part of the museum, so they boxed up some of it and sold a few things. I imagine it's because most of the people who idolized Roy and Dale are dead now. Like most people my age, I loved Roy. I asked Helen how they got to be personal friends with him and his family. She said her husband, Lyle, just made up his mind he was going to meet the man. He called the museum, which at that time was in California, and got on good terms with a lady who worked there. He asked her if there was any way he could meet Roy, and she told him, "If you come to the museum at 9 A.M. when it first opens, he will probably be here."
They flew out and did get to meet Roy; their personalities "just clicked", Helen told me, and they became such good friends with Roy and Dale that they would go there and stay for a couple of weeks, touring the local attractions. They still keep in touch with some of Roy and Dale's children.
Roy and Dale only had one child who wasn't adopted. She was born with Down's Syndrome and only lived for a couple of years. Dale wrote a book about her called "Angel Unaware". My favorite piece in the Roy Rogers collection is little Robin's baby crib, because I remember the book from when I was in junior high school. I told Helen I was glad they kept the crib and still have it on display.
Yes, it's a tractor museum too, with every rare Oliver tractor ever built. When Cliff restores an Oliver, he gets his decals from the Dumonts.
|Lyle operating his train set|