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Presentation Stage

Conversations with Voices from the Road

The AAA Route 66 Road Fest Presentation Stage is your chance to hear about the past, present, and future of The Mother Road from authors, historians, documentarians, and more . . .

Saturday, June 24th


11:00 a.m.   “The Revolutionary Turning Point in Oklahoma’s Modern Highway System” with Bob Blackburn, former director of the Oklahoma Historical Society 

Bob Blackburn is a native Oklahoman. He served as director of the Oklahoma Historical Society from 1999-2021. Blackburn led the effort to build the Oklahoma History Center, a 215,000 square-foot museum and research center. Blackburn has served on numerous national and regional boards and committees including the Western History Association, the Oklahoma Association of Professional Historians, the AIA, and Leadership Oklahoma City.


1:00 p.m.  “Route 66: An Author’s Perspective” with Joe Sonderman, author and media personality

Joe Sonderman is a radio personality and traffic reporter in St. Louis. He has written more than a dozen articles about Route 66. He has a collection of thousands of postcards and archival images that he says “capture a simpler time, when people were not in such a hurry.”


3:00 p.m.  “The Roots of Route 66” with documentarian Candacy Taylor and Black historian Edward Threatt, Sr.

Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer, art curator, and cultural documentarian. She is the current owner and operator of Taylor Made Culture. Taylor Made Culture produces multidisciplinary projects that enrich, challenge, and inspire new ways to think about culture and identity. Taylor’s work has been featured in more than 80 media including The Atlantic, CBS Sunday Morning, The Economist, The Guardian UK, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Newsweek, PBS Newshour, and the Wall Street Journal.

Edward Threatt Sr.  is the grandson of Allen Threatt Sr., who established the only known Black-owned service station on Route 66. Edward is committed to and passionate about commemorating the station for travelers to enjoy and reminisce about the important history of his grandfather’s establishment and all it did for the Black community.


5:00 p.m.  “Roadside Treasures & the Great American Road Trip” with Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s 

Stephanie Stuckey is the current CEO of Stuckey’s Corporation. She emphasizes supporting the vision of “the great American road trip” within her work. Stuckey is also a former politician, having served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1999-2013.

Sunday, June 25th


1:00 p.m.   Miles to Go: An African Family in Search of America along Route 66with author Brennan Matthews – following his talk with Ken Busby, Matthews will be signing his book 

Brennan Matthews is the author of “Miles to Go: An African Family in Search of America along Route 66.” Brennen’s professional journey has resulted in 19+ years of senior management, 21 years of freelance writing, and eight years of editor-in-chief experience with East Africa’s award-winning Destination Magazine. Currently, Brennen is the editor of ROUTE Magazine, a national American bi-monthly magazine that focuses on the fascinating human stories behind US road travel, Route 66, and classic Americana.


3:00 p.m.   In Conversation with Michael WallisCultural Czar Ken Busby interviews the legendary Route 66 author and the voice of Sheriff from the movie Cars.

Michael Wallis is an award-winning American journalist, popular historian, author, and speaker. He has written 17 books, including Route 66: The Mother Road. His work has also been published in magazines and newspapers including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. He was the voice of Sheriff, a 1949 Mercury 2-door police cruiser and the Carburetor County sheriff in the movie Cars.  “Not in my town you don’t!”

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