Great State: Panhandle Pageant

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KENTON, OKLAHOMA -- Not a soul for miles near the only Oklahoma town on Mountain Standard Time.

That's what if can feel like when the setting sun hits the colorful rocks at Black Mesa.

"It's really nice," says longtime Mesa resident Monty Roberts.

Roberts treads these thorny hills as a rancher.

He and his wife have a bed and breakfast the next hill over, and once a year, they play host to an Easter Pageant like no other.

"Jesus and his twelve disciples meet here for the Last Supper," he says walking next to a natural amphitheater in the rocks. "We have seating for 13."

Sixty-one years ago a local preacher found these rocks and thought they reminded him of the Holy Land.

He organized a little drama for a sunrise Easter service.

Monty's been in the cast or on the crew for forty of those years.

"How many roles have you played," asks a visitor? "Quite a number," replies Roberts.

It takes a hundred local ranchers and their families to put on the show.

Each year, depending on the weather, as many as five-hundred spectators, from five states drive up or sit on the hillside to watch the Last Supper, a trial presided over by Pontius Pilate, a crucifixion, and the Resurrection.

The costumes aren't too fancy but the acting is sincere.

The setting is without parallel.

"We're trying to portray the story of Jesus," says Monty. "We're not trying to do any self promotion on this. It's basically just for His benefit."

They cast hasn't had much of a chance to rehearse this year, too cold and snowy.

But Monty and the rest of the Pageant crew know their parts already.

They know the story too. And they know a sunrise on these rocks is inspiring just about every day.

"Its well worth it to see," Roberts says.

The Black Mesa Easter Pageant takes place Saturday evenings every Easter weekend.

Then they put on a sunrise service on Easter Sunday.

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