South Metro Standard April 2024

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Sooner Softball Stadium Built by Love South Metro Eats Oklahoma Smoke High School Sports Facility Upgrades STANDARD • Issue 4 • Volume 1 SOUTH METRO YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY MAGAZINE SPARK PLUG

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Sooner Softball Field Built on Love South Metro Eats Oklahoma Smoke High School Sports Facility Upgrades STANDARD Issue 4 • Volume 1 SOUTH METRO YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY MAGAZINE SPARK PLUG EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mark Doescher MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Cuomo PHOTOGRAPHY Mark Doescher CONTRIBUTORS Roxanne Avery | Lindsay Cuomo Chelsey Koppari | Chris Plank T. J. Turner | Tim Willert ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Trevor Laffoon - Perry Spencer - Tanner Wright - PUBLISHER Casey Vinyard South Metro Standard Magazine 2020 E. Alameda Norman, Oklahoma 73071 Phone: (405) 321-1400 E-mail: Copyright © 19th Street Magazine Any articles, artwork or graphics created by 19th Street Magazine or its contributors are sole property of 19th Street Magazine and cannot be reproduced for any reason without permission. Any opinions expressed in 19th Street are not necessarily that of 19th Street management. APRIL CONTENTS ISSUE 4– VOLUME 1 2024 what’s inside on the cover 26 South Metro Eats Oklahoma Smoke 36 Cornhole Classic Moore Public Schools Foundation hosts annual fundraiser to support local classrooms 12 SOUTH METRO STANDARD Hope & Healing Community investment elevates patient care at Norman Regional Hospital 40 Spark Plug Outfielder Rylie Boone energizes the Sooner softball team. 22 Moore Farm Market Farmers market returns after year hiatus 16 Innovation in Agriculture Moore FFA’s inclusive educational initiatives empower local students 18 Built by Love Love’s Field, a fitting home for Sooner softball 26 Transformative Construction Underway Bond projects enhance athletics, community pride in Moore Public Schools 32

Raising funds for local teachers’ classrooms is the reason behind Moore Public Schools Foundation’s Cornhole Classic, a tournament fundraiser, set for May 18 at 2 p.m. The event features competition, food and live music to benefit all 25,000 Moore Public Schools students. The event has become a spring tradition in Moore and will take place at a new venue this year: First United Bank’s new Moore location, 420 S.W. 6th.

“It’s a party with a purpose and we are thrilled to have the community join us in support of teachers’ classroom needs,” said Moore Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Lizzy Bozarth. “Moving the event from April to May makes the weather less likely to be chilly and we’ll have access to a wonderful outdoor space that can shift indoors if needed. We are so grateful to First United Bank as our host and sponsor.”

This year’s sponsors also include Classen Urgent Care Clinic & Classen Family Medicine, along with Horn Equipment. Bozarth said the event would not be possible without their generosity.

The 2023 Cornhole Classic featured more than 120 participants and raised $44,743.92 for 58 MPS classrooms. All funds directly benefit MPS students. Previous funds have been used to

make projects and purchases possible, from field trips, podcasts and sensory rooms to art supplies, books and drones. Classroom Enrichment Grants will be distributed at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year and this year’s fundraising goal is $50,000.

“We are deeply committed to those grants. At this time, Moore Public Schools Foundation is also involved in a capital campaign called Building Bridges to bring a second location for Bridges of Norman into our area,” said Bozarth. “Classroom grants are still a priority for us while also expanding and branching out of the classroom to protect our vulnerable students experiencing homelessness. This fundraiser is dedicated to the Classroom Enrichment Grants effort with all dollars raised going toward those even as we raise funds separately for Bridges’ outreach.”

Beer, mocktails and cocktails will be part of the event. A kids area will include fun and games.

“Wear comfortable shoes, bring sunglasses and get ready to have a great time,” said Bozarth.

Sponsorships will continue to be accepted through May 3. Donations are also accepted if attendees are unable to participate. Find more information at– SMS

12 | April 2024
Moore Public Schools Foundation Hosts Annual Fundraiser to Support Local Classrooms
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Farmers Market Returns After Year Hiatus

16 | April 2024 COMMUNITY

The City of Moore is partnering with Cleveland County to host the Moore Farm Market, which will be held at the multi-purpose pavilion in Central Park, located at 700 S. Broadway. The market will be held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from May 4 through Sept. 21.

Tara McClain, who serves as Cleveland County market manager and oversees the Norman Farm Market, is also spearheading the Moore Farm Market. The City of Moore Parks and Recreation staff had overseen the market in past years but opted to skip 2023 to evaluate their options and seek assistance from prosperous markets in the area. They were thrilled to partner with Cleveland County and enlist the help of McClain as farmers markets are her sole focus.

have been at the market in past years, and several vendors are planning to visit both the Moore and Norman markets.

“Almost anything you could get at a grocery store, you’re going to be able to get there,” McClain said. “If you have a favorite vendor at Norman but live closer to Moore, you’ll probably be able to find most of them there. We’re going to have a wine vendor, mushroom vendors, people who do fresh flowers, microgreens, sourdough, plants, really anything you can think of. We are going to have a good variety.”

McClain encourages people to visit farmers markets because of the many benefits to eating local foods, including the positive impact on the consumer, local economy and environment.

“Farmers markets are really a passion of mine,” shared McClain, whose love for farming came from having her own farm since 2016. “I had all these extra farmers I wanted to give a place to vend, so it made sense that we took over this market too. We have one person completely dedicated to farmers markets, which is different than if someone is trying to do additional events as well.”

The Moore Farm Market will host approximately 50 vendors, McClain said. About half of those are going to offer fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, and another quarter are going to sell breads. There will also be vendors who specialize in artisan crafts. McClain added there are going to be returning vendors who

“It’s better for the consumer, and it helps out your local economy. That really builds up the community, and farmers markets are also fun. They’re an event, and it’s not just going and buying food,” she said. “You can go to any grocery store and buy food, but you don’t get the camaraderie and you don’t get to meet the people who are raising your food. The vendors care about their customers and do a better job because they know who they’re selling it to.”

To learn more about the Moore Farm Market, visit the City of Moore’s website ( or follow the market on Facebook, @Moore Farm Market.– SMS


Innovation in Agriculture

Moore FFA’s Inclusive Educational Initiatives Empower Local Students

The Moore Public Schools Future Farmers of America chapter recently completed their Special Olympics Livestock Show, an annual event highly anticipated all year. The program is headed up by Jessica K. Dunlap, agricultural education instructor, along with two other teachers.

The Moore FFA Chapter is located at Moore High and when Dunlap took over the program 12 years ago, she wanted to branch out and offer it to all three high schools. Students at Southmoore and Westmoore are bussed in every hour with all three schools in classes together so they can experience kids from other schools.

The livestock show was organized for students in the Moore High School special education department and has been held for at least 12 years except during COVID and the year after because of the compromised immune systems of participants. This year, 45 kids from all three high schools participated.

“When the kids come back from Christmas break, we meet once a week at the barn for an hour for four to six weeks,” Dunlap explained. “We do a one-hour rotation with the kids brushing the animals, feeding them, putting blankets on and off them. We call the animals their buddies and each special education student is paired with one of our FFA students.”

The night of the show, the students have a set routine.

“They know how to walk into the ring and how to set the animals up,” Dunlap said. “Except for the baked potato dinner that helps pay for the awards, everything is free to those kids. They get a t-shirt, a rosette ribbon, a backpack and this year we included a plaque. The kids get so excited, they jump for joy when they get their awards.”

18 | April 2024

Dunlap said the livestock show is the best event the Moore FFA does and is the biggest and best event in the district. Administrators, a senator and a state representative attended this year.

“It’s definitely a team effort, from coordinating the transportation to get the kids to the barn every week, to practice, to making sure we have enough kids and animals,” Dunlap said.

There’s a lot more going on in the Moore FFA Chapter than just the livestock show. Their huge, commercial size, state-of-the-art greenhouse is one of the better ones in the state for a school program, according to Dunlap.

“The entire greenhouse is full,” she said. “We have two sales a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring sale sells out within the first hours of the day. That’s how much our community looks forward to it.”

They also have a metal fabricating shop for students to learn how to weld. Projects include a show during spring break called “Oklahoma Youth Expo.” During that livestock show, there is an ag-

ricultural mechanics show where kids who work in the shop enter with projects such as a refurbished smoker or building a trailer from scratch.

“They learn a lot of life skills in those programs,” Dunlap said. “We also have a print shop where kids learn graphic design skills and actually visit with clientele. We want them to learn tangible skills that even if they do or don’t go to college, they have a skill they can utilize in their job or in life. That’s part of the career tech component for our classes.”

With the greenhouse, metal fabricating shop and print shop, Dunlap said it’s important to fight the stigma of FFA kids just wearing boots.

“We’re more than just wearing boots and showing livestock,” she said. “There are real life tangible skills that can be learned in our building and classrooms. We offer lots of competitive teams including public speaking and those teams are very competitive on the state level too. There’s so much to our program year-round.”– SMS


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Spark plug, ignitor, instigator - Rylie Boone has been a bolt of energy and enthusiasm for the University of Oklahoma softball program, but her story goes well beyond fist pumps, highlight reels and National Championship rings.

Rylie Boone is a passionate teammate and the story of how she got to an elite college level while battling injury and adversity is one that deserves attention.


Gayla Boone, Rylie’s mother, is a baller. During her time as a Lady Huskie at Pawhuska High School, Gayla wowed with her range from the outside while playing a six-on-six, double-half court format in girls basketball. Her high school career was such a success that she was inducted into the Pawhuska Hall of Fame. So, it only makes sense that her kids would be incredible athletes as well.

Trevor Boone is a standout baseball player who is currently in AAA playing with the Albuquerque Isotopes, after a storied career in Stillwater with Oklahoma State University. Growing up, the passion for sports that Rylie developed and her ability on the diamond were born from watching her big brother play and trying to match everything he did.

“While Trevor would have his games going on, all the siblings went on the other fields and had their own game going. It was mainly a lot of boys and Rylie was right there competing with them”, Gayla said. “Anything that Trevor did, she was trying it too. He would eat four chili dogs, well Rylie’s trying to eat four chili dogs.

“She was mimicking all the things he did. They were mainly outside playing - playing kickball, basketball, stick ball, anything outside with a ball.”

While the two were competing and challenging each other, older brother Trevor knew that there was something special about his little sister at a very early age.

“She (was) probably 6 and I was old enough to understand the swing and how it looked. She was playing t-ball and I mean it was smooth. It was natural,” Trevor said. “Growing up, she struggled figuring out which arm to use to throw or hit and ended up just going left.”

Rylie’s very first glove was a right-handed, pink and black glove, a gift from her uncle. But one day at practice, her mom challenged her to try throwing with her other hand and immediately the search was on for a pink and black glove for a lefty. Once she was comfortable, the rest was history. “She just started getting stronger, and then in kid pitch you could really see it,” Trevor added. “She always had the love for it. She had that down from a very young age and she started getting looked at by colleges in seventh grade. I didn’t even know what was going on when I was in seventh grade and here she is having colleges look at her. Yeah, she’s legit.”

While Trevor was impressed with his sister’s natural ability, Rylie was busy investing herself in what her brother was doing. The mutual love for a similar sport continued to build the bond.

“With us basically playing a similar sport, I would always go to him for hitting,” Rylie said. “We do bicker back and forth, but I just want to figure it out.”


Rylie’s high school softball tryouts were held in a gymnasium - not a softball field - a basketball gymnasium. There was no hitting, only ground balls, but she was leading the way by making plays and even coaching.

22 | April 2024 OU SPORTS
BY: CHRIS PLANK Rylie Boone • Sr. • OF SPARK PLUG Photos by: Mark Doescher

During the season, Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso showed up at a game. The buzz was that Coach Gasso was there to watch the pitcher for the opposing team. If that was truly the case, the attention quickly switched to Rylie Boone.

“One of the first times I saw Rylie Boone, no disrespect to her high school team, she wasn’t on a very good high school team, and she was pitching,” Gasso said. “The team couldn’t make plays behind her, but she was the constant encourager. In that moment, everything about her resonated. She’s not a pitcher but she’s pitching and she’s coaching. In that moment, I said I’ve got to have her. I need a player like Rylie Boone.”

It was clear to Gasso that Rylie had what it takes to play at the highest level, but was Rylie sold? Did she believe it? Did she truly know the ability she possessed and the opportunity in front of her?

“The bunt game was when it turned. That’s when I knew I could be a true three tool player,” Rylie said. “When I played for the Texas Glory select team, I played with Jayda Coleman, and Jayda would get on and I would get the bunt. I had never done that before. I was always swinging away. I was challenged to use my tools. That is where the triple threat came in with my play and it took me to another level.”

Gasso knew it, now Rylie knew it. She was on her way to becoming a Sooner. To big brother Trevor, he knew it was a big deal.

“I looked around at Oklahoma for baseball, so I knew what she was getting into,” Trevor said. “Obviously, we watched Oklahoma softball religiously, and as Riley got older, softball in general. When the World Series came on, it was an every night thing in our household.

“She is there at the exact same place we saw all those girls - Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain, all of those women. She’s at the same field, same uniform, same colors.”

Rylie wasted no time making an impact during her freshman season at Oklahoma. She started the first four games of the season in 2020 and looked incredible hitting .467, but an injury cut her season short and then the pandemic eventually shut down the entire season.

Optimism reigned for her sophomore season, but unfortunately another injury limited her. After starting her first four games of her freshman season and showing incredible promise, she found herself battling for playing time her second season, only starting nine games.

But Rylie was not going to leave. In the era of the transfer portal, Rylie had a different mindset.

“I think it was the girls that kept me around because I feel like anyone in that space would be checked out,”

Rylie said. “Grace Lyons and Grace Green were setting a foundation and Grace Green was a great example. She wasn’t playing a lot, but she felt God put her here for a reason. She touched so many hearts while being here... and she had me working hard.”

Her mom saw the dedication step up another notch as well.

“She was bound and determined to get on that field… she knew what she had to do,” Gayla said. “She had to ask herself ‘how bad you want it?’”

Rylie stayed at Oklahoma and excelled. She has been a regular part of the starting lineup and has provided a spark and leadership while being a key part of three straight National titles, now the pursuit of a fourth. No team has ever won four straight national titles in softball.


The Rylie Boone story goes well beyond the on-field success. While her career found another level after her sophomore season, so did her faith.

“After my second injury - we went to Mexico my freshman year and I got hurt. Then we came back for the fall, and I hurt my other knee,” Rylie said. “I was so invested, I fell in love with the creation that the creator did rather than being so invested in the creator. Softball ruled my heart... I was constantly on an emotional roller coaster, results mattering more than my way of making an impact through the game.”

Adversity helped her mature. Rylie has become more than just a leader on the field. She is a spiritual and emotional leader off the field, something that has brought as much pride to her family as any success she has had on the field.

“I’m beyond proud because, that’s her. She’s always been that person,” Trevor said. “To see her grow into that and write her own story, be her own person, to see her be able to connect with people and live out her dream is just mind boggling to me. I just couldn’t be prouder.”

“Today, I see what she’s about,” Gayla said of her daughter. “She’s very independent, I know that I can sit back and go to sleep at night and not worry. I know this is a program where you don’t even worry. They’re held accountable. They won’t have a problem with getting a job and being a good employee because of the structure they have had.”

In her senior season, Rylie is making the most of every opportunity. During the 4th inning of a midweek game, the Sooners were blowing out their opponent. Rylie didn’t get the start, but as she stepped to the plate with the game well in hand, she drilled a double. As she popped up at second base, she pumped her fist and the crowd roared “Booooooooooooone.”

24 | April 2024

It didn’t matter that she did not start the game, it did not matter that it was late in a blowout, Rylie made the most of the opportunity, just as she as her entire career.

“Those are true heartfelt moments, she’s a true team player,” Gasso said of Boone’s mindset. “Besides her play, her emotion, her passion, her work ethic, her personality - her style is so loyal to this program.”

Rylie Boone is true to who she is and true to the game of softball. As the pursuit for history and a fourth straight national championship continues, the drive and determination of Rylie Boone and the legacy she has left on and off the field will never be forgotten.

“I’m here to strictly serve humans. That’s my goal,” Rylie said. “Whether I get exhausted from it or I get burned out by it, I’m only here to serve others so when they look at me they don’t just think about how great a leader or softball player I was and they just see Christ.” – BSM


Photos by: Mark Doescher

The Oklahoma Sooners softball team opened play in its palatial new home on March 1 and as expected, the facility is truly breathtaking. The commitment of Love’s Travel Stops, the championship mindset of head coach Patty Gasso and the passion of Sooner softball fans now has a stadium that matches the magnificence of the program.

“It was a day that I’ll never forget,” Gasso said. “This has been a dream come true - Love’s Field.”

The Sooners had called Marita Hynes field home since 1997. In those 26 seasons, Oklahoma went 548-62-1 (.856), winning seven national titles and 15 regular season conference titles. While nostalgia remains for the incredible success at Marita Hynes, it was time for something newer, bigger and better.

“We build championships here,” Gasso expressed emotionally. “We had a lot of coaches come in and out. I’ve watched my son coach here. 30 years - It’s time to move into a mansion.”

The facilities situation prior to the construction of Marita Hynes Field was a shared location not even exclusive to the program. When Gasso first took over the program, the Sooners were playing at Reaves Park and they had to be off the field by a certain time to make room for a slow pitch softball league that used the field after 5 p.m.

They’d show up early for the games just to pick up trash and, when they hosted a regional in Gasso’s

second season, the team’s dugout was too small to hold the entire team. Now, the Sooners have a stadium that has more than enough room.

“It’s cool because the stadium holds a lot of people, and it doesn’t seem like it,” Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer for Love’s said. “In the early stages, Coach Gasso wanted to have the crowd be loud. The construction of this really reflects that. My family and I are so proud to play a part in making Love’s Field a reality.”

Love’s Field is the largest on-campus softball stadium in the country, boasting state-of-the-art training facilities for student-athletes and coaches. However, there is still work to be done. When fully completed, Love’s Field will feature a 10,669 square-foot indoor training facility, which is more than double the size of the previous training space, plus several team spaces including a training room, locker room and classroom. It will also have space for a recognition area to showcase National Championships, All-Americans honors and other outstanding accomplishments. The overall square footage of the complex is 44,000 compared to 15,168 at the Marita Hynes Field facility. It will accommodate 4,200 fans compared to a seating capacity of 1,378 in the previous stadium.

While it took a solid sales pitch to get it done, it was not a hard sell to an administration that believed in the vision of Patty Gasso and Oklahoma Sooner softball.

“I sat down three years ago after the first of the last

28 | April 2024
Sooner softball head coach Patty Gasso speaks at the ribbon cutting

Jenny Love Meyer speaks at the ribbon cutting three national championships celebrating with Patty. Patty was sitting next to me, she looks over at Joe Castiglione, and she says, ‘What do you think about me mentioning that we might do a new stadium?’

And I was like, ‘Hey, look, you’re Patty Gasso, you be you,’” OU president Joseph Harroz said during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The next thing you know, 18 months go by, the September (of 2022), it’s hot outside, we’re standing in this area and we talked about building this field.

“Here we are today. It couldn’t be more exciting. This is the house that love built.”

Sooner Athletic Director Joe Castiglione believed in the vision from the start. And while the commitment of Love’s Travel Stops made it a reality, the focus and determination and commitment of Patty Gasso made it a possibility.

“It’s (Gasso) that is represented in every part of this stadium,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “Her greatness goes way beyond statistics, or even the games that we’ve won — and there have been a whole lot that we’ve won under her leadership. She’s taught us how to live life with a sense of purpose and meaning.

“Let’s be clear, there’s great athleticism in the women that have played. There’s a great championship mindset, but I think more than anything, that type of influence has elevated this program to a level of greatness few ever thought was possible.”

The financial investment by Love’s laid the foundation and the overall passion of Oklahoma Sooner fans helped push the total over the top. More than 1,100 total donors from 38 states stepped up including 337 who have donated more than $10,000. Almost $38 million has been invested so far, Castiglione said.

“Thank you is insufficient,” he added.

The scoreboard is the crown jewel. Shaped in the outline of the state of Oklahoma, the innings and score are showcased in the panhandle while Love’s Field with the signature heart logo sits atop the $1.4 million dollar eye catcher. When Gasso was first presented with the idea of a scoreboard in the shape of Oklahoma, she did not know if it would work, if it would fit.

But once the coach laid eyes on it, her opinion changed.

“I think it’s the coolest thing,” Gasso said. “It’s a state of Oklahoma and as big as you could make it… It’s just a great representation of who we are and who we’re representing.”

The team facilities will be the best in the country when they are completed. There is a player’s lounge connected to the locker room that gives student athletes a place to rest. Then when it is time to focus on softball, a theater-like film room with comfortable chairs and plenty of space gives the Sooners the resources they need to prepare. There is a sleep area, a massive equipment room, nutrition space and just about everything necessary to enrich the overall student athlete experience.

But don’t worry about the Sooners taking any of this for granted. If there is one thing that is true about Patty Gasso, it’s the mindset to appreciate what you have and continue to work to earn what has been made available for you.

“You couldn’t even fit a full team in the dugout when we were at Reaves Park,” Gasso reminded. “They would have to sit in the front row in the bleachers with the fans to watch our team, but no one ever complained. They just wanted to play. You know why? Because we loved to play softball.

“We are on a tight watch. We are going to keep this thing as new and pristine and clean as ever. We’re not going to take this for granted, ever. Ever.”

Opening weekend was as memorable and emotional as it was exhausting.

“It was tough,” Gasso said. “I’m going to be honest. It’s no excuse … but the expectations, the anxiety, the build-up of it all. … It felt like a lot of chaos. Good chaos, but I don’t know that we knew that it would drain us that much.”

Oklahoma Sooner softball has set a standard for not just college softball but the world of women’s sports. While the Sooners chase history, they will do so in the greatest facility ever built for college softball. That commitment goes beyond the recent run of success and rests solidly on the foundation of Patty Gasso and her belief in the possibilities and the future of this program.– SMS

30 | April 2024
The first game included some “Sooner Magic” as catcher Kinzie Hansen hit a walk-off 2 run home run

Transformative Construction Underway

Bond Projects Enhance Athletics,Community Pride in Moore Public Schools

Moore Public Schools is currently undergoing construction at all three of its high school campuses, generating excitement for the future. The Southmoore and Westmoore programs are particularly buzzing with anticipation, as both schools are in the process of constructing their own stadiums on their respective campuses.

This development means several sports teams will no longer have to travel across town for home games. The Jaguars are building their new home stadium from scratch while the Sabercats already have one of their own to improve on, noted Brian Fitzgerald, district athletic director.

Fitzgerald expressed confidence that construction will finish on time at both locations, but he acknowledged that Oklahoma weather, especially in the spring, could potentially hinder operations.

“We are planning for the stadiums to be ready for the start of the football season,” Fitzgerald confirmed. “We do have an alternate schedule ready in case something does happen, or we have a very wet spring.”

In addition to the football stadium, both schools are also getting an indoor practice facility. In fact, all three high schools are building identical indoor practice facilities. Southmoore’s project is the furthest along and is expected to be completed this summer. Moore should have its indoor practice facility completed by the end of summer or early fall. Westmoore, however, had to wait until their new softball complex was completed before beginning construction on their indoor facility which Fitzgerald expects to be completed just before the 2025 school year.

“The indoor facility at Westmoore is just now getting the dirt work started,” Fitzgerald explained. “We had to wait because it is going where the old softball complex was.”

These indoor practice facilities will offer student-athletes an expansive, turfed area with field lines for multiple sports, including football, soccer, softball and baseball. There will also be a large area for a weight room.

“You see it in drawings and renderings, but don’t really realize the scale and breadth of it until you

32 | April 2024

go out there,” said Fitzgerald. “It looks like an aircraft hangar out there on our campuses.”

Westmoore recently completed its brand-new softball complex complete with a new turf field, locker rooms and indoor and outdoor hitting facilities.

Moore High also has several renovations underway, including an upgrade to their softball locker room to add space, renovations to the turf on their practice field, as well as renovations and customizations to Moore Stadium.

These renovations, except for those to Moore Stadium, have been made possible by voters living within the district’s attendance boundaries. Voters passed a recent bond issue in May of 2021 to fund safety and security upgrades, classroom additions, college and career centers as well as several athletic facility upgrades.

“The support makes you excited and proud of the community,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s great that the kids, coaches and everyone get to enjoy the nice facilities and everything that comes with it.”



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South Metro Eats

Oklahoma Smoke

36 | April 2024

Ean Kampmeyer and his business partners were looking to generate some interest in their new venture, so they turned to social media to promote Oklahoma Smoke BBQ. They whipped up a mouth-watering platter of ribs, brisket, sausage, tacos filled with riblet meat, cilantro and homemade pineapple sauce, and BBQ sandwiches topped with homemade mac and cheese and posted a picture on social media.

“Share this to be entered into a random drawing for a free bbq platter!” their post read.

About 450 people responded and when the winner showed up to claim the platter — valued at $70 — he pulled out a camera and told Kampmeyer, “It’s so smart of you to give this prize to a social media influencer.”

Things haven’t been the same since for Kampmeyer, Brent Quintero and Jared Hunter, who opened Oklahoma Smoke in early January at 825 SW 19th St. “That boosted business a ton,” Kampmeyer said. “I’d say it doubled our business overnight.”

Kampmeyer and Quintero have been cooking barbeque for about three years, just not in a traditional street-side business setting. The seeds for Oklahoma Smoke, a nonprofit that helps raise money for worthy causes, were planted about five years ago when Kampmeyer, 32, and Quintero, 60-year-old pitmaster, met at a local bar.

“We talked about football and life,” said Kampmeyer, a Florida native who has lived in Oklahoma for eight years. “He kind of became my dad away from home.”

They shared a passion for cooking and helping people and eventually put a smoker on a trailer and started visiting local bars to cook and help organize fundraisers.

“We’d pull up and cook for people who reached out to us,” Kampmeyer said. “We cover our meat costs and donate the rest. We haven’t taken a profit in three years.”

Kampmeyer and Quintero came up with the idea of starting a non-profit after learning an older friend got in “a bad car wreck.”

At Montana Mining Club in south Oklahoma City, they helped an employee who worked as a special needs teacher and was trying to raise money for his classroom.

When they heard a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post was struggling to make rent, they organized an event to raise both awareness and money.

“The whole community pulled up with their cars and trucks and we pulled up with our smoker,” Kampmeyer said. “Three bands showed up and rocked the VFW.”

The event, which drew 300 to 400 people, raised $2,000, he said.

Kampmeyer and Quintero also frequented Mooney’s Pub & Grill in Norman, where they met Hunter, a Mooney’s co-owner, and started organizing barbeque competitions and other events.

“We’d go in the back kitchen for Cinco de Mayo or other Hispanic-themed nights, and whip up food,” Kampmeyer said. “It would always come back to barbeque.”

When Toby Keith died in February, it was Kampmeyer who organized a fundraiser at Mooney’s for the late singer-songwriter’s foundation that raised nearly $50,000. No need is too small to warrant attention from Oklahoma Smoke.

“If a kid needs a soccer ball, we’ll get him a soccer ball,” he said. “We’re not going to make a big deal about it. The basis of who we are is we just like to help people and make it really chill.”

As their following grew, Kampmeyer and Quintero joined forces with Hunter, who owns the space where Oklahoma Smoke BBB operates three days a week at 825 SW 19th St.

“He had this commercial kitchen in the back that wasn’t being used,” Kampmeyer said. “We went to this location and set up as a trial business.”

Oklahoma Smoke is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 11a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays or until they run out of food, which happens frequently.

“I have eaten BBQ all over this country and Oklahoma Smoke BBQ is the absolute best,” Jenny Thomas posted on Facebook. “Impeccable service as well!!! You are treated like family from the moment you walk in the door!”

Customer Czerena Janko McGehee said he “went to try this place that everyone was talking about from all over Oklahoma. When I say this is the absolute most flavorful, tender barbecue I’ve ever had I truly mean it!”

Kampmeyer said the key to Oklahoma Smokes success is the process. He calls Quintero “the magic behind the madness.”

“We cook it low and slow, just like grandpa did,” he said. “We believe in really taking the time to do it right.”

Brisket takes 20 to 22 hours to smoke. Sides and desserts are made from scratch. The owners even split the wood for their smoker.

“It’s a labor of love. We’re really passionate about the process,” Kampmeyer said. “I’ve been stealing my family’s recipes for years.”

Weekends work perfectly since the men have fulltime jobs, shared Kampmeyer, an aircraft maintenance technician at Tinker Air Force Base.

The partners have set their sights on cooking barbeque full time. Kampmeyer has two years remaining on his military commitment but said he’s come to love Oklahoma and isn’t going anywhere.

“We’re trying to figure out what the next best step is,” he said, “whether that’s a food truck or another brickand-mortar location.” – SMS


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Community Investment Elevates Patient Care at Norman Regional Hospital

Hospitals are meant to be there for us during times of crisis, to provide hope and be a place of healing. For Kevin and Josie Jones, the healers at Norman Regional provided care for their family during some very dark times, followed by brighter days.

In 2022, just 12 weeks into Josie’s pregnancy, the couple received devastating news—a routine scan uncovered concerning issues with organ and spine development. Another scan at 19 weeks found the same concerning results.

“Our doctors prepared us for a possible miscarriage, but we just had to wait and see,” Josie said. “It was a really hard and emotional pregnancy.”

Josie carried their daughter, Ruth, until she went into premature labor at 30 weeks.

“We had an emergency c-section that next morning,” she said. “She passed away within a few minutes.”

Josie said she expected her hospital stay to be a traumatic experience but to her surprise “was one of the most healing parts of the process.”

“The nurses we had that day were phenomenal. They offered us so much support,” she shared. “Caring for a family with an infant that has passed away is complex and emotional.

“They were so gentle with us.”

The Joneses were beneficiaries of a program called P.R.I.D.E, Parents Responding to Infant Death Experience, which is funded in part by the Norman Regional Health Foundation. The program, comprised of a team of nurses, chaplains and social workers, along with other resources, provided invaluable support, Josie said.

“We were not prepared for all that would happen, but they took extra time and care with us,” Josie said. “They gently walked us through what to expect and our

40 | April 2024 HEALTH

options. They gave us a care box and provided us with keepsakes – they did a print of her heartbeat, gave us a blanket people had made, things we still have today.

Two years later, the Joneses returned to Norman Regional’s labor and delivery unit to welcome their son, Thad, in January. Josie found herself once again impressed by the hospital’s level of care.

“After what we had been through, I was dealing with so much anxiety and emotion, but I felt so taken care of. I didn’t want to leave,” Josie said. “I was touched by how the nurses kept checking in with us, adjusting to make our experience better.”

For parents like the Joneses and many others living in the south metro, Norman Regional Health Foundation’s Equipped for Tomorrow campaign is already elevating patient care in order to provide the best possible outcomes. The foundation focused its $4 million campaign on four health-related areas – cardiovascular care, cancer care, physical rehabilitation and perinatal care –purchasing a variety of state-of-the-art, life-saving medical equipment. The Joneses found comfort in knowing that perinatal care was a priority in funding 16 new labor & delivery beds designed to improve patient comfort and 30 infant warmers for the 2,500 babies born each year.The Joneses found comfort in knowing these resources were available had they needed it.

“The infant warmers provide access from the front and sides which allow staff and physicians to perform assessments and care without disturbing the baby or constantly repositioning the bed,” explained Karen Brazeal, NCIU nurse manager. “The new technology allows for accurate weight checks and provides information that uploads to charting features for nursing.”

Another benefit of these new infant warmers, the adjustable overhead heater allows mothers to provide important skin-to-skin contact to their babies in the NICU.

“These new warmers benefit both the infant and the mother,” Brazeal said.

To learn more about the Equipped for Tomorrow campaign and the Norman Regional Health Foundation, visit equipped_for_tomorrow.html. –SMS

Kevin, Josie and Thad Jones

For Norman.

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