Story by Anna McDougal, OSU Library intern
Our latest OSU alum, Bruce Brooks really knows how to sell the idea of going to Oklahoma State – and quickly! The Cowboys in Every County team took a drive down to Love County to visit with a real estate and cattle auctioneer who also spent four years in Stillwater getting his degree in the late 1960s. Bruce shared memories of his experience at OSU and how attending school there made him an Okie at heart.
About Love County and Marietta
If you have ever attended a concert or lost a couple of bucks at the Winstar World Casino, you were in Love County! Although Winstar is the largest private employer in the county, you’ll probably find us enjoying the tasty jerky and sandwiches that come from Robertson Hams in the county seat of Marietta, Oklahoma. The county was named for Overton Love, an early settler of the area and a well-known Chickasaw farmer and politician. Some of the towns in Love County, including Marietta, suffered from the construction of I-35 through the area. Now dubbed, “Adventure Road,” the interstate can be used to make a quick visit to these wonderful little jewels in the Oklahoma countryside. We suggest making a stop at some of the tasty bakeries and eateries on your way through town.
About Bruce Brooks
Although not an Okie by birth, Bruce Brooks has called Oklahoma his home for many years. He was born in southwest Iowa in 1948 and raised in a very small farming town. Bruce had a lot of chores to share with his brother and sister, including milking cows and taking care of the livestock. His parents were gracious and allowed the kids to do their chores after school instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to complete them. The schools he grew up attending are now consolidating with other local schools because of the significant migration to cities. After Bruce graduated from high school, he took some steers to the county fair and ran into a friend who was currently attending Oklahoma State. This very wise friend advised him to apply and not too long later, Bruce received an acceptance letter in the mail! Although he hadn’t planned on attending a major university, Bruce took the trip down to Stillwater and attended orientation. Never before had he seen anything like OSU’s campus and he quickly fell in love.
Bruce was the first of his family to head off to college – not to mention out of state! He took several jobs over the course of his education but his parents generously paid for his tuition. Quickly Bruce got involved on campus through the livestock judging team, Block and Bridle club, as well as Alpha Zeta. During the second semester, Bruce pledged Alpha Gamma Rho and lived in the fraternity house during his sophomore year. Having always been around livestock, Bruce really enjoyed his animal science courses and worked hard to graduate with a respectable grade point average. His time at Oklahoma State came during a turbulent decade in our nation’s history. Bruce remembers the protesters of war, the emergence of the hippie generation and the unrest both on and off campus. Hideaway – and the popularity of pizza in general – was fairly new by the time Bruce got to Stillwater and Eskimo Joe’s did not exist! Can you imagine?
In 1970, Bruce graduated and put his education to use working for Drover’s Journal out of Kansas City. With this job he traveled and sold advertisements for various cattle breeds. He then teamed up with another OSU grad and were partners in American Cattle Services for a number of years. In the mean time, Bruce had always had a fascination for auctions and learned to become an auctioneer. Williams and Williams real estate hired him to sell houses at auction. Bruce still enjoys this job and sells cattle on the side. He even gave us a nice example of his talents during our chat. Through his job, Bruce has sold cattle or real estate in every state of the union! He fondly remembers OSU as being the starting place of it all, claiming; “OSU is everything to me, it means a great deal.”
Here are a few more images from our trip to Love County:
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