Next thing I know I'm walking down a long street and spot the living embodiment of a Bolles girl. Not just any Bolles girl but that same cowgirl I've been in the hunt for so long. The closer I get the more real she seems. And then I'm inside and there are more Bolles girls, a chorus line of them...and in the middle of their dance I see it.
The painting. Only it's not a dream. I'm awake, not hallucinating, and am surrounded by Bolles cowgirls. And there's the painting, perched on an easel, not one of the several copies that have shown up over the past few years but the original. The long lost Whoopee girl.
A few months ago, after a four year search (full story here) she was pulled out of a crawlspace in an old house, amazingly none the worse for wear after lying buried for decades. All those false trails, the impostor paintings, and finally she emerges into the light. The painting, used for a 1934 issue of Film Fun, is in near perfect condition. A month after the issue hit the newsstands, Harmon Peery, the mayor of Odgen, Utah wrote a letter to Lester Grady, editor of Film Fun to ask if he could have the original painting to use as a mascot for a rodeo he had started. Just a week later the painting shows up in the mail and her second career as the Whoopee Girl began. This year marks the 75th anniversary of her serving as the official mascot to the Pioneer Days Rodeo, which is being held now.
Mayor Peery's grandson, Robert Peery King and the Egyptian Theater Foundation graciously invited me to the official unveiling of the painting to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Whoopee Girl and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The event was fabulous, and painting simply amazing. If you are interested, you will be able to purchase giclée prints of the original painting directly from Mr. King. I've seen a version done on canvas board and it looks as close to the real thing as you can get. Some of the proceeds will be used to help build the Pioneer Days museum, which once completed with become the permanent home of Bolles' Whoopee girl painting.
So remember fellow Bolles fans, never stop searching. Sometimes dreams do come true.