Changes At Will Rogers Birthplace Leave Groundskeeper Jobless

Saturday, August 29th 2015, 11:14 pm
By: News On 6

The Will Rogers birthplace ranch could soon be under new leadership, if the plan to out the ranch manager Ryan Nelson goes through. Nelson said he's being let go so the ranch can be moved in a different direction.

Community members are rallying behind Nelson. He said after three years on the ranch, and such short notice, it's going to be hard to leave and harder to uproot his family.

Every day is a busy day when you have all this space to keep nice and all of these animals to look after. But the open air, animals and visitors is why Will Nelson loves the job.

"We were here three years, and we've done some record breaking things," he said.

If things go as planned, his time here will be over soon.

He said as of September 1st, he and his family - who live in the grounds keeper house - must be out. An announcement he says he found out about Tuesday.

"I was told they were going in a different direction and they did not need my services."

Nelson says his ouster is the first step the Will Rogers Museum Curator is taking to point the ranch in a more education-based direction.

Nelson says under that change some of the animals are also expected to be removed.

"Their other direction, I just don't see it going to go back to the heritage it should be," said Kevin Roberts who's been coming to the Will Rogers Ranch since he was a kid. He now brings his kids.

"This is something that should have been coming down the pipe a long time ago. If they were gonna change the direction they should have gave him a heads up and they should have given the community a heads up," Roberts said.

Roberts said with Nelson at the helm he can't remember the ranch and animals looking better. He said with the shift expected so quickly, he and many others are disappointed.

Nelson said, his family will push through and he'll stay optimistic about the future of the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch.

"I want this place to grow and be awesome with or without me," he said.

We have made several attempts to get in touch with the Will Rogers Museum curator Tad Jones, but we haven't heard back yet.