Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 4, 2010
Sen. Harry Coates honored Stroud native and Route 66 Rock Cafe
owner Dawn Welch
for her many contributions to the state and historic Route 66.
Also pictured is Welch's
daughter, Alexis Herr, who served as a page this week for Sen.
Businesswoman and Route 66 Promoter Dawn Welch Honored by State
The woman who inspired the character Sally Carrera, the blue Porsche
from the Pixar movie “Cars,” has been one of Oklahoma’s
staunchest supporters and promoters. Thursday Oklahoma returned
that favor when the State Senate honored Stroud’s Rock Café
owner, Dawn Welch. Her daughter, Alexis Herr, served as a page to
the Senate during the first week of the 2010 session, and joined
her mother on the floor for the presentation.
State Sen. Harry Coates represents Stroud in the Senate and was
author of Senate Resolution 83.
“Dawn has truly been an ambassador, not only for her community
but for our entire state. When the movie Cars was released, people
came from all over the world just to relive the Route 66 experience
and meet the real-life Sally,” said Coates, R-Seminole.
Welch said when the film makers were researching Route 66, they
visited her restaurant, ordered one of everything on the menu and
asked her to sit and talk to them about her life, the café
and Route 66. She then became the inspiration for Sally. After the
release of the movie, Welch said business at the Rock Café
skyrocketed, but tragedy struck in 2008 when the building was destroyed
in a fire. Welch vowed to rebuild the café, and did so with
the guidance of a historic preservationist. After learning of her
plight, “Cars” director John Lasseter sent memorabilia
from the film to decorate the rebuilt café.
Welch said she was extremely honored by the Senate Resolution.
“It’s living proof that as long as you love what you’re
doing and have passion about it, you can do anything and make an
impact on the world,” Welch said. “My biggest accomplishment
is to make an impact on my kids and through that desire everything
else has happened. And it’s been an amazing trip.”
“I went through so many hard times during the 17 years that
I’ve had the Rock Café. It’s a teeny-tiny place,
in a teeny-tiny town, on a teeny-tiny road that’s been forgotten.
I think it’s so important for people to save that tradition
in America. It’s something that we as a people don’t
generally look to save…my message to Oklahoma is to never
give up,” Welch said. “I’ve tried very hard to
teach that to my kids to weave history and modern times together.
That’s what I want to teach people I want to say this can
work, we can save traditions, and old buildings and old roads, and
forgotten towns and forgotten people.”
House member Danny Morgan also represents Stroud and was also
in the Senate chamber when Welch was honored. Morgan said Welch’s
enterprise has been an economic boon to the area, with a guestbook
in the restaurant showing how far away people have come just to
eat there and meet the real-life “Sally.”
“Look at that guest book – it is the Who’s Who
across the world. Dawn, thank you for putting Oklahoma on the map.
Thank you for putting Lincoln County on the map, but particularly,
thank you for preserving that piece of heritage that is so important
to this region of the country and to Oklahoma.”
This past New Year’s Eve, Welch was named Woman of the Year
by the Oklahoman newspaper. The January 2010 edition of “Oklahoma
Living” featured a picture of Welch and the Rock Café
on its cover, and named the eatery Oklahoma’s best diner.
She also received national acclaim after publishing her cookbook,
“Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food and Kitchen Wisdom From Route
66’s Landmark Rock Café.”
Coates said Welch’s perseverance and positive attitude were
an inspiration for the community and for all of Oklahoma, especially
during the current economic downturn.
“Dawn was promoting Route 66, Stroud and Oklahoma
long before she received national and international recognition.
Even when she lost her historic restaurant, she never gave up and
she never gave in,” Coates said. “She represents that
can-do spirit that makes Oklahoma great. What Dawn has accomplished
is proof that we can get through the hard times and know that better
days are ahead.”
16, 2006 - Senator Coates Calls New Animated Film ‘Cars’
a Windfall for Oklahoma
(Includes photo of Coates and Welch in front of original Rock Cafe)
For more information contact:
Sen. Coates: 405-521-5547