Something I see surfing social media, at times, is a bunch of area people searching for something to do and along the way, complaining that there is nothing to do.
I wouldn’t know. With my hours, I haven’t had a social life in some time.
There haven’t been many movies, probably 8, that I’ve gone to watch at a cinema since Shrek came out. That year? 2001. Before that, my first year here, Memphis, Austin and Dallas never made me bored, but I made 30-mile drives for the variety of entertainment options. Here, the drive down the block to Dollar General is long enough, but that’s age, I think.
Muskogee isn’t Dallas, and it’s not even Tulsa. But it’s also underrated and to a certain extent unappreciated.
Allow me to present two examples. One just passed us for a year, and the other is coming.
The Bravado Wireless Real Okie Classic ran the week of May 19, with first-round action Tuesday and the 72-hole event ending Friday. The event, a combination of men’s and women’s events from the APT golf tours, brought talent that is the equivalent of baseball’s Double A, just with golf clubs instead.
The female winner was a high school girl from California, Yealimi Noh, who just turned pro and by winning, qualified for an exemption for the Symetra Tour, the Triple-A of women’s golf. The men’s tourney didn’t offer exemptions, but a thrilled first-time pro winner, Cory Churchman from Abilene, Texas, pulled out a championship that came down to the final hole.
Because she’s a high school kid, the gallery who watched her play will remember her in a few years when she’s on the LPGA Tour — which, in fact, she’s played on in one event already just after she turned pro a year ago.
The problem was, the gallery was basically non-existent. Those that got a look at her were the hard-working volunteers and the members of Muskogee Golf Club who dropped in. It didn’t help that the area was facing the fury of a generational flooding disaster, and that the few Oklahomans who made the cut, none were considered local. A Saturday or Sunday finish might have helped, but then, most pro events start on weekdays.
An official from the APT, which now stands for All-Pro Tour (originally the better-known name of the Adams Pro Tour) told me the attendance was slightly below the average for the current year and said the two tour gatherings at Alexandria and Mandeville, both in Louisiana, drew between 250 and 300.
It’ll cost you a chunk to get a ticket to a PGA event at Southern Hills. This one here was free to walk the grounds. Sure, you wouldn’t see Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth here, but you could see the next Mark Hensby, J.L. Lewis, Tim Herron, Cameron Beckman, Bubba Watson, and Ryan Palmer. They played on this tour at one time and are PGA Tour winers.
Despite the sag in attendance, the APT and its golfers have given the operation of the Real Okie very high marks in its organization and hospitality, so kudos to Muskogee Golf Club, the Chamber of Commerce and volunteers including those from Green Country Behavioral Health.
It was worth the trip, and if you were griping last week about being bored, this was your missed opportunity.
But it’s gone now for a year.
Not so for the upcoming women’s minor league basketball team.
Oh you didn’t know we had that?
It’s promotion began here a couple months ago, the schedule was released two weeks ago, and the new Oklahoma Tatanka, which in native tongue translates to Bison, is a member of the Women’s Minor League Basketball Association, based in Dallas and run by a pair of former WNBA players.
The Tatanka, after road swings through Topeka, Kan., and San Antonio later this month to begin the season, will open the regular season July 6 against the Georgia Classic.
I did say Topeka. I did say San Antonio and Georgia. I’ll also mention Dallas and Houston. In the same breath with Muskogee, which will take on the state identification. Still, the team is yours.
This team includes a local draw among several with college and/or pro experience, much of the pro exposure in Europe. One, though, ranks up there with the best ever to come from this area, former Sequoyah, Kansas and WNBA veteran Angel Goodrich.
Tickets can be had for $10. VIP floor seats are $20 and chances to sit with the team goes for $25. Kids 12-under will be admitted free if they are accompanied by a paid adult. Therefore, a family of four with two kids can get in for $20.
That’s cheaper than movie tickets.
If you’re bored, maybe it’s a choice.