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Monday, May 21, 2012

Saunooke Show Full House!

Last Thursday's Liars Bench Show hit it BIG. It was a full house for the third Balsam Chronicles show featuring the story of EBCI Osley Bird Saunooke, "Colorful Chief of the Cherokee."
Gary welcomed EBCI Priniciple Chief Hicks, his wife, and members of the Saunooke family, including Osley's daughter Hazel to the Mountain Heritage Center.
The "mad troubador" from Tilley Creek, Paul Iarussi kicked off the show with an old favorite "Knoxville Girl."
Dave Waldrop sang "Kudzu" with his granddaughter doing the "Kudzu Hula."
Lloyd Arneach, recipient of the Western Carolina University 2011 Mountain Heritage Award
told the story of the geese, the hummingbird, and the tobacco plant. "What is important is what is in the heart."
Then, Gary told the story of Osley Bird Saunooke:
Saunooke, a descendant of five generations of Cherokee chiefs, wrestled professionally in over 5,000 matches. He went to Indian boarding school at Haskell in Kansas and excelled in all sports.
Saunooke wrestled in the 1930s and 1940s and became a champion. After being involved in an automobile/train accident Saunooke retired from professional wrestling and ran for EBCI Chief, was elected and served two separate terms.
During Saunooke's first term as Chief, the swinging bridge connecting U.S. Hwy 441 and Saunooke's gift shop fell, ostensibly because of a Boy Scout Troop walking in cadence across it on the third of July 1951.

Hazel Saunooke gave the Liars Bench audience an eyewitness account of her father's rescue of the injured.
Osley Saunooke jumped into the Oconoluftee River and lifted the bridge off of people who were trapped by the heavy cables, saving many more people from serious injury or death.
The swinging bridge was rebuilt (hasn't fallen since) and Saunooke Village has continued to expand.
By all accounts Osley Bird Saunooke was a fair, just, and wise leader of the Cherokee and looked up to by many whites in surrounding counties.
Coming up, the Liars Bench Show will be performing at the Appalachian festival in Downtown Waynesville on Saturday June 9 at 1:00 pm. The performance will be inside of Main Street Perks which is next to what used to be the Whitman's Bakery (currently City Bakery). Admission is Free although we will pass the 'mileage' basket.
Bodine and the rest of the Liars Bench Bunch are looking forward to seeing you there.
Email:  liarsbenchpr@gmail.com if you have any questions.
All of you are the greatest! Thank you for supporting the Liars Bench--WNCs only live, authentic traditional Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry, drama, folk arts presentation!
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