Muskogee native Shawna Points credits her grandfather for what she knows about caring for people.
“I know my grandfather gave so much back to city of Muskogee,” Points said about Dr. Ben Pilkington. “He helped with rent houses, free dental, free dental surgeries, helped even with braces. He even made his own braces for people who couldn’t afford it.”
She said her grandfather “helped me want to be able to do more, like he did.”
“They were wonderful examples to grow up with,” Points said, referring to both grandparents. “They were so giving. That was their passion, to give back.”
Points recalled wanting to take take over her grandfather’s dental practice. She chose instead to study nursing and elementary education in college.
She ended up with a career in hospitality. Points lived in Las Vegas for many years and is sales director at two Tulsa hotels, as well as the Muskogee La Quinta.
“I start here at 7 a.m., then by 9 a.m. I am at Quality Inn, Tulsa,” she said. “Then around 12 p.m., always around the LaQuinta, Tulsa airport.”
She uses her position not only to help her employers, but also promote the area.
Points is active in the community. She said she cooks for volunteers or staff at The Castle, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame or Muskogee Civic Center. She helps with the annual Bare Bones Film Festival. She even performs in the Bass Reeve’s Legacy Days in July.
Beyond Muskogee, Points and her husband help protect wildlife on a private preserve — a memorial to her grandparents. She recalled planting her grandmother’s beloved elephant ear plants there.
“You’ll see the quail and the bobwhite quail come out, and they’ll go to her elephant ears,” Points said. “Their spirit is there.”
A love of
Shawna Points finds refuge in helping animals find refuge.
She and her husband keep wild animals on a few thousand acres around eastern Oklahoma.
“It’s waterfowl, deer, cottontail rabbits, and much more,” she said.
“I wanted to make a positive out of a negative,” she said, adding that the land was heavily hunted.
“There was no tweet-tweet birds, no nothing there,” she said. “It’s a heaven on earth for animals. We wanted to give back to nature.”
Points said her husband has been active in preservation and conservation. The two are involved with conservation groups such as Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever and the Wild Turkey Federation.
She said she and her husband take care of 2,000 animals a month. They get wild turkey stock from three different breeders.
“We do rescue, then we have them set free on the ranch,” she said. “They have their own bands.”
“When we come out there, Mr. Red, our turkey, will land on our shoulders, and he’s 42, 43 pounds,” she said. “And our quail will come out. They know that we’re out there for them.”
Points also has taken tame rabbits to nursing homes.
Points said she got involved with the Bare Bones Film Festival because of her family’s involvement in show business.
“I know if they had not been at the right place at the right time, they would not be where they are today,” she said.
She said she wants to encourage filmmakers to pursue their dreams. She also wants to offer them any help she could.
“People need that recognition,” Points said.
She said she might ask a filmmaker “do you have your movie photos? We’ll help promote that a month before you get here.”
Bare Bones brings a lot of filmmakers to Muskogee, she said. The festival caters to films costing $1 million or less to make.
“We want to encourage artists,” she said. “This is an art. Their movie and their music video. That’s like their baby.”
Points said that when the artists return year after year, “they get so excited to come here.”
“They go to other film festivals,” she said. “But here at Bare Bones, they have that one-on-one. It’s what they talk about. With ShIron and Oscar Ray, and how they encourage them.”
She said the Rays treat all the Bare Bones participants equally.
“We want to encourage their dreams and build their resumes up,” she said.
Leading the cheer
Points wears a variety of hats at her job.
Each day, it’s a different hat, promoting a different aspect of Muskogee.
Every Thursday, Points dresses up cowboy style to promote Three Rivers Museum and Thursday night concerts at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The cowgirl garb also pushes Bass Reeves Legacy Days and Legacy Keepers.
Tuesday’s hat promotes the Tuesday movie night at the Roxy Theater.
Friday’s hat promotes the USS Batfish.
On Sundays, Points helps promote the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in Rentiesville.
“At Christmas you’ll see me with a Christmas hat on to promote Castle Christmas and Honor Heights (Garden of Lights),” she said.
Points said she doesn’t think people are aware of what’s going on in Muskogee.
“When you wear a different hat each day, it helps promote,” she said. “We have a lot of guests who work during the day, but they’re going, ‘what’s to do in Muskogee?’ They are here on the highway and by Georgia-Pacific. They don’t see a lot of Muskogee.”
She said she also deals a lot with families who come in with ball teams or sporting events.
“We want that first impression when they come to Muskogee to think ‘Hey this is a nice place,” she said. “I try really hard to make sure they have that Las Vegas, celebrity, red carpet impression.”
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“I was born and raised here. My ‘Daddy Ben,’ Dr. Ben Pilkington was my grandfather. I grew up working in his dentist offices, cleaning up his rent houses. I helped him with his car lots. Age 9 and 11 was when I started doing the bill of sales, delinquency statements. He put me to work very young.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“Activities and the events, also the organizations to help people. And that’s what we’re all here for.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“We would just like everyone to do more and come to more of the events here in town, and promote Muskogee. We have so much to offer here. We have lots of entertainers who come in. Let’s be more involved and know what’s going on in Muskogee.”
WHAT PERSON IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
“ShIronbutterfly Ray. She is everywhere. She is involved in everything. She just helps the city of Muskogee so very much. She’s a wonderful example for everyone. She and Oscar do so much. She is a true ambassador for the city of Muskogee.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“Being with Domestic Violence Prevention Network. Being able to help with the different prevention and the networking. Being able to help try to prevent domestic violence. Education. We help with resources, networking. We do different things.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“I get to relax and be with my quail and my animals, and my bunnies. They’re my pride and joy.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“A great town that does believe in the community.”
Meet Shawna Points
EDUCATION: Boulevard Christian School; Muskogee High School; Bacone College, Northeastern State University, Connors State College.
PROFESSION: Sales director for LaQuinta Muskogee, LaQuinta Tulsa Airport and Quality Inn, Tulsa.
FAMILY: Husband, Gene.
CHURCH: Grew up United Methodist, currently attending a Pentecostal church.
HOBBIES: Conservation preservation.