Glimpse Of SBC’s Past The Double R Bar Ranch

Today, in the 21st Century, the Double R Bar Ranch in Oro Grande is one of the vestiges of the personae of Roy Rogers, who was himself a vestige in the 20th Century, albeit an ersatz one, of the American cowboys of the 19th Century.
Roy Rogers was arguably the most famous of the 20th Century cowboys, competing with the likes of John Wayne Randolph Scott, Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry, all of whom, like himself, were not real cowboys but the celluloid recreations of such.
Roy did know how to ride a horse and he could use a lasso, just like a real cowboy. But he was a city slicker, born in a tenement building on 2nd Street in Cincinnati, Ohio where Riverfront Stadium would later be constructed, allowing him to brag that he was born at second base.
His real name was not Roy Rogers but actually Leonard Slye. He dropped out of high school, worked with his father in a shoe factory in Cincinnati and at the age of 18 went to California, where he for a time found work driving a gravel-truck for a company doing work on a highway construction project. Later, he moved to Tulare, where he had his closest brush with being an actual cowboy, as there were cattle, dairy and horse farms there. He did get a quasi-ranching job, picking peaches for Del Monte in Tulare. He left Tulare for Southern California, where his sister lived in 1931. There he auditioned for the Midnight Frolic radio program, which broadcast over KMCS in Inglewood, playing guitar, singing, and yodeling. He joined a local country music group called The Rocky Mountaineers. Subsequently, he left that group and formed another, Sons of the Pioneers, which obtained a contract with the newly formed Decca Recording Company The Sons of the Pioneers recorded for Decca 32 songs in the next two years.
From his first film appearance in 1935, he worked steadily in Western films, including a large supporting role as a singing cowboy while still billed as “Leonard Slye” in a Gene Autry movie. In 1938, Leonard Slye starred in his own film, took the name Roy Rogers, and left the Sons of the Pioneers to focus on his own career. He became a serious competitor to Gene Autry as the nation’s favorite singing cowboy. In 1940, Rogers played a supporting role in the John Wayne classic Dark Command, after which point he became a major box office attraction. In many of his movies he played himself, that is, the new name he had adopted, Roy Rogers. He was the top money making western star from 1943 to 1954. He made a lot of money from his film roles and public appearances. He met Dale Evans in 1944, while playing opposite her in a film role and married her in 1947 after his second wife, Arline, died from complications of childbirth . The Roy Rogers Show ran on television from 1951 through 1957, featureing Roy, Dale, his horse Trigger and his dog Bullet. Known as “The King of the Cowboys,” Roy became an idol to many children because of this exposure.
In 1965 Roy and Dale parlayed some of the wealth they had accumulated from their film and musical careers into the purchase of what would become the Double R Bar Ranch. From the time they purchased the ranch, located on 64 acres at 14433 Roy Rogers Ranch Road, to Roy’s death in 1998, the ranch, framed by picturesque mountains and surrounded by agricultural uses and hobby farms, was used primarily as a horse training and breeding facility. The ranch entrance is marked by a unique log fence with wood reclaimed from the Roy Rogers Museum.
Situated on the ranch are two residences: a 1,700-square-foot home with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and a 1,200-square-foot brick home that was on the ranch when the couple purchased it. The brick home has since been converted into a museum to showcase Roy Rogers memorabilia and part of the barn was transformed into a theater for watching movies, many of them Roy and Dale’s westerns.
There is a 1,500-square-foot bunkhouse that provides a large reception area with two carpeted bedrooms and one bath; a stable with two tack rooms and 15 stalls — most of which are outfitted with watering systems, lighting and feeders; a half mile track; 10 fenced in pastures; and a four-horse electrified walker and 50-foot round pen with a metal roof.
Still extant on the property is an authentic Wells Fargo buckboard wagon that was used in the movies, a one-man-band instrument Roy used to entertain guests, a Decker Brother’s 1863 Baby Grand Piano, artwork, Roy Rogers’ collectible toys and radios, furniture and Double R Bar Ranch branded items

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