FREEDOM, OKLAHOMA – Anyone born more that 80 years ago might have earned the right to stoop a little while walking a freshly plowed field.

“I’ve found quite a few on this patch here,” he says of a patch of ground where he used to grow wheat.

But Victor Burnham spent most of his life looking down, scanning his farm and ranch land for evidence of people and animals who walked these mesas long before he did.

“Here’s something looking at us right here,” he says, bending down to pick up a sharp fragment of flint.

“It was produced by man knocking this piece off a bigger rock,” he continues.

Vic was 5 years old when his aunt made a big fuss over his first arrowhead find.

“Arrowheads are what I like to find,” he smiles. “I got really interested and I’ve been collecting them ever since.”

Over the years he developed a keen sense of where to look and how.

“You never know what you’ll find out here,” we query?

“Yeah.” he responds. “You have to be watchful.”

Handling an excavator as an adult, digging ponds and grading roads, he found dozens of wooly mammoth skeletons and dinosaur bones.

“I can find them from a tractor seat,” he boasts.

One find in the 1980’s, near his property, remains one of the most important sites for Ice Age animal bones in North America.

A number of artifacts are still on display at a museum in nearby Freedom, OK.

“I have 2,500 arrowheads,” he states back on his ranch.

His days on a bulldozer or combine are mostly over.

Burnham spends a lot of his afternoons in his own ‘man cave’ sharing a cold Coors with visitors and pointing out past finds.

He’s happy to be chosen in 2023 as the honored ‘Old Cowhand’ at the 86th Annual Freedom Rodeo and Old Cowhand Reunion, and happier still to be recording the kind of history he insists is everywhere, often just beneath the surface.


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“I’m enjoying life,” he says. “We need to preserve our history and our pre-history.”

For more information on Vic Burnham and his life go to here.

For more information on the Freedom Rodeo go to