Waynetta Ausmus grew up in Pawhuska and Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where there is a rich heritage of the West. Rodeos, pow wows, and Cowboy and Western music have always been a part of her life. Waynetta was a teacher and elementary principal for many years in Mesquite, Texas.
In 1998, Waynetta left the formal arena of education to be a freelance storyteller, telling stories of the West, stories of cowboys and critters that she’s known and stories from her Lucky Me Ranch. For the past twelve years Waynetta has produced and hosted a weekly radio show on KJIM in Sherman, Texas, with the format of cowboy/Western music,Western Swing, cowboy poetry and storytelling, with an Everyday Cowboy interview thrown in now and then. Waynetta records her weekly radio show and her internet radio show (Waynetta’s Roundup, Live365) from her home studio, as well as recording the spoken word for cowboy poets and storytellers. Waynetta also leads workshops in journaling and storytelling. She has produced storytelling festivals in McKinney, Texas, and at her ranch.
Waynetta has enjoyed the opportunity to interview Western entertainers and everyday cowboys and believes that she has been enriched by these experiences. “The folklore of the West and storytelling inspire imagination. The people who tell the stories in music, poem, and verse, the folks who are the everyday cowboys-those are my heroes of the West.” Waynetta hopes to keep on “promoting” the Western lifestyle over the airwaves and from the campfires, as well as leading trail rides on her horse Penny Royal.
1. What is your hometown?
I was born in Pawhuska, Okla., (Ben Johnson country), and was raised in Bartlesville, Okla., (Frank Phillips country)…cowboy, horse, cattle country. I’ve lived in Texas since 1971…a “country” in its own.
2. With what fictional character do you most identify?
I think probably one that comes to mind first is Velvet Brown of National Velvet since I can relate to her passion for horses and one in particular…hers, the Pie; mine, Lucky Me. I’ve just never outgrown it.
3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.
Gee, I didn’t know, so I asked my daughter, Eryn, who she thought it would be and she said Sally Field…so I guess I’ll go with that.
4. What work of art speaks to your soul?
That’s a tough one since I like so much…I like the photography of Edward S. Curtis; it just transports you back in time.
I also like the paintings of Nancy Glazier; pictures good for daydreaming. Both artists know how to tell a story in their work. I like that.
5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?
I’m reading a book by Elmer Kelton, The Wolf and the Buffalo and rereading Our Stories Remember by Joseph Bruchac
6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?
I don’t have an iPod. I do have a CD player in my truck and I mostly listen to cowboy/Western music, Western Swing and some classic country and cowboy poetry and stories. I do like big band music of the 40s, too.
7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?
I cry pretty easy in movies…if they are really funny, I can cry; if they are tender, for sure I’m going to cry. But I guess the last one was the rerun of “Open Range”. That got me teary when their dog got shot.
8. Cat person or dog person?
I am mostly a dog person; I get real attached to my dogs. I do like cats though.
9. What is more important, truth or kindness?
They’re both important so I’ll have to say truth with a bit of tact and you get a dose of kindness.
10. How do you define sin?
Anything that doesn’t glorify God…
11. How do you define virtue?
This is sort of simplistic, but basically doing the right thing for the right reasons…taking the high road.
12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?
I don’t plan on having a headstone since I want to be cremated and my ashes to blow in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma. And if I did have something on a stone, I’d like to have, “She was a storyteller”.
Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?
I love interviewing folks for my radio show and I’ve sure had some interesting and fun interviews. But I guess I’d like to hear what Baxter Black has to say. Lynn Anderson, too.