I’ve always said Scott Dyke was born a hundred years too late.
Scott’s been a columnist for the Green Valley News for years, focusing on Old West history — mostly those grimy characters who shot up saloons in small towns throughout the 1800s. Maybe that’s oversimplifying it a bit, but you get the idea.
I tell Scott I plucked him from the side of the road, dusted him off and made him a local celebrity — and that he owes me.
There’s a bit of exaggeration there, but it puts the brakes on any raise requests for a while.
Fact is, Scott didn’t need us; he had enough going for him before the local paper horned in and handed him a barrel of ink all his own.
Scott’s a noted Wyatt Earp expert. He writes for national publications, has been credited in books, and he lectures about the people and places that caused a lot of us to fall in love with Southern Arizona. He knows his stuff, and shares a lot of it in his Meandering the Mesquite column.
His writing and knowledge are so deep that you feel like you have to dig the dirt out of your teeth after reading him. Not everybody likes that, so we decided a while back to stretch Scott. Actually, he made the decision and I went along with it. He still sticks to what he knows much of the time, but he routinely ventures way beyond Tombstone and the O.K. Corral.
A few years back, he wrote an incredibly popular column after landing an interview with the wife of late actor Lee Marvin at her home. What a story she had to tell.
He has also talked to athletes and their families (Roy Smalley Jr., Vince Lombardi’s son, Vince) and modern-day lawmen (county sheriffs Tony Estrada and Mark J. Dannels). He has shared his favorite Western movies and TV shows, stories of the naughty ladies of the Old West, and took us cross country as he stopped at pretty much every historic marker between here and North Carolina.
We met a movie stunt man, a cowgirl rodeo champ, and a guy who claimed to be Elvis’ love child. He paid tribute to Mexican-American women through author Patricia Preciado Martin’s book, “Songs My Mother Sang Me,” and saluted countless veterans from far too many wars.
But Scott’s at his best with local folks and their extraordinary lives.
“Everyone has a story, particularly somebody who’s lived to be 90 or a hundred years old,” Scott says. He’s talked to plenty of them. The most unforgettable character? A guy named Bob Van Kirk.
Go ahead and ask Scott about him. You’ll have your chance on Saturday, when he launches our Green Valley Lecture series at 10 a.m. at the Community Performance and Art Center.
Scott will talk and take your questions for about an hour on some of the interesting people he’s talked to, how he prepares for interviews, and what makes a good story. He might even share some of those details that don’t make print because the editor wants the paper to stay in business.
Tickets are $7 and you can get them at our office in advance, or at the door. We hope you’ll join us Saturday.
Here’s the entire lecture series; I’ll introduce you to the speakers in coming weeks. Tickets are $7 each or all four lectures for $25, available at our office or at the door.
•April 7: Scott Dyke
•April 14: Local genealogy experts Sumner Walters, Betty Malesky and Becky McCreary
•April 21: Political scientist David Legee
•April 28: Financial expert Adam Sommers