Ol’ Roy’s history hits close to home

Many, if not most of us, seem to find ourselves in the “big box” company that is Walmart more often that we might like. Doesn’t it seem like they have their way with us, herding us towards impulse buys that we didn’t know, and sometimes didn’t need?

And telling us to use automated checkout lanes or wait in line for the one checker-manned lane?

Personally, I’m a sucker for the Ol’ Roy brand of dog treats that goes as far back as the first days of Walmart’s existence. I know a thing or two about the Ol’ Roy brand, such as the fact that Roy was founder Sam Walton’s dog. The connection goes further.

This writer was the first sales representative of a company known at that time as the Doane Feed Company and the Ol’ Roy brand of dog food was manufactured by Doane.

At that time, the company was headquartered in Joplin, Mo., and consisted of six people, including myself. Today it is owned by Mars Inc. and is part of the stable of brands that includes Milky Way, Snickers and many others. It’s 90-plus employees churn out tons of dry dog food daily in Miami, Okla., under numerous brand names. The company has piggybacked on the success of the Walmart brand.

A brief peek of that success reveals that the Walton family is, according to Forbes magazine, the richest family in the United States, worth $163.2 billion dollars, which is more than $70 billion more than the second wealthiest family, Wichita’s own Koch family. One daughter built a $500 million art museum in Northwest Arkansas called Cristal Bridges. A second daughter is the wife of sports mogul Stan Kroenke, owner of hockey team Colorado Avalanche and the NBA Denver Nuggets. One son is deceased, and a second son was active in company management until 2015.

Sam died in 1992 at the age of 74. He founded and oversaw a gargantuan company. May he rest in peace.

The league was happy to welcome Devria Long back to Valley Center from her and her husband’s new home in Tybee Island, Ga. She did stellar work for us in the kitchen at the father-daughter dance.

Special recognition goes to league member Kelee Crager, owner of Clearwater Trucking, for her generous financial contributions to the dance budget and the use of storage space at her business.

I’d like to list the sponsors of our father-daughter dance. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Platinum sponsor: Home Health and Hospice of Kansas.

Gold Sponsor: Serenity Hospice Care.

Silver sponsors: Halstead Bank, Wendy Reynolds, Clearwater Trucking Co., Harper Camperland.

Bronze sponsors: Zimbelman Construction, Best Western, Edward Jones on Main, Tom Troilo D.D.S., Valley Liquor, Valley Center Veterinary Clinic, State Farm Insurance – Brian Haight.

Donations: LK Accounting, Laura’s Pet Grooming, Leeker’s, Shara Pierce.

Door prize baskets: Avery Automotive, Eden’s Auto Sales, TNT Automotive, DZ Automotive, Johnson Automotive, Anne’s Attic.

Other sponsors: Ark Valley News, Prairie Song Designs, Toby Meadows, Wag’en Tail Ranch, Valley Offset Printing, USD 262.

Silent auction: PawPrints, Michelle Coash, Best Western, Cracker Barrel, VC Rec, House of Hair Salon, Greenscape, Cottage Market,  Anne’s Attic, Ark Valley Animal Hospital, Park City Dental, Strategic Financial Services, Ed and Betsy Varner, Carl and Mindy Crossette, Applebee’s, Breezy’s, The Spice Merchant, Cocoa Dolce, Tara Smith Spa, The GlassMan, Clearwater Trucking, Pathway Church, Girls On The Run, Range 54, Parents As Teachers, The Lions Club.

Ed Varner is a member of the Valley Center Animal League. Reach him at or 616-7487.

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