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Bright and Brief

April 13, 1986

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) _ First it was hippies, then yippies, then yuppies - and now, at least along the backroads of America, it’s rumpies.

In this neck of the woods, rumpies - rural, upwardly mobile professionals - are for real, says Norman Gambill, a cultural historian at South Dakota State University.

Spurred by the attention paid to yuppies, the name pinned on young urban professionals, Gambill decided to take a look at their rural counterparts.

He found some decided differences between the two groups. For example:

-Yuppies have access to trendy, chic stores. Rumpies get their chic merchandise through mail-order catalogues.

-Yuppies own foreign cars with security alarms. A rumpie probably has an American car which he or she usually forgets to lock.

-Yuppies know several ethnic styles of cooking. Rumpies know at least one vegetarian but eat red meat.

-Rumpies worry about whether something is made in the United States; a Yuppie wouldn’t.

-Yuppies vacation in the country. Rumpies vacation in the city.

″They cross each other’s path on the interstate,″ said Gambill.

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GENE AUTRY, Okla. (AP) - There’s Gene Autry, he, and Gene Autry, it. And n’er the twain shall meet. Well, at least hardly ever.

Autry is a native of Achille, about 30 miles southeast of the Carter County town that bears his name.

Before he headed west, appeared in more than 90 films, and made his fame and fortune, Autry had plans for a rodeo in the 1940s.

He purchased land just west of Berwyn, which earlier had gone through metamorphoses as Lou, for local resident Lou Henderson, and Dresden, for the town in Germany, before settling on Berwyn.

The town renamed itself Gene Autry.

But when World War II began, Autry went into the service and when it ended, he sold the ranch and moved to California.

That left Gene Autry, Okla., in the dust.

Nowadays, Ken Shelton, who runs the Gene Autry General Store, sells videotapes and T-shirts and other memorabilia.

A Chamber of Commerce pamphlet mentions the possibility of a Gene Autry museum. There are Gene Autry film festivals in nearby Ardmore, and a new Cowboy and Indian Celebration on the Fourth of July. There is talk about getting some big-name stars to appear at the show and perhaps starting an Oklahoma country music hall of fame.

As for the town’s namesake, he’s never been back.

Numerous efforts to locate Autry at business and residence locations in California were unsuccessful. He did not return messages.

″Sometimes, I bet he just wishes we’d left the name Berwyn,″ Shelton says.

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