Kicking Up Dust For Kids

Producer Benford Standley and his company Buffalo Benford Multimedia,  plans to

donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the Jimmie Rodgers Saga, the

Me and Merle Memoir and The First Annual Jimmie Rodgers Texas Music Festival

including all merchandise sales to a foundation that is now being set up to go online in

the late Fall of 2022.  KUD For Kids, Inc. will be a non-profit organized to distribute

funds to several National programs presently working to help Runaway, Throwaway and

Homeless Children and Youth in the streets of these United States of America.


Down the track we plan to create and help finance a working wilderness ranch for homeless

and runaway kids where they can help work the land farming and help preserve wildness

animals and become a shelter where the kids can take care of homeless horses and dogs

to be given to families that want to care for them.  At the same time introduce the kids to

adults who might want to give the kids themselves a home.  Such a grand irony. They will

learn gardening, climate change sciences, alternative energy sources that will be part of the

actual ranch operation, the arts, music and film and will have events on the ranch that the

kids produce and further learn media skills. The name of the wilderness program for kids



Reason and tie ins to Jimmie Rodgers and Merle Haggard is that Jimmie Rodgers was a

runaway and ran away from home with a medicine show when he was 13, and Merle

Haggard began hopping freights as a boy and first time to run away he was 11, and Merle

and a friend ran away to Texas when he was 14.  Merle spent most of his teen years running

away and escaping, from California Youth Authority detention centers...all leading to his

being placed at the age of 21 in San Quinton prison.


Benford has written three books on the state and fate of children in the US, he wrote the first

legislation in the state of Texas to help Runaway Kids, and was a part of the creation and

marketing of the Runaway Hotline run out of the Texas Governor's office and a nation wide

800-number offering help to runaways in the streets of the Nation.  Benford has worked with

a number of state and National organizations over the years, done countless benefits for

these kids in need, worked with some of the top people in the Nation on a Symposium he

produced on runaways and troubled youth. He worked with the Texas Rangers, U.S. Justice

Department, the F.B.I. and is working on his fourth book Some Ran East...Some Ran West:

They're All Running Around in the Cuckoo's Nest.

After Merle and Benford spent a few days filming Merle talking about the days as a troubled

and runaway youth, Benford went over and sat in the chair next to Merle's rocking chair in

his living room out on Hag's ranch and told him about his many years working with the

concerns of these kids and working on many projects to help these kids, and how he thought

it was such an irony that he and Merle were connecting on this level.  Merle got close to

Benford looking deep and hard at him and said,


"This is why we met...we got to help these kids."

Merle and I had a strong conviction to

keep working on this great train story

until we hit gold, then we would load

it with coal and ride the red carpets

while we help kids not make the

mistakes that he made and to bring

more attention to the cause.  We both

had a deep passion to do this and I will

carry that torch into the darkness for my

dear saddle pal Merle Haggard and the

many thousands of kids in need of help.

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In 1931 President Hoover led a Red Cross radio appeal, in a broadcast featuring former

New York governor and presidential candidate Al Smith, former President Calvin Coolidge,

actress Mary Pickford and, from Arkansas, Will Rogers.  After this broadcast, Jimmie

Rodgers, dying inexorably of tuberculosis in Kerrville, Texas, volunteered his services to

Will Rogers via telegram.  Being a big fan, Will said yes.  So, the tale of "distant sons"





This is a true story about one of the lesser known events of the great depression, a tour by

Will Rogers and Jimmie Rodgers in 1931 that saved thousands from starvation. Few

Americans today know about the tour; fewer still understand its impact. The efforts of Will

and Jimmie not only saved untold millions of Americans from the horror of famine that year,

but also paved the way for the growth and maturation of the American Red Cross. The

tourís effects reverberate today, through such events as our friend Willie Nelson's "Farm

Aid," Ken Kragen's  "We Are The World," " Live Aid," and the many other benefits that

musicians lend a voice and a song to, and the ongoing work of the American Red Cross

world wide.


These two "distant sons" performed 50 shows in 18 days across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and

Texas, starting in San Antonio, Texas.  It is said that the tour made over $250,000, which

was a huge amount of money at the time.  The Assistant secretary of the Navy for aviation

provided them with the use of a Navy Curtis "Hell-Diver" aircraft,  named Mystery Ship, and

was piloted by the famous aviator Frank Hawks, who also performed monologues and rope

tricks as an act on the tour.  Rogers and Rodgers gave all box office receipts to the Red

Cross with the stipulation that half be used for urban relief and half for rural, with a special

grant made to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.


The tour with Will and Jimmie's assorted national radio pleas, ultimately saw $3 million

dollars raised for the American Red Cross.  The donations checked the growth of an already

catastrophic situation.  For example, the agency fed 150,000 people per week in Arkansas

in January 1931.  By the end of February, that number had increased to 500,000 per day.


"Neither Will Rogers nor Jimmie Rodgers finished high school, (nor did Merle Haggard). 

They were not elected officials, not policy-makers, not economists.  Yet - through what they

saw and knew personally - they accepted and acted upon an unpleasant reality that men of

greater education and influence disregarded.  By selflessly volunteering their services, the

three entertainers gave new hope to people who were starving.  They provided an unknow-

able number of Americans with a reason to keep going, a sense that circumstances would

eventually change for the better.  Today, Will and Jimmie continue to inspire us with the notion

that in time a genuine crisis, figures will arise who have the courage to recognize the truth of

a situation-and the willingness to act accordingly and virtuously." from


In that spirit, the producers and team of the Jimmie Rodgers Projects and the Me & Merle

Memoir dedicate their energy to helping the millions of runaway, throwaway, homeless

and incarcerated children and youth of these United States of America.  The state and fate of

these millions of children in the streets and alleys, jails, detention centers, foster homes, lost,

and crying, need a National effort to help with the pain and suffering that is a mark against

who we are as a Nation and a people "for God's sake...I would think."  I titled one of my books




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For more information on Benford Standley's 55 years

of work to help children and youth in the United States

go to Some Ran East...Some Ran West on his website. 

Following is some history of a half century of his work

to help kids...


Benford Standley, Director/Producer

Buffalo Benford Multimedia