Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: March 17, 2009
A painting of Oklahoman Andy Payne is unveiled in the Senate Tuesday.
Pictured L-R: Delmas Ford, friend of Payne; Preservation Fund
President Charles Ford,
artist Christopher Nick, Payne's son and daughter-in-law Jim and
Linda Payne and Sen. Sean Burrage.
Artist Christopher Nick talks about his painting and the historical
detail that was included in the painting.
Posing with the painting Tuesday following the unveiling in the
Senate Chamber are Payne's
daughter-in-law and son Linda and Jim Payne, Sen. Sean Burrage,
artist Christopher Nick
and Senate Preservation Fund former Sen. Charles Ford.
Senate Dedicates Painting of 1928 Trans-Continental Foot Race
Winner Andy Payne
The Senate unveiled another original work of art
commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation
Fund Tuesday. The painting, by Oklahoma City artist Christopher
Nick, is of Oklahoman Andy Payne who was the winner of the 1928
Trans-Continental Foot Race as well as the Clerk of the Oklahoma
Supreme Court for 38 years retiring in 1973.
“I knew Mr. Payne personally and knew we had to get his
story onto a canvas for others to enjoy,” said Charles Ford,
President of the Preservation Fund. “Not only was he a tremendous
athlete, he also had a great head for business and law, which
was evident in his success over the years.”
After high school, Payne moved to California looking for work,
but jobs were scarce. Fate intervened when the former high school
track athlete saw an ad in the sports pages announcing C.C. Pyle’s
International Trans-Continental Foot Race. With his Dad’s
help, he raised the entry fee of $125, and returned to California
in February 1928 to attend the training camp at Ascot Parkway
in Los Angeles.
The 3,422 mile race from California to New York began on March
4, 1928 and took 84 days to complete. The 20-year-old Payne won
the race and the $25,000 prize.
Payne returned to Oklahoma where he paid off the mortgage on the
family farm, built his parents a new home, and bought himself
some land and a new car. He married his wife, Vivian, in 1929.
In 1934, with no job and the country caught in the Depression,
Andy ran for clerk of the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and won.
He continued to be re-elected, leaving only for two year to serve
in the Army during WWII. After turning 40, he attended law school
at night and earned a law degree.
His real interest was land acquisition especially mineral production.
He held onto the land and minerals he had bought with his winnings
and continued to buy more. Coal, gas and oil were discovered on
his land something he planned for having studying geology in order
to make better land purchasing decisions.
The painting was a gift of the Andy Payne family. Senator Sean
Burrage, who represents Payne’s hometown of Chelsea,
made the suggestion to Ford to contact the Payne family about
the possibility of commissioning the painting.
“What a great example Mr. Payne is to each of us of how
hard work and determination can pay off. His story is especially
pertinent today when so many are facing such hard economic times
like he and so many others did during the Great Depression, but
he didn’t let anything hold him back,” said Burrage,
D-Claremore. “He was a great Oklahoman, and I’m glad
that the story of this Rogers County native will forever grace
the walls of the State Capitol.”
This and other art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical
Preservation Fund, Inc. can be found on the Internet at www.oksenate.gov.
For more information contact:
Sen. Burrage's Office - 405-521-5555