Restored replica of Pickens’ 1955 Ford station wagon to be featured in 2023 Homecoming Parade
The Boone Pickens Legacy Experience is slated to open in 2024, but a rolling preview tribute to the “ultimate Cowboy” will be on display Saturday in Stillwater.
The Boone Pickens Legacy Experience, which will be located in the West End Zone complex at Boone Pickens Stadium, will serve as a magnificent tribute to Pickens and his unwavering commitment to Oklahoma State University. Construction on the privately funded, 10,000-square-foot installation is slated to begin in early 2024. It will feature interactive and visually rich exhibits showcasing his life and accomplishments.
One of its floors will house iconic recreations of settings significant to Pickens’ life, such as his childhood home in Holdenville, Oklahoma; his office; and a replica of his 1955 Ford station wagon that served as his mobile office when he started his business.
This year’s Sea of Orange Parade will showcase the rare car before it takes up permanent residence at the Boone Pickens Legacy Experience.
“The Legacy Experience will be located in the house Boone built on the university’s campus in Stillwater,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “This world-class exhibit will inspire generations to come, who will learn about Mr. Pickens’ legacy and his contributions to the university and beyond.”
The Boone Pickens Legacy Experience is being created by Boston-based exhibition design firm Amaze Design, led by founder and creative director Andy Anway.
Known for his extraordinary work designing engaging visitor experiences, including the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Bob Dylan: Electric at the American Writers Museum, Ross Perot Legacy Hall and the Sue S. Bancroft Women’s Leadership Hall, Anway and his team have designed this facility to be an inspiration for current and future generations.
A titan in business, Pickens believed he learned his most important life lessons growing up in a small Oklahoma town, lessons that were honed during his time at OSU. The Boone Pickens Legacy Experience will feature stories from Pickens’ remarkable life told through an expansive collection of artifacts, gifts, awards, mementos and memorabilia amassed over Pickens’ lifetime.
“Boone Pickens was a visionary, in business and in his philanthropy,” Anway said. “He forever changed corporate governance by advocating for shareholder value. And in his philanthropy he urged others to follow his lead and to give while you live. Nowhere was this philosophy more evident than in his gifts of over $600 million toward athletic and academic initiatives at his beloved alma mater during his lifetime.”
Bob Howard restored the station wagon for the parade, which will showcase an “independent spirit” exhibit highlighting Pickens’ decision to pursue self-employment rather than working for a big oil company. Since the vehicle served as his office while traveling across Oklahoma and Texas, the back of the vintage vehicle will serve as a de facto display case for vintage geology equipment that a geologist from the 1950s would use.
OSU Athletic Director emeritus Mike Holder, a longtime friend of Pickens, and Holder’s wife, Robbie, will drive the vehicle in the parade.
“Mr. Pickens’ admiration for Mike Holder is well known, and the two of them worked side-by-side to reimagine and reinvent Oklahoma State athletic facilities, especially football,” said Jay Rosser, Pickens’ longtime chief of staff.. “In recognition of their remarkable partnership, it is fitting that Mike Holder and his wife, Robbie, are the first to drive and ride in the 1955 Ford station wagon.”
Holder said driving the car in the parade is an honor.
“It symbolizes Boone’s humble beginnings, hard work and tenacity to overcome hurdles to become one of America’s most outstanding entrepreneurs and generous philanthropists,” he said. “His impact on Oklahoma State is immeasurable, and it is most appropriate his legacy will be forever enshrined in the stadium we named in honor of his record-setting gifts to athletics.”