All aboard

A group of Tulsans is introducing residents to a new type of transportation.



Business partners Dan Smolen, Oleg Roytman, David Warta and Don Smolen purchased two 1978 double-decker buses in July 2012 and have refurbished them to create a charter, tour and transit company.

Cheyenne Bus Co. started with a snow cone.

Tulsa attorney Dan Smolen and his family were en route to a snow cone stand when he saw a double-decker bus, looming large over everything else in a roadside junkyard.

Perhaps because the icy, summery treats were on his mind, Dan “became obsessed” with the idea of opening a snow cone stand out of a restored double-decker bus.

He brought the idea to his business partners Donnie Smolen (Dan’s brother), David Warta and Oleg Roytman, but the bus idea was met with more enthusiasm than the snow cones.

“We came up with all these ways you could use a really cool double-decker bus,” Donnie says. “Kids’ birthday parties, architectural tours, catered dinners, tailgates, wine tasting, speed dating ...”

And so, the snow cone stand dissolved into a charter, tour and transit bus company.

The partners purchased two 1978 Bristol VRTs in July 2012. The buses were driven to Tulsa from Minnesota at what was then their maximum speed of 38 miles per hour — without air conditioning.

“No mechanic wanted to take on these buses,” Dan says. “Eventually we were referred to this company in Claremore called Anderson Classics and Kustoms.”

There, owner Jason Anderson and his team completed all the needed body, paint and upholstery work.

When it was time to address the mechanical work, the group got lucky with another local referral.

“We called four different states to put heat and air in these things,” Dan says. “Everyone in every state referred us back to KenKool Inc. right here in Tulsa.”

Both buses were originally used for public transportation in London, but after all the Tulsa-area renovation work, Dan says, “They are definitely Oklahoma buses now.”

The double-deckers are strikingly tall at 13 feet, 8 inches.

“There’s a bridge on Riverside that is 13 feet, 10 inches,” Donnie says. “Sitting on top of the bus, watching yourself come at that bridge looks pretty weird.”

“But the height is one of the differences between this and a limo,” Warta says. “You can actually stand up on both floors.”

The buses have been restored to honor their original style with custom leather upholstery and woodwork. In true double-decker fashion, the driver’s seat is on the right side of the bus.

At the back, Dan opens a compartment to reveal a huge, impossibly shiny diesel engine.

“They still make engines like this,” he says, “but now they put them in yachts.”

Eric Fransen, the carpenter who did most of the buses’ woodwork, says the renovation process has “been organic because we have been out on the bus using it. On purpose, we would sit in different seats and think about drink trays and dance parties.”

Laura Smolen, Dan’s wife, is the company’s lead designer. She says, “The buses have a retro, classic feel. Most other buses we’ve seen have the poles and crazy lights. No one has redone them like we have.”

However, the buses have been updated for today’s party needs. They boast Wi-Fi, lounge seating for 60, flat screen TVs, large-scale power generators, a window-rattling sound system and a wood veneer bar.

Joe Chadwick of KenKool Inc. worked hard to make sure riders would be comfortable despite  Oklahoma weather.

“It took about a month of research to find products that would work” on buses this size, he says. But now, “there’s enough air conditioning on this bus for two very good-sized houses.”

The double-deckers are kept in a warehouse on North Cheyenne Avenue in the Brady Arts District. From this base, partygoers can park and ride to events across Oklahoma.

In addition to rentals, the partners plan to make each bus available for a Monday-Friday lunch route, connecting the downtown business district to Cherry Street and Brady Arts District restaurants. The buses will offer pay-per-ride services and run a loop, allowing riders to be at any point on the route within 15 minutes.

“One thing I love about Tulsa is that, especially in the last few years, it seems like there are more young people getting invested in the ommunity,” Laura says. “It feels fun to contribute to what’s going on in Tulsa.”

From bachelorette parties to a child’s 6th birthday, Cheyenne Bus Co. rides in style.

Perhaps you could even take it for a snow cone.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Locker room: Dallas Keuchel

The Houston Astros pitcher recently celebrated his first year in the big leagues.

Beauty in the bucket list

The Culturist: The best of local arts and culture

Barry Friedman at Large

Will someone please answer the damn phone?
Edit Module

Add your comment:
21c

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Hike the Garden’s 1.5 mile nature trail by the full moon to discover the night sights and sounds of the forest and prairie. Drinks and kits for making s’mores over fire pits will be...

Cost: $10 per person for members; $15 for non-members

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

So You Want to Make a Movie? Learn how to take your movie idea from conception to reality through hands-on guidance. The goal is to create a short digital video to be submitted to a local film...

Cost: $375

Where:
Ahha Tulsa
101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Come out to Willows Family Ales for the first drop-in workshop of the year! $8 per tiny item you create, or do a 3 for $20 deal with your friends! Enjoy a tasty beer or one of their many...

Cost: $8

Where:
Willows Family Ales
418 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Tiny Things by Bowen
Contact Name: Sarah Bowen
Website »

More information

Theme Imitation Imitation is a form of flattery. Learn how writers mimic themes, voice and tone – with one-on-one mentoring - to create your own unique piece of poetry. Instructor: Clemonce...

Cost: $300

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

FREE Speaking Event “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” Scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term...

Cost: FREE

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Shawn Bender
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Animal People: Lecture with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24, 9:30 - 10:45 am What does it mean to be an 'Animal person'? For that matter, what does it mean to be a person? Drawing upon his...

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: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

HumanNature: Photography Workshop with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24,  2 - 3:30 pm Think of the average American home: climate controlled, pest free, and human centric. Yet, as Jeff Goldblum...

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: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Body/Mind Techniques for Managing Stress.   Trauma, fear, panic attacks, PTSD, diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety and phobias all have components related to emotional or physical...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Hardesty Regional Library
8316 E. 93rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On January 25, Mental Health Association Oklahoma will host the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Journey, a traveling, hands-on exhibit to raise awareness about the All of Us...

Cost: Free

Where:
Legacy Plaza
5330 E. 31st Street
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
Telephone: (918) 585-1213
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Friday, January 25, 1 - 2 pm Chimpanzees in the Congo Basin exhibit some of the most complex tool behaviors documented outside of humans.  This talk will share recent discoveries on how young...

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 Armstrong
Website »

More information

Stand-up comedian Brian Regan brings his tour to our city! Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: SoundChronicle
Telephone: 802-255-1826
Contact Name: Emily Carter
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Beginning with an introduction into the origin and characteristics of coffee and ending in the myriad of ways we imbibe our black gold, this course is an aerial view of coffee’s journey from...

Cost: $50

Where:
Topeca Coffee
1229 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
View map »


Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

More information

The annual Tulsa Eagle Day has been renamed to “Eagle Watch and Raptor Rally.” It will be on Jan. 26, 2019 from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Jenks High School, Building 6. There will be presentations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jenks High School, Building 6
205 E. B St.
Jenks, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Audubon Society
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7.00

Where:
MABEE CENTER
7777 S LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
View map »


Website »

More information

Evergreens are often overlooked and under-appreciated in the landscape, yet in the winter months they provide color, form and texture that their deciduous counterparts can’t provide. Take a...

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

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

We are thrilled to announce The Pencil Box's brand new event, Rock Paper Scissors, to be held at the historic Cain's Ballroom on Saturday, January 26, 2019, and we need you there! This event will...

Cost: $150.00

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-442-2222
Contact Name: Nancy Bolzle
Website »

More information

Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs North Dakota State!

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/californiabaptist1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Living Arts of Tulsa is celebrating its 50th anniversary during its signature gala, Champagne & Chocolate. The event features a fashion show and auction and features the work of artist...

Cost: $100

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 E. MB Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Living Arts of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-585-1234
Contact Name: Jessica Borusky
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Giving Guide
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Voters choose Gathering Place as USA Today’s Best New Attraction

Tulsa’s world-class 66-acre riverfront park wins national poll by popular vote

Comments

2.2: Mending with Gold — Ana Berry

On this episode of the Tulsa Talks podcast, Ana Berry is a champion for the city with a new perspective on life.

Comments

Video: Soundscapes Tulsa

Comments

2.1: The Pivot — Meg Myers Morgan

Season 2 is all about reinvention, and you could say that today’s guest, Meg Myers Morgan, wrote the book on how to do it — through negotiation and self-reflection.

Comments

Lives well lived

Remembering the prominent Tulsans we lost in 2018.

Comments