Page 1

Fall 2016


From recreation to lodging to restaurants,

Let us be your guide

Enter Cherokee Nation Celebrate a cultural holiday in the Cherokee Nation's capital city


Plus Smoke & Sauce: Muskogee Flavors Tudor Retreat Boating in Cardboard

Fall Edition t Volume 1, Issue 1 September 2016 214 Wall Street Muskogee, Oklahoma 74401

On the Cover


A barge travels down the Arkansas River in Oklahoma's River City Region.



What do those Cherokee letters above mean? That you're invited to celebrate the Cherokee National Holiday in Tahlequah.

In Each Issue

16 This Retreat is a Treat


Looking for a place to stay during a trip to Oklahoma's River City Region? Book a room at this classic Tudor.

Contents 22 You'll Never be so Happy to be Blue Check out the Rentiesville Dusk 'Til Dawn Blues Festival

26 Competing in Cardboard Boats Cheer for the competitors in the River Rumba Regatta cardboard boat — or sign up to compete yourself

30 Muskogee is the Place to be for BBQ p Check out our list of favorite barbecue joints — and get ready to lick your fingers

38 Step Aboard this Piece of History The USS Batfish is a World War II champion at sinking enemy submarines

44 Hit the Road in River City Region Let Darla Boydstun tell you what makes it so enjoyable to hop on your motorcycle and ride the Region

48 Storytelling in Bronze

t A Ponca artist shows and tells legends in sculptures

58 The Countdown Clock is Ticking Mark your calendar for the next G Fest music festival 2 t Oklahoma River City Region

Publisher's Desk VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

Oklahoma River City Region magazine is published quarterly by the Muskogee Phoenix. Contents of the magazine are by the Muskogee Phoenix. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior consent of the Muskogee Phoenix. Oklahoma River City Region A division of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. P.O. Box 1968 Muskogee, OK 74402 818-684-2888 Copyright 2016 Email photo or article submission queries to Subscription: $20 annually POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Oklahoma's River City Region magazine, 214 Wall Street, Muskogee, OK 74401 PUBLISHER John Newby EDITOR Ed Choate ADVERTISING SALES Therese Lewis LAYOUT AND DESIGN Julie Stroebel Barichello CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Darla Boydstun Harrison Grimwood Mark Hughes Travis Sloat Cathy Spaulding CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Mandy Lundy

Welcome to Oklahoma’s River City Region! In your hands, you have the inaugural issue of Oklahoma’s River City Region magazine. We not only thank you for taking the time to peruse our pages, but invite you to become part of what we believe will be one of the most powerful locational brands in Oklahoma. We invite you to experience what tens of thousands experience each and every year. Oklahoma’s River City Region represents a geographic region that consists of roughly a 25-to-30 mile radius around Muskogee. It is the home of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, the USS Batfish, the famed Castle of Muskogee, expansive lakes, and so many more great destinations. This area — which stretches roughly from Wagoner in the north and Eufaula in the south and from Tahlequah to the east to Okmulgee to the west — has so much to offer its visitors, much more than one might ever imagine. Oklahoma’s River City Region magazine is on a mission to uncover all the hidden — and not so hidden — gems and nuggets throughout this region and then share those with our readers and the tens of thousands of visitors to the region. This magazine will reflect opinions and experiences as well as the many tastes and flavors found in this outdoor and historical region. Join us as we convey thought-provoking articles and features on the people who have located here, the places you don’t want to miss, and the many events that mean so much to our local communities and are a literal treasure for those visiting the region. But don’t stop there! Oklahoma’s River City Region is so much more than a magazine. Our region means different things to different people. Whether one enjoys boating and fishing, hunting various food indulgences, bird watching, wine tasting, concerts, sheer natural beauty and the many other opportunities, our region has it all, and it is right at your fingertips. Distribution of this magazine will be somewhat unique. In fact, if you live outside the region, this may be the only time you get one mailed to your home this year as we move the magazine geographically throughout the state each quarter. To ensure continued delivery, we invite you to subscribe to our quarterly publication for only $16, which is 20 percent off the newsstand price. By doing so, you will have a front-row seat to all the activities long before they happen. In addition, you will have your finger on the pulse of major events allowing you to plan a family vacation or activity in this amazing region. Don’t just sit idly by thinking about all the things you wish to do and experience. Come out to Oklahoma’s only River City Region and spend some time with us. Join the tens of thousands who have already uncovered this hidden secret right here in Oklahoma. See you in Oklahoma’s River City Region. John A. Newby Founder & Publisher Oklahoma’s River City Region Magazine Oklahoma River City Region t 3

Editor's Note

Barbecue, history, cardboard boats ... River City Region has it all Welcome to the first edition of Oklahoma’s River City Region magazine. It is our pleasure to introduce you or reacquaint you with the area we call home. I’ve had the pleasure of living in Muskogee for 11 years, and I can say what makes the experience memorable are the people and places. We will take you on an exploration of an area in an approximate 30-mile radius of Muskogee. If you like barbecue, you can’t find a better area in Northeast Oklahoma in which to indulge your taste buds. Muskogee has multiple barbecue restaurants. We will take you on a tour of a few of them in this edition. We’re sure you know Merle Haggard’s great anthem, “Okie From Muskogee.” Merle put Muskogee on the musical map, and we are forever grateful. In this edition, we introduce you to the man who is making a monument of Merle. Dan Jones’ creation will sit at our civic center and remind people forever more of our tie to the great country-western singer/songwriter. Merle was supposed to headline our inaugural G Fest music festival this past June. Though he passed away in April, he left a everlasting legacy. G Fest went on, including a special tribute to Merle. Read all about the success of the first G Fest and make plans to come here next June. Our area consistently attracts motorcycle riders from all around. We invite you to ride with Darla Boydstun as she takes an impromptu motorcycle ride in the fall. Boydstun’s first-person essay will have you wishing you owned a motorcycle. If you enjoy history, there’s much to be seen in our River City region. If you enjoy World War II history, Muskogee’s War Memorial Park is a must-see. Muskogee is home to the USS Batfish, a World War II submarine. Tour the Batfish and learn of its history. That’s not all. If you enjoy Native American history, our area has much to explore. A great place to start is the Cherokee National Holiday, held each year over the Labor Day weekend. There is much to learn and much to enjoy in Tahlequah. We hope you enjoy this first edition of our magazine. And we hope to see you soon. Ed Choate Editor Oklahoma’s River City Region Magazine 4 t Oklahoma River City Region

Ponca Tribal Princess Lexia Leney Kent tosses candy from the roof of a vehicle during the 2015 Cherokee National Holiday parade.

As the Cherokee Say,

ᏫᏤᏙᎸᎢ ('Witsedolvi,' or 'Y'all Come')

Cherokee National Holiday is open for all to celebrate By Harrison Grimwood, with file photos


jubilee for Native Americans and Americans alike, the Cherokee National Holiday is an annual festival which attracts families. Two Cherokee families said during the 63rd holiday that coming to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma capital city, Tahlequah, is a lifelong affair.

Cherokee Nation Color Guard Watie Bell, a Navy veteran, stands by solemnly during the blessing of the 2015 State of The Nation address. 8 t Oklahoma River City Region

Carisa Bird, Misty Ashley and their families made another mark on their calendars as they spent a Saturday morning watching a two-hour long parade, a cornerstone of the holiday. “It’s just something we do every year,” Bird said during the 2015 parade. “We always came. And we do now, especially since we have the younger kids.” The festival is held Labor Day weekend. For 2016, it is scheduled for Sept. 2 through Sept. 4. Ashley said during the most recent holiday that she brings her kids out each year so they can “see things they don’t normally get to see when they come to the Nation.”

“The Cherokee National Holiday is a festive time in Tahlequah,” the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s National Holiday webpage states. “We hope it will be an event you and your family will want to experience every Labor Day weekend.” Cherokees celebrate their heritage, cultural awareness and reunite families during the weekend. The three-day affair is often shared in joy with other tribes and Americans. The holiday features many aspects that would appeal to many personality types, including blowgun competitions, Cherokee marbles, golf and softball tournaments, bluegrass and gospel music, fiddling contests, museum tours, vendors and the Principal Chief ’s State of the Nation Address.

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A Remember the Removal rider stops during the 2015 Cherokee National Holiday parade route to pass out candy to youth spectators.

Bird said she has been coming to the festivities for a little over 30 years. Now, she brings her 2-year-old son, Preston. Ashley’s daughter, Alyssa, sat with her cousin, Preston, throughout the parade. As Preston’s CHEROKEE favorite police cars NATIONAL HOLIDAY and firetrucks WHEN: Sept. 2 through Sept. 4. drove by, horns blazing, Alyssa WHERE: Various venues in and covered his ears. around Tahlequah. “He said it was INFO: too loud,” Alyssa AboutTheNation/National said during the Holiday.aspx 2015 parade. For her whole life, Alyssa has come to the National Holiday from the the Briggs area with her family, Ashley said. the holiday. The downtown Tahlequah parade, “The Cherokee National Holiday is storytelling, games and hands-on a festive time in Tahlequah,” the Chercrafts are staples for children during okee Nation of Oklahoma’s National 10 t Oklahoma River City Region

Holiday webpage states. “We hope it will be an event you and your family will want to experience every Labor Day weekend.”

Oklahoma NDN BKR club members roll through downtown Tahlequah at the Cherokee National Holiday parade during the 2015 holiday.

p ABOVE: Three young boys lean out during the 2015 Cherokee National Holiday parade, keeping an eye open for candy. t OPPOSITE PAGE: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker delivers the State of the Nation address during the 2015 Cherokee National Holiday. Oklahoma River City Region t 11

Get a Little R&R at the

B&B By Cathy Spaulding, Photos by Mandy Lundy

Graham-Carroll House a comfy retreat


uests can expect to be treated royally at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast. And sometimes, like during the Muskogee Renaissance Festival each May, they might even dress royally. April, May and June are busy months at the Graham-Carroll, a five-suite, Tudor-style cottage in Muskogee’s Founders’ Place Historic District. April draws flower-peepers during the annual Azalea Festival. May draws Renaissance Festival

participants and visitors. June draws weddings, said Jeff Crane, who operates the bed and breakfast with his wife, Donna Crane. The Cranes have operated the Graham-Carroll House since early 2015 and have already established a reputation for homelike hospitality. Topher Rodgers of Oklahoma City has come to the Graham-Carroll for two years. As a Renaissance Festival character, Rodgers stays there every weekend in May. He said he has three reasons for “absolutely” returning each weekend.

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“One, Donna and Jeff’s hospitality; two, the food; three, comfortable beds,” Rodgers says. “It’s ‘way nicer than a hotel.” He says the hosts and guests are “almost like an extended family.” “If we need more room, we can relax in the parlor,” Rodgers says. “It really is like coming to visit family. ‘Make yourselves at home. What can we get you?’” Upon arriving at the Graham-Carroll House, guests are led to the front entrance to get “first impressions,” Jeff Crane says. “We let them get their bearings and tell them about the history or architecture of the house,” he says. Guests then are taken to their rooms. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, theme and history.

'Some of our patrons feel the fun of bed and breakfasts is to meet new people and have breakfast with them.' “The Honeymoon Suite used to be the library,” Jeff Crane said. Guests may then enjoy other parts of the house. A rooftop balcony is popular in calm weather. They may feel the backyard breeze by a koi pond. They may relax and read in the parlor. A bookshelf features easy reading materials, such as Reader’s Digest condensed books, Max Lucado devotionals, “Calvin and Hobbes” comic anthologies, even “Horton Hatches the Egg.” That’s the bed part. The breakfast part comes with three courses and plenty of coffee or tea. One Saturday morning, the Cranes treated their guests to goblets of Greek yogurt, granola, berries and honey. The second course featured a fluffy soufflé. The third course was a hot Bavarian apple pancake, with powdered sugar and whipped cream glopping off each slice. “You always get food from all four food groups,” says Donna Crane, who spent the morning preparing the feast. 16 t Oklahoma River City Region

p ABOVE: Visitors, such as Topher Rogers of Oklahoma City, do not have to dress like a king to be treated royally at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast. The house hosts many Renaissance Festival guests each May. q BELOW: Guests at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast can have breakfast surrounded by nature in the conservatory, one of several places to dine at the historic house.

A stay at Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast is delicious as well as beautiful. TOP: Souffles billow from dishes, fresh from the oven at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast. MIDDLE LEFT: A goblet of Greek yogurt, granola, berries and honey is only part of breakfast at the Graham-Carrol House Bed and Breakfast. MIDDLE TOP: A hot Bavarian apple pancake, topped with a blizzard of powdered sugar and a creamy peak, highlights a three-course breakfast at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast. MIDDLE BOTTOM: Health-conscious diners can enjoy fresh berries for breakfast at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast. BOTTOM: A puffy souffle, filled with cheese, is part of a three-course breakfast at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast.

Guests may dine at intimate tables in the conservatory or family style in the dining room. They may eat early or late. The Cranes are willing to accommodate. “Some of our patrons feel the fun of bed and breakfasts is to meet new people and have breakfast with them,” Jeff Crane says. “Some people want to wake at the crack of dawn. Some people want to sleep in.” The Graham-Carroll House, with its steep-pitched roof and thick wood beams, dates more than 80 years. However, the site history reaches back to 1913, when the it was built by the Graham family, co-owners of the swank Graham-Sykes Department Store. The original house — a sweeping, broad Prairie-style house — mysteriously burned to the ground shortly after the 1929 stock market crash, Donna Crane said. Texas petroleum engineer Fred Carroll bought the property and built a new Tudor house for his wife. According to a 1991 newspaper article, blue slate on the roof came from the Fort Gibson military post. Donna Crane said the Carrolls had the house until the 1980s. It then was a bed and breakfast until around 2011 when it went into foreclosure. A year later, the Cranes came from Greeley, Colo., and bought the house. The Cranes spent years restoring the house’s historic grandeur. Oklahoma River City Region t 17

With its steep pitched roofs, dark wood trim and stone work, the Graham-Carroll House welcomes visitors with Tudor charm.

A gentle waterfall, seasonal flowers and stone walkway welcome visitors to the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast.

The Cranes found two of the house’s chandeliers in a Rubbermaid tote, Donna Crane said. They spent 27 hours cleaning at least 3,000 crystals and reassembling the fixtures, she said. One hangs above a staircase, sparkling the entry with light. The other circles doughnut-like around a ceiling lamp in the parlor. Although primarily a bed and breakfast, the Graham-Carroll House is open 18 t Oklahoma River City Region

A pond filled with fish and lily pads complements the gardens at the Graham-Carroll House Bed and Breakfast.

for other events, such as weddings and family gatherings, Jeff Crane said. However, some guests see the house as a refuge, he said, “a place where they need to escape.” “When they are leaving, they say they are in better shape than when they arrived,” he said, adding that hallmarks of the house are “love, acceptance and welcome. Just that personal touch.”

About Graham-Carroll House Bed & Breakfast ADDRESS: 501 N. 16th St., Muskogee. PHONE: (918) 683-0100. WEBSITE: www.grahamcarrollhouse. com, FACEBOOK: Graham-Carroll House.

You'll be blue from

Dusk 'til Dawn Story and photos by Travis Sloat

20 t Oklahoma River City Region

Selby Minner is the lead singer and bassist in The Selby Minner Band featuring Oklahoma Slim. She is also the co-organizer of the Rentiesville Dusk 'Til Dawn Blues Festival on Labor Day Weekend, along with her late husband, D.C. Minner.


f hot August weather gives Oklahomans the blues, Selby Minner gives them a chance for some commiseration on Labor Day weekend. The 26th annual Rentiesville Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival will kick off Sept. 2 in Rentiesville, and will be from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sept. 3 and 4 as well. Minner said the festival is one of the longest running that she knows of in the nation. “One of the things that’s special is it’s turning 26,” Minner said. “We’ve been doing this since 1991, and that’s

one of the oldest in the state. That’s an accomplishment. “We have a great show here. People know that it doesn’t matter if they know the artists or not, they know that if they come out, they’ll have a good time. That’s the reputation we’ve built.” Headliners for this year’s festival include blues legends Joanna Connor and Johnny Rawls, Norman Jackson, Leon Blue and Jimmy “Preacher” Ellis, among many more. There will also be several local and regional bands to enjoy, Minner said.

'If you want to keep the music alive, you have to honor the people who play with a hall of fame, you employ the people who play, you market the artists and you teach them.'

Oklahoma River City Region t 21

“Once you pull a crowd with headliners, if you don’t give your local musicians a chance, you’re missing the boat,” she said. “We’ve got guys from Lawton, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Texas. We really do try to showcase this region’s blues. Just the amount of blues music that has come out of Oklahoma is astronomical, but people don’t know it.” According to, there will be free camping available at the festival to those who have a wristband. There will also be electric hookups for recreational vehicles. Tickets for the show are $15 per day, but Minner has introduced a volunteer program that can save show-goers some money, and even net them some merchandise. “If they want to come help us out, they can come in and sign up for three-hour shifts of volunteer work,” Minner said. “They’ll get their $15 back and half off a shirt. That’s also great for single people coming in. They don’t have to be alone. If they volunteer, they’ll meet people.”

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one being employing the musicians who play. “If you want to keep the music alive, you have to honor the people who play WHEN: 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sept. 2, 3 and 4. with a hall of fame, you employ the peoWHERE: Rentiesville. ple who play, you market the artists and you teach them,” Minner said. “The arts COST: $15 per day, children 12 and under are free. have done more to boost the economy than most people realize. Artists can reINFORMATION: Selby Minner, (918) juvenate an economy. 855-0978 or “It’s important to draw attention to the rich musical culture from this state,” The shows will be performed on two she continued. “In the blues world, outdoor stages until midnight or 1 a.m., people think the music went from New Minner said, and then the headliners Orleans to Mississippi to Memphis to will be moved indoors to the club, where Chicago. But there’s another branch they’ll play until 5 a.m. called Texas Hot Box, and that music is “This is the nicest bunch of people slicker than the music from Memphis. you’ll ever meet,” she said. “We have That’s the music that became the West good security, and it’s very laid back; Coast Blues. you’ll get to talk to the musicians. Peo“My theory is that we have to give ple are more relaxed here. Everyone is credit to that and say that Oklahoma walking around smiling.” and Texas are the cradle of the West Minner credits the ongoing success of Coast Blues. That’s what we’re doing the festival to a couple of simple steps, with this festival.”

26th annual Rentiesville Dusk 'til Dawn Blues Festival

Let's get ready to


Cardboard regatta gives way to friendly competition By Mark Hughes, with file photos


Teams compete in a race with boats they constructed from cardboard during the River Rumba Regatta.

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hat draws people to build a boat out of cardboard and attempt to float it at a public event? For Karen Flusche, owner of The Ritz Salon, it’s creativity, competition and team building. “We plan for this all year,” she said. “At the race, we start talking about next year — it’s year around excitement.” The Knotty Girl 6 is the name of their boat, and she says teamwork is the reason for their success at the annual River Rumba Regatta. “We have never left without a trophy,” she said.

The trick to winning the River Rumba Regatta is making it to the finish line before the boat falls apart — an all-too-likely risk since the boats, such as the canoe shown below, are made of cardboard.

Her team has collected nine of them. The first year they entered they didn’t get too far before they sunk. “We didn’t get it far enough to drag it across the finish line,” Flusche said. The interior of the boat had pink velvet lining, which got wet and weighed it down causing it to sink. That’s the year they won best decorated. Flusche’s dad is the engineer, but it also takes her other teammates to make it all worthwhile. “Some of us are good at rowing, some good at painting the boat — it’s definitely a group effort.” The first year engineering firm Holloway, Updike and Bellen entered, they didn’t have much success, either. “We were in the first heat and had a

three- to four-boat lengths and winning by far,” Wes Stewart, associate engineer, said. “Three-quarters of the way through the course the rudder breaks and the boat goes in a big circle and we end up losing.” The second run wasn’t much more successful — they ran into another boat. “We’re an engineering firm and we’re supposed to win things like that, but when you’re racing, things like that happen.” Georgia-Pacific officials see River Rumba as “a chance to come together with our community to enjoy a little friendly competition and to work together as a team,” said Megan Herriman, community involvement coordinator.

Since 2012, up to 45 mill employees have been involved either in designing the boat or in the competition. They’ve entered two boats — Wave Wiper and Stewardship. Georgia-Pacific competitors have won several first and second place positions but are most proud to have received the best team effort in 2013, Herriman said. Their most memorable highlight was last year when their rowing team consisted of employees and their children, she said. Despite a busy schedule during this year’s River Rumba, Alma Pickle, with Advanced Workzone Services, expects them to enter a boat this year. “We don’t get fancy with the design,” Pickle said. “Last year it was simple and Oklahoma River City Region t 25

basic — let’s-hope-it-floats boat.” “We typically win the Admiral’s Award for the biggest bribe,” she said. Workzone employees purchase everything for their barbecue sandwich sales — meat, buns, chips — and all the money they make goes to the Muskogee Exchange Club. “We usually raise in the neighborhood of $800 to $1,200.” Kelly Rowan’s entries have always been on a grand scale and involves his interest in history. “I’m a big history buff — anything to do with history, government or the war fighter,” he said. Rowan’s previous entries have included a military tank, a replica of Air Force One, a pink Cadillac and a replica of Oklahoma State University Pistol Pete. He won Pride of the Regatta twice, which was the top award, and also a best decorated award. When Rowan entered Air Force One, the judges “couldn’t give me Pride of the Regatta again so they created The President’s Award.” He said that he “stepped 26 t Oklahoma River City Region

Life jackets and the ability to swim are all part of the game. When cardboard boats fall apart, competitors find themselves taking a swim in the waters of Three Forks Harbor.

out” of the competition for the last two years “so others could win the awards.” But he’s coming back — big time. This year, he’s building the Red Baron tri-winged airplane complete with

Snoopy in the cockpit with his scarf and goggles atop his head, Rowan said. The paddle boat plane will be about 20 feet long and seat four people, two on each side and “should be pretty impressive.”

Main Street Muskogee There’s Always Something Going On In Historic Downtown Muskogee


Muskogee 28 t Oklahoma River City Region

s w o kn


restaurants that will make your mouth water By Cathy Spaulding, Photos by Mandy Lundy


rive by Muskogee’s barbecue places late in the morning and you’re bound to get hungry. Beefy, meaty aromas rise from smokers, swirling around parking lots, tempting passers-by. “That’s my advertising,” Mahylon’s Barbecue restaurant owner Kenny Greer says, savoring the smell. “That, and word of mouth.” People do talk about Muskogee barbecue. With six locally operated restaurants, people have ample options for great ‘cue — My Place, My Place West, Smokehouse Bob’s, Cowboy’s, Mahylon’s and Runt’s. “Muskogee should be put on a map nationally,” says Russell Pratt, who opened Runt’s Bar-B-Que in 2001. Pratt says some customers come four days a week. “And we’re only open five days a week,” Pratt says. “It’s something Muskogee should be capitalizing on,” Greer says. “Different regions brag about this and that and how their barbecue is better. I don’t think you can find any better barbecue than right here in Muskogee.” Muskogee’s barbecue restaurants have one thing in common — hickory.

Shown at right, top to bottom: u Smoked meat topped with coleslaw and a side of fries from Runt's; brisket with a side of baked beans and fries from Mahylon's Barbecue; a meat platter with a loaded baked potato from Cowboy's Bar-B-Q and Grill; the buffet at My Place. t Shown opposite page: Waitress Kelsey Cantwell serves up an order at My Place West. Oklahoma River City Region t 29

z Counterclockwise from top left: Roger Richter is a loyal My Place West diner. Bob Newton is a longtime Muskogee establishment. He has operated Smokehouse Bob's for 35 years. He is shown with one of the onions he grows behind his restaurant. Diners follow the instructions of the yellow "Order Here" sign and select their meal at the counter of Cowboy's Bar-B-Q and Grill.

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The soft wood grows abundantly in River City Region forests, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services website. “It gives you a good smoky flavor without overpowering the meat,” says David Vanderford, owner of Cowboy’s Bar-B-Q and Grill. “All I’ve ever used is hickory.” My Place West proclaims hickory smoked meats from its sign. But the proof comes when you bite into a sliced brisket sandwich and taste the mildness on the meat. Another common factor — time. “Low and slow is the way we do it,” Vanderford says, adding that he smokes brisket for 18 hours, pork butts for 18 to 20

hours and ribs for five hours. “I smoke at night,” says Bob Newton, who has operated Smokehouse Bob’s for 35 years. “I fire it up, get a little meat coming in on Thursdays. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I cook all those nights.” Newton says Smokehouse Bob’s customers “know they’re going to eat some good, tender meat. And they’re going to have meat that’s got smoke, and it’s going to have flavor.” Greer says Mahylon’s 100 percent wood-fired pit takes a long time to get smoking. He says he starts smoking his brisket around 7 or 7:30 the night before it’s served. Oklahoma River City Region t 31

Diners enjoy the rustic settings and smoky flavors of barbecue restaurants around Muskogee, including Cowboy's Bar-B-Q & Grill, (top p) made festive with strings of colored lights; and My Place, (right u) where a bear in the rafters guards the dining room.

“The brisket will come off around 5:30 or 6 o’clock in the morning, and then we go back on with all our other meat items that don’t take as long as brisket,” Greer says. “It’ll all come off by 10:30. And we do the same thing again at 1 o’clock. We cook fresh twice a day.” Starting a slow smoker takes time. As a result, most Muskogee barbecue places close on Sundays. Not My Place Bar-B-Q on Gibson Street. My Place attracts after-church crowds with its buffet, tender meats and homemade sauces. “We have mild, hot and sweet sauces,” says Lisa Palmer, who owns My Place with her father, Ronnie Downing. That place has been an institution on Gibson Street since 1927, although it has gone through several owners. The Downing family bought it in 1969 and secured its reputation for good pit barbecue. In 2002, the family built a larger place just east of the original stand, allowing it to 32 t Oklahoma River City Region

Mahylon's (above p) is a popular destination for fans of barbecue. Another favorite location is Smokehouse Bob's, where visitors will find owner Bob Newton (top left) smoking and grilling meats (bottom left).

broaden its appeal with a buffet. Muskogee’s barbecue places are gaining reputations beyond their ribs and briskets. The beans, sauce, slaw and potato salad at My Place West are so popular, customers buy them by the pint. They also can buy meats — chicken, ribs, turkey, brisket bologna and links by the pound or half-pound. Runt’s serves burnt ends, brisket tips that are rubbed and smoked an extra three hours, making them melt-inmouth tender. The places are branching out in other ways. Smokehouse Bob’s serves fried okra fresh from its adjacent garden. Cowboy’s offers ribeye steaks, burgers and stuffed baked potatoes. Mahylon’s has charbroiled sandwiches and burgers, salad and loaded bakes. Runt’s serves chicken, catfish and shrimp. Oklahoma River City Region t 33

BBQ Local Favorites

Cowboy's Bar-B-Q & Grill, 401 N. York St. (918) 682-0651. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Mahylon's, 3301 Chandler Road, (918) 686-7427. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Tuesday through Saturday.

My Place, 2021 Gibson St. (918) 683-2021. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. My Place West, 4322 W. Okmulgee Ave., (918) 683-5202. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Runt's Bar-B-Que, 3003 W. Okmulgee Ave., (918) 681-3900. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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Smokehouse Bob's, 1100 N. 11th St. (918) 687-0275. Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

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USS Ba The 'Champion Submarine-Killing Submarine of World War II' Story and Photos by Mark Hughes

36 t Oklahoma River City Region

atfish A

landlocked state that has a record-setting World War II submarine and a museum that reveals its secrets can only be found in Muskogee. The jewel in Muskogee’s crown of museums is the USS Batfish, which holds a record yet to be surpassed in submarine history. The Batfish’s crew is credited with sinking three enemy submarines within 72 hours during World War II, according to Navy records. Its mysteries can be discovered at the War Memorial Park at 3500 Batfish Road.

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By the end of the war, sailors assigned to the Batfish had earned 10 Bronze Star medals, four Silver Stars and one Navy Cross. The USS Batfish earned nine battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation. Part of the citation stated that the Batfish was “persistent and aggressive in her relentless search for vital targets” and “relentlessly tracked down the enemy in three separate, brilliantly executed attacks, launched her torpedoes with devastating speed and skill and demolished three Japanese submarines.” Muskogee’s War Memorial Park has an original USS Batfish bell that exemplifies the urgency of getting this boat out to sea, said Brent Trout, the park’s director. Each ship’s bell has the year the submarine was commissioned. In the case of the Batfish, that would be 1943, but the boat’s bell has the last digit of the year missing. The push to get submarines into the water was evident at the close of the war. Submarines comprised less than 2 percent of the U.S. Navy, but sank over 30 percent of Japan’s navy, including eight aircraft carriers, said Ken Recoy, who served aboard the second Batfish sub. More importantly, American submarines contributed to the virtual strangling of the Japanese economy by sinking almost 5 million tons of shipping — over 60 percent of the Japanese merchant marine. Victory at sea did not come cheaply. The submarine force lost 52 boats and 3,506 men. The Batfish’s reputation as the champion submarine killer almost didn’t come to fruition. In 1943, the sub went through the Panama Canal on its way 38 t Oklahoma River City Region

Muskogee's War Memorial Park has an original USS Batfish bell that exemplifies the urgency of getting this boat out to sea. Each submarine's bell has the year it was commissioned. In the case of the Batfish, that would be 1943, but the boat's bell is missing a digit.

A sheet attached to wood was used by the USS Batfish crew to commemorate their recordsetting war record of sinking three Japanese submarines within 76 hours. Capt. John K. Fyfe was the commander of the boat during that time. His signature is on the bottom right and a drawing of a Japanese submarine being blown in half is on the left bottom. On the backside are the signatures of all the crew and officers with the dates Feb. 12-14, 1945. This item will be removed from public display as the environment and lighting are deteriorating the artifact.

USS Batfish, World War II submarine WHERE: 3500 Batfish Road, Muskogee. Take the Muskogee Turnpike to exit 33. Turn east, then a quick turn north into the park.

COST: $7 for adults; $6 for AAA; $5 for 62+ and retired military; $5 for students (13+); $4 for kids 7-13. (Kids under 7 are admitted free with an adult).

WHEN: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

INFO: (918) 682-6294 or

"This battle flag was flown topside on the USS Batfish, during her last patrol on life guard duty, for three months, 24 hours a day," according to the note by crew member Machinist-Mate Second Class P. V. "Pete" Morreale from Beaumont, Texas. Morreale went on to state that he "want(ed) this flag to be shown where everyone can see it ..." Submarines would rescue downed pilots, calling their efforts "life guard duty." The flag was removed from the Batfish in 1945 by Morreale. Visitors can see World War II artifacts and more Batfish memorabilia including touring the interior of the submarine at the Muskogee War Memorial Park on 3500 Batfish Road.

The USS Batfish was the first submarine to have a church service underwater on the way to war. In 1943, 25 copies of the USS Batfish Bible (shown above left and right) were published, and the Muskogee War Memorial Park has one on display. Machinist-Mate Robert Fulton donated the Bible. Oklahoma River City Region t 39

Crew members of the original USS Batfish display their ship's emblem showing the Batfish along with the number of Japanese submarines they sank. The Batfish's crew is credited with sinking three enemy submarines within 72 hours during World War II, a record yet to be broken.

to Pearl Harbor to deliver experimental torpedoes, Trout said. Along the way they were installing and testing a bathythermograph, which measures the temperature of water outside of a submarine. “The bathythermograph would find cooler pockets of water, and enemy sonar couldn’t see the boat, which allows an enemy ship to pass and the sub could fire a torpedo up the enemy ship’s keel,” Trout explained. He is pretty sure that the Batfish was the first sub to be outfitted with the device. The Batfish was not on war patrol when, off the coast of Central America one of two things occurred, based upon which version the crewmen told — either a German mine layer or an enemy sub detected them and launched depth charges or fired a torpedo, Trout said. The Batfish dove, hid and survived. Only about one-third of the crew

was qualified on the Batfish since the remaining ones had only completed basic training and a “shakedown,” which introduces the crew to the boat’s capabilities and their responsibilities. They were carrying the newly made experimental Mark XVIII torpedoes. The Batfish had two functional Mark XIV steam torpedoes. Had a German sub wanted a serious fight, the Batfish would have been out of luck, Trout said. While the Batfish escaped unharmed, not so the reputation of the civilian contractor who was hired to install the bathythermograph. He was found under the captain’s mattress after the close call, and the crew lost respect in him. However, he made amends when they docked in Panama. He bought the crew drinks and brought on board their namesake, a real batfish preserved in a jar full of formaldehyde. He got his respect back, and the Batfish made it safely to Hawaii and back.

So how did the Batfish get its name? The U.S. Navy has a policy of naming submarines for denizens of the sea, and the USS Batfish was named for the flat, bony fish that resembles the stingray. The batfish, which sits on the bottom supported by its fins, waits for its prey, which consists of almost everything coming within its reach. Before a submarine goes on war patrol, a chaplain and priest bless the boat. After getting blessed, the ship’s bell is left behind in case the sub doesn’t return. If it doesn’t return, then the bell is tolled in their honor. (In the submarine service, their vessels are called a boat. In the U.S. Navy, their vessels are called ships.) The original Batfish’s bell was lost for decades, Trout said. The second USS Batfish (SS 681) was commissioned in 1972, and tradition calls for a relic of the original Batfish to go with them, so the bell was placed in the galley. While SS 681 was maneuvering

against a Russian sub during the Cold War, the bell, which weighs around 100 pounds, fell off its mount and made lots of noise. The boat’s skipper said to take care of that bell or “I’ll throw it overboard.” So on their next shore leave, a sailor took it home and left it in someone’s garage, where it stayed for 28 years until it was discovered and presented at the USS Batfish reunion in 2010. “A bunch of grown men weeped tears of joy,” Trout said. Another first for the Batfish was spiritual in nature. The sub was the first one to have a church service underwater on the way to war, he said. And in 1943, 25 copies of the USS Batfish Bible were published, and the Muskogee War Memorial Park has one on display. After the original Batfish was decommissioned, it became a training vessel and struck from Naval records in 1969 after 25 years in service.

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Darla Boydstun and her husband enjoy hitting the highway on their motorcycles every chance they get. They encounter plenty of scenery along River City Region roads.

Ride Just a

Essay and photos by Darla Boydstun

Reprinted with permission from “Thunder Roads” magazine. ousehold chores done, a couple small projects completed, and now I wait, hoping he will get off early enough today to go for an evening ride. He, my husband, works at a bank. Everyone knows about banker’s hours, right? Well, there really is no such thing. My husband takes his job seriously. He answers calls on his personal phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but if given a chance to go for a ride on our motorcycles, he can turn work off in his mind in a heartbeat. After working as a full-time registered nurse for 28 years I am taking a much-needed break for now, and cherish any riding time we get. We take any opportunity we can to squeeze in an afternoon or an evening ride, and when lucky enough to get a whole day off unscheduled, we take advantage of it. As I finish the last bit of laundry, he calls! Yay, we get a few hours to go out and enjoy “knees in the breeze therapy” before sundown. I go ahead and change into riding clothes and wait the 15 minutes it takes him to drive home. I know he will ask, “Where are we riding?” So I start trying to figure out a route that will get us the best fall foliage or the prettiest sunsets in our allotted time. Then, the next decision, do I ride my own bike today or ride on back with him so I can take in all the sights, smells and scenery in a more relaxed mode.


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This also gives me the added benefit of taking pictures while we ride instead of having to stop, unpack my camera and get the shot. It’s fall in Oklahoma and there is color on those two-lane roads. It’s a day to shoot pictures. That decision made, we will go two up. Now, the decision as to where to ride comes to mind. Northeastern Oklahoma offers some of the most beautiful roads west of the Mississippi River, and we have traveled most of them. I think today, since we just have the last few hours of daylight, that a short ride to one of our favorite restaurants will be just about right. He gets home, quickly changes his clothes and off we go toward Tenkiller Lake and Soda Steve’s Restaurant. As indecisive as Oklahoma weather can be, so can we be about which route to take to our destination. We have the luxury of living on the outskirts of Muskogee and usually have more than one route to choose from to get anywhere we want to go. This evening I choose to just make a nice big circle so we can catch some sights near the Arkansas River to the south of us, then go through Gore, catch the southwest corner of Lake Tenkiller and come back by way of Greenleaf Lake, through Braggs and on around to the east of Muskogee and back home. We arrive at Soda Steve’s within 40 minutes of leaving the house, even after slowing down to a crawl (it’s a no traffic kind of evening) to see if we can spot a bald eagle that is usually perched on a 44 t Oklahoma River City Region

tree overlooking a certain farm pond. It is close enough to the highway I just know one of these days, I will get a picture of it. A few more “twisties” and a few hills and we are there. The restaurant is one of those that you can eat healthy if you are so inclined, but also has The Best Monte Cristo sandwich I have ever eaten. And if you go all out on the decadent side they have a dessert called ‘Hot Fudge Nachos’, but plan on sharing that with several other people because it is ginormous. The rest of the menu varies from specialty burgers to salads to fancy coffees and even their own homemade root beer. As this is starting to sound more like a restaurant critique I have to throw in our (sometimes) motto,”Eat to ride, ride to eat.”

After choosing to eat healthy this evening, we finish our orchard salads and get back on the road. Another layer of clothing and a jacket for me since we are approaching sundown and my chauffeur puts on a light jacket. We head for home, although if you looked at a map it sure wouldn’t look like it. There are enough curves and hills around this part of Tenkiller that the ride is never boring. As we get near Greenleaf Lake we slow down; again looking for another eagle we have seen perched above a nice fishing area. No such luck on the bird watch today. But this is near the area that we typically slow down this time of day to watch for deer anyway. I will caution anyone riding in Northeastern Oklahoma in the evenings, and more so after

Darla Boydstun and her husband enjoy the "knees in the breeze" therapy of riding their motorcycle around River City Region. The Boydstuns live on the outskirts of Muskogee. Darla kept her camera handy on a previous fall weekend ride to capture the Oklahoma countryside at sundown.

dark, to respect the fact that we have an overabundance of deer. This ride is near a large game management area, so the deer population is even greater. Also attracting the deer are the numerous lakes and streams combined with lush farmland; for them it’s deer heaven. As we cruise on through the tiny town of Braggs and past Camp Gruber, an active military installation, the temperature is dropping as rapidly as the last rays of sunshine. It reminds us that summer has truly escaped. We slip by the edge of Fort Gibson and on past the east side of Muskogee and turn toward home. As we like to call our rides that have no problems — such as deer, road construction or unusual traffic situations — we deem this ride “uneventful.”

We make it back home about 45 minutes or so after leaving the restaurant. We arrive, after appreciating no less than four sunsets due to the hills and curves, before it gets really dark. It wasn’t a long ride and it wasn’t even an overly exciting ride, but it was “a ride” nonetheless. These short, spur-of-the-moment type rides are as therapeutic for me as getting a massage or sitting in a hot tub. It’s what we bought the steel horse for ... to ride. P.S. If I can just get him to take off a little early tomorrow, it may be a day to throw a leg over my Sportster and do the same circle – clockwise this time. After all, I took the pictures today. Oklahoma River City Region t 45

yths & usic

Ponca artist tells stories in bronze Story by Harrison Grimwood; Photos by Harrison Grimwood and submitted


rattlesnake bit and killed the coyote when he tried to step across the snake’s path, rather than stepping around. The coyote may have walked away after stepping over the reptile. But he still succumbed to the snake’s venom. The coyote told the snake, before stepping over him, “Look, do you know who you’re dealing with here,” said Dan Jones, a Ponca artist. The coyote told the snake he would probably die from the sheer energy of the coyote’s step. The snake told the coyote “that’s not generally how it happens,” Jones said. “Of course, the value in that (story) is be careful how much you think of yourself when, in fact, you may be putting yourself in great danger by not realizing how you really are or what you’re dealing with,” Jones said. This is one of six Ponca myths that Jones, better known as SaSuWeh, is enshrining in bronze, giving people an opportunity to find lost art. Using the metal, Jones tells the stories of “Coyote and the Turkeys,” “The Orphan,” “Monkey, Rabbit, Coyote and Fox,” and “Coyote and Snake.” Jones is making an indelible mark in telling these six myths through bronze sculptures. The stories he is telling are several millennia old. He chose bronze, a tough metal, as his medium “because of its permanence,” he said. 46 t Oklahoma River City Region

Dan Jones’ rendition of the Ponca myth “Coyote and the Turkeys.”

“Now, it’s just another way of expressing ourselves through the most permanent mediums possible,” Jones said. “I can pick topics that ... I think are important that other people might need to know about us.” Bronze is a tough metal. Jones was commissioned to make these six sculptures for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. He said many of the stories were nearly lost. Through quick response (QR) codes, Jones is making his sculptures into a portal to fuller stories about the myths. The goal is to have the QR codes link to a website operated by those who possess the bronze sculptures, Jones said.

“We tell these stories to our children; these stories of what’s a hero, who’s a villain,” Jones said. “So, from the youngest age you learn who you are, where you come from and who your people are.” Jones said mythology is “how we transmit our values to the youngest ages.” “We tell these stories to our children; these stories of what’s a hero, who’s a villain,” Jones said. “So, from the youngest age you learn who you are, where you come from and who your people are.” Through the years, those traditionally oral stories changed with the dynamics of the culture, Jones said. One example of these dynamics, Jones said, is the changing of elements in “Coyote and Fox.” In the story, certain elements changed, like the introduction of a wagon into the story after colonization. Though his sculptures are static, the QR codes present that opportunity for dynamism. 48 t Oklahoma River City Region

Dan Jones stands with his wife, Angy Jones, in the entrance to their home, next to his sculpture of “Coyote and Snake.�

Jones also is the artist Merle Haggard commissioned for a monument originally intended for Haggard’s California home. Now, that monument is intended for a memorial for the late outlaw country star at the Muskogee Civic Center. Haggard made Muskogee a household name after he recorded “Okie From Muskogee” in 1969 at the Civic Center. Jones said bronze adds a “certain softness to that artist, which he is.” “The piece wasn’t my design at all,” Jones said. “It was Merle’s mythology, really.” Haggard, before his death on April 6, commissioned Jones to build a monument of the Santa Fe Super Chief logo. Since his death, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame representatives began raising money for a memorial, which is set to include the monument. Haggard was raised in a decommissioned Santa Fe boxcar after his family moved out west, Jones said. Deeper than that, however, Haggard talked about the myth of the train and its influence on American music. “It was the medicine shows that were the first vehicle for music to start spreading from community to community,” Jones said. “And then, when the trains started to come along ... that became the archetype for being able to get from city to city and get your music out there.” Haggard held that mythology close to him, keeping it embossed on the side of his tour bus. “Merle considered himself an Okie; he considered himself one of the sons and daughters of the musical uniqueness that is Oklahoma,” Jones said. “Oklahoma has cultivated a long line of people who have impacted (music).” The memorial project would place the monument and bench at the Muskogee Civic Center, near where a section of Boston Street is to be coined “Merle Haggard Avenue.” 50 t Oklahoma River City Region

p ABOVE: Examining a mold, Jones inspects the details of his sculpture “Coyote and Snake.” q BELOW: Jones discusses one of his complete bronze pieces with onlookers.

p ABOVE: Jones rendered a 3-D mockup of what the Merle Haggard memorial could look like when placed at the Muskogee Civic Center. q BELOW (FAR RIGHT): The completed sculpture of Jones’ rendition of the “Rabbit” myth.

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A bronze eagle sculpture created by Ponca artist Dan Jones.

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Fans flock

G 56 t Oklahoma River City Region

to see, hear big-name acts of

Fest By Cathy Spaulding, Photos by Mandy Lundy

Lights of the Love Bottling Main Stage shine on the Avett Brothers during G Fest.

Oklahoma River City Region t 57


our stages, 85 musical acts, thousands of fans, multitudes of memories. G Fest brought them all to Muskogee for three days in June. Festival crowds grew each day, until closing night, when fans packed the 300-acre Love-Hatbox Sports Complex to see Kacey Musgraves perform on the Love Bottling main stage or Tom Skinner’s Science Project on the Currentland-Red Dirt Nation Stage. G Fest coordinator Jim Blair speculated 8,000 to 10,000 fans came for Friday or Saturday performances. Such crowds turned the sports complex into the second-largest community in Muskogee County. At G Fest’s peak attendance, the area had more people than all the surrounding communities — Fort Gibson, Haskell, Warner, Webbers Falls, Oktaha, and Porum — combined. G Fest drew people in with big-name acts: l Texas country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves. l Muskogee’s own Swon Brothers, who gained national fame on the NBC reality-variety show, “The Voice.” l Country star Marty Stuart. l Folk rock family band, the Avett Brothers. l Nashville string band, Old Crow Medicine Show. l Texas fiddlers, the Quebe Sisters. Festival-goers also enjoyed popular Muskogee-area performers, who played at smaller G Fest stages. Selby Minner of Rentiesville jammed with the blues.

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p ABOVE: The Avett Brothers use strings of all sorts to entertain fans at G Fest. The string band performed on the festival’s main stage. u OPPOSITE PAGE: Kacey Musgraves gives G Fest fans a wide-open taste of her Texas country style.

Jermaine Mondaine cooled things down with his saxophone. Millisa Henderson heated things back up with her electric guitar. Bluefish played classic rock. A major G Fest draw was to have been Merle Haggard, who rocketed Muskogee to national acclaim with his “Okie From Muskogee” in 1969. However, Haggard died in April, but Merle clearly was there in spirit, in song — and in art. Tulsa artist Richard Hight painted an oversized portrait of The Hag while Haggard hits, concluding with “Okie From

Muskogee” played in the background. The portrait will hang at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. G Fest performers played Haggard hits. Vian native Heath Wright, who opened the three-day festival with his Hangmen Trio, played a few delicate guitar riffs of “Mama Tried” before fans clapped with recognition. “You know what that means,” Wright said. “It’s mandatory Merle Haggard time.”

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Paul DeFiglia of the Avett Brothers does double duty on instruments.

G Fest 2017 WHEN: June 15-17. WHERE: Hatbox Field, Muskogee. INFO:

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Scores of campers arrived a day ahead of time, securing prime spots in tent campgrounds and along a row of 153 RV electricity/water hookups. Norman music fan Tyler Shadid said “we moved out here as quickly as we could” as he set up his tent. He said he and his friends got their tickets in February. A small city sprang up to serve music fans. Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service and EASTAR Health System set up a mobile medical unit with 16 medics, four nurses, and a doctor. Blair said 350 to 400 volunteers — including many from service clubs — helped at the festival. “And I had a hard-working staff,” he said. Complex grounds became a food truck paradise, offering all sorts of foods and beverages. They included snow cones, po’ boy tacos, Philly cheese steaks and Everything Bacon. The Everything Bacon

food truck offered candied bacon and a gut-busting dish featuring french fries topped with macaroni and cheese with crumbled bacon. G Fest brought more to Muskogee than just music fans from 25 states, Blair said. Those fans likely made an economic impact of $4 million to $6 million on the area economy. “It also shows Hatbox as a viable venue for this kind of event,” Blair said. “Hatbox can become a premier festival player in the region — in the state.” Even so, Blair said there are “100 things we can do better.” For example, organizers are working to improve access to the main stage, he said. The countdown clock already is ticking off the days, hours, minutes and seconds to G Fest 2017. Those dates are June 15, 16 and 17. And Blair said to expect “more of the same — with improvements.”

Fans lucky enough to get front-row viewing show their enthusiasm during a night show. G Fest offered four venues, including a large field and a couple of tents.

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Things to see, things to do in

Arts ART AND FUN, 6 p.m. the second Monday each month, Muskogee Art Guild, 315 Court St. Classes offer a new topic in a relaxed environment. The classes are priced at only $10 and are designed to provide an introduction to various media. Check with the Guild for information on supplies you will need. Schedule: Sept. 12, Glazing with Acrylic Paint with Patti Clinton; Oct. 10, Glass Etching with Polly Moore; Nov. 14, Scratchboard with Polly Moore. Information: Polly Moore, (918) 453-3244 or info@muskogeeartguild. org. FINE ARTS GALLERY, Muskogee Art Guild, 315 Court St. Framed works are for sale and the building is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The work is changed out every two months. Member-created jewelry and sculpture are displayed. MUSKOGEE SHUT62 t Oklahoma River City Region

TERBUG CAMERA CLUB meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Muskogee Public Library. Each meeting includes photography education and the previous month's competition results. All levels of photographic experience are welcome. Information:

and shooting assignments. The club is composed of local artists whose mission is to support the enjoyment, mastery, and furtherance of photography. Membership is not necessary to attend meetings. Information: Gassaway at (918) 682-3745 or

American Veterans and their families.

BENEFIT BREAKFAST, 7 to 9:30 a.m., first Saturday of each month at Porum Landing Fire Department, eight miles west of Porum on Texanna Road or nine miles east of U.S. 69 on Texanna Road. Breakfast will be Harry's biscuits with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, hash browns, grits, coffee, and orOPEN STUDIO, 10 a.m. to ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT ange juice. All items are pre4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, BREAKFAST, 7-10 a.m., pared by board members and Thursday, Muskogee first Saturday of the month, and volunteers. Proceeds Art Guild, 315 Court St. American Legion Post 20, help fund the emergency Artists who are 16 or older 201 Railroad and Walnut and medical emergency serwho want to create and vices offered by the Porum enjoy the company of other streets, Fort Gibson. Cost: $6. Pancakes, sausage, eggs, Landing Fire Department. artists are welcome. There biscuits, and gravy. InforInformation: (918) 617-4743. is no charge. Bring your own supplies and projects. mation: Tim Smith, (918) 577-8738. Instruction is available for beginners. CHOCTAW LANGUAGE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT DAY CLASS, 6:30 p.m. ThursBENEFIT BREAKFAST, 7 THREE RIVERS PHOTO days, Fife Indian Methodist CLUB meets at 6:30 p.m. on to 10 a.m., third Saturday Church, 1100 Eufaula Ave. the first and third Mondays of the month, Disabled of every month at 315 Court American Veterans Chapter HEART HEALTHY COOK7, 4815 W. Okmulgee Ave. St. The club has competiCost: $5, adults; $2, children ING CLASS, 4 to 6 p.m. Suntions the first Monday of days, Berean Seventh-day every month. Certified Pho- younger than 12. Menu: tographic Society of Ameri- Eggs, sausage, biscuits, gra- Adventist Church, 622 W. Southside Blvd. The class is ca judges all photo compe- vy, pancakes, coffee, milk titions. The third Monday is and juice. Proceeds directly free. Information: (404) 4386645. for photography instruction support local Disabled



O F E VE NTS Oklahoma's River City Region WATER AEROBICS CLASS, 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center. Free to members, $8 for non-members. Instructor: Chrystal Flerchinger. Information: (918) 684-6304.

p.m. every Thursday featuring local, regional, and national music acts. Information: (918) 687-0800.

OPEN GOSPEL SINGING, 6:30 p.m. third Monday of each month, Bridge Church, 120 E. Peak Blvd. Sing or ZUMBA CLASSES, 4 p.m. play instruments. Everyone Mondays, 4:30 p.m. and 5:45 is welcome. Information: p.m. Wednesdays; 10 a.m. (918) 520-9222. Saturdays, Tenkiller Area Community Organization OPEN MIC JAM SESBuilding, 32247 S. 540 Road, SION, 6:30 to 9 p.m. second Cookson. Cost: $5 drop in Saturday of each month, or monthly rate. First class Braggs American Legion is free. Information: Joyce 233. Singers and pickers are Bames, (918) 316-0251. welcome. Information: Ray Lafferty, (918) 487-9848.

Events BINGO, 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, American Legion Post 15, 4021 W. Broadway. Single pack, $4; double, $7. Lots of fun for everyone. A service officer will be at the Legion Post from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Thursday for veterans who need help.

BINGO AND LUNCH, Complimentary meal served at 11:30 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month, followed by a free bingo session at the Porum Landing Fire Department, eight miles west of Porum on PAUL MALOY, 7 p.m. FriTexanna Road or nine miles JAM SESSIONS, 6 p.m. days and Saturdays, Plumb east of U.S. 69 on Texanna Sundays, Down Home Blues Theatre, 5 1/2 miles east of Road. Meals will also be Club, 701 D.C. Minner St., Eufaula on Oklahoma 9 at served on the second and Rentiesville. Information: Longtown. Gospel music on fourth Tuesdays of each (918) 855-0978. Fridays and country music month. Blood pressure and on Saturdays. No admission glucose testing will be availMUSIC AT OKLAHOMA charge Fridays; cost is $5 on able at 10:45 a.m. InformaMUSIC HALL OF FAME, 8 Saturdays. Plumb Theatre is a tion: (918) 617-4743. p.m. Thursdays, Oklahoma family-friendly theater with no Music Hall of Fame. Cost: $5 smoking or alcohol allowed. HONEY SPRINGS CIVIL to $10. The Oklahoma Music Concessions will be available. WAR BATTLEFIELD, 9 a.m. Hall of Fame is open from Admission on Saturdays with to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday a special group is $10. Doors Saturdays, near Rentiesville. through Saturday. "Live at open at 6 p.m. Information/ Self-guided tours. Learn The Frisco Depot" is at 8 tickets: (918) 452-2020. more about the largest


American Civil War battle in Indian Territory. Admission is free. Information: (918) 473-5572 or www.okhistory. org/honeysprings. MOTORCYCLE DINNER RUN, 5 p.m. Saturdays, weather permitting. Everyone is welcome. Dinner afterward. For the meeting location, call Steve Hill, (918) 441-1352 or Lorraine Hill, (918) 913-1690. THE PAPILION IN HONOR HEIGHTS PARK, teaching garden and Georgia-Pacific Butterfly House is open daily, weather permitting. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children/seniors 65 and older/military personnel. RED HAT SOCIETY, 6 p.m. first Tuesday of the month, at Cowboys. Information: Gracie Cox, (918) 683-0528. SECOND ANNUAL MOONLIGHT AND MONARCHS DINNER AND DANCE, 6-10 p.m. Sept. 16., Papilion Event Lawn in HonOklahoma River City Region t 63

or Heights Park. Cost: $50/ person, tables of eight, live music and silent auction. Proceeds benefit Papilion Education Programs. In case of inclement weather, the event will be relocated to the hangar at Love-Hatbox Sports Complex. Seating is limited. Information: (918) 684-6303.

Tickets can be purchased at www.muskogeeciviccenter. com at the Muskogee Civic Center box office, or by phone at (888) 610-7208.


MUSKOGEE RUNNING CLUB, 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, Indian Bowl. Free for all runners. Information: Martin Updike, or (918) 577-1956.

SPINNING INDOOR CYCROSS MANIA, 7:30 p.m. CLING CLASSES, 6:15 to 7 Thursdays, Strictly Fitness. a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Information: (918) 683-2639. and Friday, Muskogee Swim and Fitness Center, 566 N. FREE COMMUNITY TAI THOMAS-FOREMAN Sixth St. Information: (918) CHI/FLEX CLASSES WITH HISTORIC HOME TOURS, 681-4733. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and B.J., Spring 2016 schedule: Mondays, 1:30 p.m. Flex, 2 Saturdays. Admission $2 YOGA CLASSES (CHAIR p.m. tai chi, Wagoner First for adults, $1 for students. AND STANDING POSES Information: (918) 686-6624 United Methodist Church, 308 ONLY), 10-11 a.m. MonChurch St., Wagoner. Tuesor www.3riversmuseum. days, beginning Sept. 12, B ​ ethany Presbyterian days, 1:30 p.m. Flex, 2 p.m. com. Church, 2000 Haskell Blvd.​ tai chi, Okay Senior Center across from the post office. Six weeks of one-hour classWILD KRATTS LIVE!, 1 Wednesdays, 4 p.m. Flex, 4:30 es. Cost: $30. Information: p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, Muskogee Civic Center, 425 p.m. tai chi, Muskogee First Martha Stoodley, (918) 6832373. United Methodist Church Boston St. Animated Kratt (second floor), 600 E. OkmulBrothers, Martin and Chris, ZUMBA WITH RACHEL gee Ave. If locked out, call B.J. "come to real life" in a classically Wild Kratts story. Off at (918) 260-3517 to let you in; MEINERSHAGEN, 7:30 p.m. take the elevator to the sec- Tuesdays, Strictly Fitness. "To the Creature Rescue!” the Emmy-nominated Kratt ond floor. During Muskogee Information: (918) 683-2639. Farmers Market operating Brothers activate some fan days: Saturdays (weather perfavorite Creature Power mitting), 9 a.m. tai chi/walk Suits to confront a comic MUSKOGEE CENTRAL (meet at tables by Butterfly villain. Through hilarious HIGH SCHOOL 60th CLASS gift shop, Honor Heights Park; pratfalls and amazing anREUNION, Oct. 7-8, Se10 a.m. tai chi, Muskogee imal ‘wow facts’ the Wild Farmers Market. Instructor: quoyah State Lodge (forKratts team rescues their B.J. Charbonneau. Tai chi also merly Western Hills). Inforfavorite invention from mation: Ollie Briggs, (918) taught at 10 a.m. Mondays Zach’s clutches, so the aniand Wednesdays at the Swim 687-5238. mals of the creature world and Fitness Center. (These are safe once again. Ticket prices are $15, $25, $35, $45 two classes are membership classes.) Information: B.J. Charand VIP tickets with a post MUSKOGEE LITTLE bonneau, (918) 260-3517 or show meet and greet with THEATRE, "Mary Poppins" the Kratt Brothers for $100.



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will celebrate the grand opening of the new Muskogee Little Theatre in the Depot District downtown on Oct. 14 to 22. Not only is Mary Poppins one of the most magical characters in Broadway musicals, but the show itself is filled with the kind of magical moments that will have kids and adults alike wide-eyed and in awe. Everyone's favorite practically-perfect nanny takes the stage in this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious musical adventure. Adult: $20; Student: $17. TAHLEQUAH COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE, INC., Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center, 100 N. Water Ave., Tahlequah. 43rd season: Sept. 16-18, 23-25, The musical, "Gypsy"; Nov. 11-13, 18-20, "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily"; Feb. 10-12, 17-19, "Nana's Naughty Knickers"; April 14-16, 21-23, "Steel Magnolias." All shows are dinner theater and are held at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center, 100 N. Water Ave., Tahlequah. Tickets may be purchased at A Bloom, Morris-Cragar florists or online at www. (click on the ticket tab). Ads and sponsorships are also available. Information: (918) 8224440.

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Oklahoma's River City Region magazine Fall 2016 edition  

A guide to experiences available in the River City Region of Oklahoma

Oklahoma's River City Region magazine Fall 2016 edition  

A guide to experiences available in the River City Region of Oklahoma