The theme for 2023 Pioneer Days, "Wind Forever", was suggested by Fred Hindergardt, and illustrated by Kristy Patterson, retired art instructor at Guymon High School. As witnessed by all, it is a very timely theme for 2023.
Only the toughest, most hardy, determined pioneers were able to give up a more comfortable life to withstand the harsh living conditions of pioneering in this windy, treeless land. Many of the extreme hot, cold, and wind weather records that are still valid today were established during the late 1880's through the 1930's, and initial housing was primarily dwellings dug out of the earth, or one-room sod houses carved from the grassy prairie soil. By 1910, these homes were beginning to be replaced by one or two room wooden houses that were often unfinished on the inside, and even having open ceilings where rain, snow, wind and dirt could blow inside year-round through the shingled roofs.
According to meteorologists, "The Great Die Out" referred to the years of 1886-1887, when extreme cold temperatures and extended snow storms caused the death of thousands of cattle and many cattlemen in today's Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle areas. February 12, 1899, still reigns as the record low temperature of 25 degrees below zero, and August of 1936, still holds the official record high temperature of 115 degrees. Only more recent years of 2011 and 2021 through 2023, have surpassed the records for the least precipitation, including the infamous years of the Dirty 30's. People living in the Oklahoma Panhandle still exhibit the same spirit of honesty, hard work, determination, independence, inventiveness, friendliness, and faith in our Creator that gave our pioneering fore fathers the grit and steadfastness to endure the "Wind Forever".
Pioneer Day was first held on May 2, 1933, as a celebration of the Organic Act that was signed May 2, 1890, and was responsible for annexing the three counties of No-Man's Land, Cimarron, Texas, and Beaver, to Oklahoma Territory as Beaver County with Beaver City as its seat of government. It was to be a moral lifter for residents of the three counties to have a reason to unite and celebrate, escaping their hash living conditions and difficult economic situations even for a brief time. Guymon was chosen for the event as the central location, and the streets were packed with people, horse-drawn wagons, buggies, and cars. It was so successful that Pioneer Day was held on May 2nd for decades, until many people objected when the date fell on Sunday several years. The celebration was then moved to the first weekend in May, as it has been in more recent years. Pioneer Queens, nominated from the three counties were first officially honored in 1940. The Parade Marshals, although serving, on horseback, from the beginning to clear the streets for the parade, were not officially recognized until 1964.