BTW Athletic Museum

La’Mar Burks’ passion captures Hornets’ excellence in school’s athletic collection.



La’Mar Burks, founder and curator of the Booker T. Washington High School Athletic Museum, stands in the museum’s football room.

Twenty or so U.S. high schools are named for American educator and author Booker T. Washington, according to La’Mar Burks, founder and curator of the BTW Athletic Museum.

He should know. He has visited many of them.

But thanks to Burks’ passion and hard work, none has a collection of sports artifacts to match that of the Tulsa school.

Burks, a former Hornet football player who was an All-Conference center on the school’s 1973 state championship team, has led the efforts to record and preserve the athletic legacies of arguably the most decorated school in Oklahoma history. Burks graduated in 1974.

An art teacher for 32 years and a coach for 25 years in Tulsa Public Schools, Burks has combined both disciplines in his creation and continued expansion of the athletic museum. It is housed in the BTW Historical Building, which was formerly the school’s main entrance.

Eventually, the Historical Building also will house similar collections that chronicle the school’s past academically and in music and the arts. 

Burks contemplated the athletic museum after he and two former Hornet football buddies, Gerald Hicks and Rodney Clark, produced a DVD on BTW football successes called “Hornet Football Excellence.”

Burks jumped into the memorabilia project full speed in the summer of 2010 after receiving what he calls the “orange light go-ahead” from BTW Assistant Principal Mike Mims.

“Whenever I take a vacation, I usually go visit other Booker T. Washington schools and have visited about 10,” Burks says. “Many of them have sports museums, but none can even touch ours.”

He also has visited other sports halls of fame to gain insight as to the best practices of sports museums.

Burks’ first order of business in establishing the museum was furnishing the BTW Football Hall of Fame, which he began in the summer of 2010.

With 15 state championships in football, finding appropriate memorabilia was never a problem. Jerseys, helmets, shoes, pads, footballs and various other mementos line the shelves.

The players whose framed jerseys hang on the walls all played in the NFL and could almost comprise their own All-Star team.

Established NFL players such as Reuben Gant, Jonathon Brown, Kevin Lockett, R.W. McQuarters, Demond Parker, Aaron Lockett, Mark Anderson, Felix Jones and Robert Meacham are among those enshrined.

The museum would not be complete without a tribute to longtime BTW Coach Seymour E. Williams, whose name graces the school’s football stadium. Williams’ coaching resume is impeccable:

  • Wins: 290; losses: 23; ties: 11.
  • Won 17 Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Association Black Football Championships and 29 Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Association Black Basketball Championships.
  • Won five National Basketball Championships.
  • Never lost a track meet.
  • Won six national track meets.

Burks started work on the BTW Basketball/Wrestling Hall of Fame in the summer of 2011. While it may still be a work in progress, two of the honorees are BTW’s best-known and most successful athletes: Kenny Monday (wrestling) and Wayman Tisdale (basketball).

Monday is a three-time Olympic wrestler with gold and silver Olympic medals to his credit. And an entire corner is devoted to the late Tisdale, who many consider to be the greatest Hornet of all time.

The 1942 Black National Championship game ball shows all the teams BTW defeated to win the title. Tisdale was a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma; 1984 Olympic gold medalist; No. 2 overall draft pick in the 1985 NBA draft; had a 12-year NBA career; and was a renowned jazz bass recording artist with eight albums to his credit and a No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

Etched on the wall is a handwritten testament to the fame of No. 23 for the Hornets, in which Tisdale’s college coach, Billy Tubbs, tells the story of eating with him in a Norman café.

“Wayman goes to the restroom, and a female takes the straw from his soda (and) runs out of the cafe shouting, ‘I got Wayman Tisdale’s straw! I got his straw!’”

In addition to the mementos from Tisdale’s playing days, jerseys of former Hornets Richard Dumas, Ryan Humphrey and Etan Thomas, all of whom played in the NBA, grace the walls along with collages of newspaper clippings.

The Track/Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame is in the start-up phase in what was the school’s former library.

Most of Burks’ work on the museum takes place during the summer.

“When I come in here, I hate to leave because I can easily get lost in thought of all these great people,” he says.

It’s easy to tell Burks loves his hobby.

“Lots of times in the summer when I come in the morning, I’ll raise the blinds, just stand there and simply look out the window at the football field and take it all in,” he says. “It’s comforting.”

Why does Burks think the athletic museum is important to the BTW community?

“The reason the museum is important is that it gives both young and old alumni the opportunity to witness what they have seen or heard about BTW athletics,” he explains. “It gives a person the opportunity to add to the rich BTW legacy and to pass that legacy on to future generations.”

Burks says two people in particular have helped make the museum possible.

The first is the late Hicks (Class of 1975), who Burks says was instrumental in making the idea a reality.

“The other is my father, the late Sam Burks, a former BTW Stadium/S.E. Williams Stadium supervisor,” the historian says. “Having had the opportunity to work many ballgames during my early childhood gave me a firsthand insight as to the history of BTW — meeting players, watching championship ball teams and being around role models of Hornet players, teachers and coaches.”

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This exhibit features the work of Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group, a group of talented local photographers that includes novices to seasoned professionals. PHOTOG members encourage and help...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
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This traveling exhibition curated by Josephine Stealey, chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Ellen McGivern

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 join us in welcoming current Tulsa Artist Fellowship participant CARRIE DICKASON and her lively, inquisitive exhibit 'Revealing Patterns'.       'Revealing...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Performances Fri., July 21 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 23 at 2:30 p.m Thurs., July 27 at 7:00 p.m Fri., July 28 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 30 at 2:30 p.m Tickets Tickets will go on sale...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Boston Avenue Church
1301 S Boston Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Music Office
Telephone: 918.699.0138
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Where:
American Legion Post 308
11328 E Admiral Pl
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Ed's Hurricane Lounge
3216 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 587-6426

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Cost: $10

Where:
Vanguard
222 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (319) 804-9727
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Smitty's 118 Tavern
118 East Main St
Jenks, OK
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Telephone: (918) 995-2277
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Cost: $30-$40

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Paradise Cove
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Monster mud trucks get down and dirty.

Where:
Tulsa Raceway Park
3103 N Garnett
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 437-7223
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Come face to face with dinosaurs.

Cost: $18-$34

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918.894.4350
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-2400
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
5 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 928-5299
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Accio dancing shoes! DJs Uber and Afistaface will be spinning enchanting tunes.

Where:
The Unicorn Club
222 E 1st Street
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Telephone: (918) 551-7447

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Where:
Utopia Bar & Lounge
3508 S Sheridan Rd
Tulsa, OK  74145
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Where:
Dusty Dog Pub
5107 S Harvard
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 933-5473
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Where:
The Max Retropub
114 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 895-6200
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Where:
The Fur Shop
520 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-4292
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Where:
The Bistro At Seville
10021 S Yale Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 599-9200
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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
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Broadway at Boston Avenue presents a musical comedy that shows loving families come in all shapes and sizes.

Cost: $10

Where:
Boston Avenue Methodist Church
1301 S Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Where:
Pepper's Grill
2809 E 91st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 296-0593
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Grab a snack, find a seat, and let your imagination run wild! Each weekend in July, we’ll look at timeless truths from Hollywood blockbusters. At every service, you can expect a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Life.Church
7071 E. 121st Street S.
Bixby, OK  74008
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Sponsor: Life.Church
Telephone: 918-938-0900
Contact Name: Lesley Hemphill
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This exhibit features the work of Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group, a group of talented local photographers that includes novices to seasoned professionals. PHOTOG members encourage and help...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

Car need washing?  Bring it on down to Jiffy Lube, 2726 S. Harvard, on Saturday, July 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The car wash will be hosted by Crossroads Clubhouse, a local...

Cost: Suggested donation

Where:
Jiffy Lube
2726 S. Harvard Ave.
Tulsa
OK, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Jiffy Lube
Telephone: 918.743.4720
Contact Name: Jason
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Practice your bird watching skills by picking up a bird species coloring sheet in the Visitor Center before you explore the Garden. Tulsa Botanic Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12. 2 & under Free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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This traveling exhibition curated by Josephine Stealey, chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Ellen McGivern

More information

Good Morning Bedlam is performing at Starship Records! Good Morning Bedlam's show is an explosion of energy with soaring harmonies, a banjo player that scissor-kicks in the air, a string...

Cost: Free

Where:
Starship Records
1241 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Contact Name: Christian Cole

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Children's Musical Theatre Main Stage production of "ANNIE" features area students ages 7-17 as the cast of this classic musical.  The cast rehearses and performs 4 to 5 shows on...

Cost: $14-$24

Where:
Bartlesville Community Center
300 SE Adams Blvd
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Children's Musical Theatre of Bartlesville
Telephone: 918-336-0558
Contact Name: Jan Watt
Website »

More information

 join us in welcoming current Tulsa Artist Fellowship participant CARRIE DICKASON and her lively, inquisitive exhibit 'Revealing Patterns'.       'Revealing...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Cost: $10-$45

Where:
ONEOK Field
201 N. Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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Join RSVP of Tulsa at the new ballroom of the River Spirit Resort Casino for an evening of great food, music, dancing, and great silent auction items!  Summer casual attire - feel free to wear...

Cost: $125.00

Where:
River Spirit Resort Casino
8330 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: RSVP of Tulsa, Inc.
Telephone: 918.280.8656
Contact Name: Jovada Miller
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Performances Fri., July 21 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 23 at 2:30 p.m Thurs., July 27 at 7:00 p.m Fri., July 28 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 30 at 2:30 p.m Tickets Tickets will go on sale...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Boston Avenue Church
1301 S Boston Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Music Office
Telephone: 918.699.0138
Website »

More information

Where:
The Max Retropub
114 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 895-6200
Website »

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Where:
Crow Creek Tavern
3534 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 749-9100
Website »

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Where:
Elwood's
1924 Riverside Dr
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-9090
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
Website »

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Where:
The Cottage Art Gallery
1443 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 728-1928
Website »

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Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 599-9200
Website »

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Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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Where:
The Wine Loft
7890 E. 106th St. S.
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 970-4766
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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Making plans for this weekend? You can't do better than The Drunkard & The Olio at the historic Spotlight Theater. You know you've always wanted to go, and now's your chance. And if...

Cost: Adults $20, kids $12, seniors & military $17

Where:
Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Inner circle goes tiki with Caribbean cuisine, tropical drinks, live music, and fire performers.

Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-2400
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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Riverwalk Crossing
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
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Where:
Starship Records & Tapes
1241 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 583-0638
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 607-6005
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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 607-6005
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Cost: $5

Where:
The Blackbird on Pearl
1336 E 6th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 949-1345
Website »

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TULtalk


Details Make DoubleShot's New Digs Extra Special

Old bricks and reclaimed barn wood will give the brand-new coffee roasting HQ — set to open March 2018 — a distinct sense of history and place.

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Whether you’re in need of a therapeutic massage or just spiritual development, the H2Oasis Conscious Lounge has everything you could want for the body, mind and spirit.

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Love and Laughs with Theatre Pops

July 14-16th, two plays, “Constellations” and “Every Brilliant Thing,” will look at two things we want most in life: love and purpose.

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