Roy Rogers' Horse, Trigger (In Transition)
In its heyday while located in Victorville, CA, the Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Museum got 200,000 visitors a year. Most came to see Trigger, Roy's dead horse.
Roy Rogers, Jr., who managed the museum, told us "We close at five and stop selling tickets at 4:30. But people come after that and beg to get in for a few minutes. They drove 3,000 miles just to see Trigger. We let them in -- and they go away, happy.
While Roy Rogers, Sr. wouldn't be coming by in his golf cart to pose in the lobby any more (he died in 1998), Trigger still had star power. Outside, a 24-foot-tall fiberglass Trigger, reared on his hind legs, letting visitors know that they have arrived.
Trigger was ridden by Rogers in every one of his motion pictures, finding his own fame in the process. After Trigger died at age 33, his hide was stretched over a plaster likeness and put on display, also reared on two legs, inside the museum. He was mounted, then, not stuffed.
Trigger was not alone; Buttermilk (Dale Evans' horse) and Bullet (the Rogers' German Shepherd) were mounted alongside. But these lesser lights were given only cursory glances by visitors, attracting about as much attention as the Roy Rogers fishing trophy or Grand Marshall saddle. People lingered over Trigger, studying, pointing.
After the deaths of Roger and Dale, the museum moved to Branson, Missouri. Its run there wasn't successful enough to survive. The museum closed, and the collection was sold at auction in 2010. Trigger went for $266,500 to an Omaha, NE cable TV company, RFD-TV, which also snagged Bullet the dog. Their plan is to display both in their downtown Omaha headquarters.