WOODWARD, Okla. (KFOR) – Their dreams of Freedom exist only on paper now, old photographs and even blank checks mounted in huge albums.
Dewayne and Lillian Hodgson grew up and went to school in that little Woods County town.
“Oh yeah,” smiles Dewayne. “That’s all we knew. I was already farming when we got married.”
They got married right out of high school and started producing right away: calves, crops and kids.
Lillian chuckles, “We married in June and had our first child in July.”
“Yeah.” she laughs. “It was a year after.”
Freedom, OK was still a little dusty then, at least in reputation.
“It was probably more work than fun,” states Dewayne.
They started out less than twenty years since the Dust Bowl days, but they had both been heavily involved in the Future Farmers of America, winning state awards and heading each year to the big national convention in Kansas City.
“The Ag teacher was so helpful,” recalls Lillian.
No one figures a skinny kid from such a dry, dusty place would win the National Star Farmer award in 1951, but he did.
“Was it a big deal,” inquires their city guest?
“Yeah, it was a real big deal then,” answers Lillian. “I was always amazed to think that we were picked.”
The Hodgsons moved to Georgia for a little while, but were always drawn to Freedom.
They moved back, raised cattle, pigs, wheat, and whatever it took until they both retired to nearby Woodward, Ok in 2007.
Dewayne is an honored ‘Old Cowhand’ at the annual Freedom Rodeo, but he needs another page in his FFA scrapbook now.
For as long as he can still dream about Freedom he’ll be the oldest living Star Farmer.
“Yeah, I need one more picture in here,” he smiles.
It’s all here in photographs, and old articles, and in his own faraway look.
The freedom of youth, the freedom of success, and the freedom of making farming work for a very long time.
The 95th Annual FFA National Convention is scheduled for October 26-29, 2022.
For more information, visit this link.