Last Saturday, November 1 a group of C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. lined up in the center of Douglas Street in Ellsworth, hollered for Jim Gray to come out, and then commenced shooting (blanks) straight up at noon. It was a rowdy few minutes until Jim came out of the store with his hands up and Linda with tears streaming down.
That was the Kansas Cowboy way of saluting Jim Gray and Linda Kohls. The legendary Drovers Mercantile had been open since 1995 to sell authentic western clothing, books, and music and to swap stories and lies about cowboys, cattle, and trails.
Jim Gray will keep his Kansas C.O.W.B.O.Y. publication going and hopefully he'll put that information into a book someday. He's a cowboy and rancher at heart with a deep sense of history and a passion for sharing it. Jim would have been comfortable living in the era of his great grandparents.
And Linda...the steady rock behind the scenes. Grounded in common sense and a good balance for dreamer Jim. Together these business partners galvanized the Kansas C.O.W.B.O.Y.S. and will continue to be an important part of keeping the Old West story alive -- they just won't be doing it at 119 N. Douglas anymore.
Cowboy hats off to you Jim and Linda!
Yep, to know why Jim and Linda kept this store going is to "Get Kansas." Yours, Kansas Cowboy #41 and Kansas Explorer #2 Marci Penner