Office mates

A Tulsa company’s employees are leading the ruff life.



Eight years ago, Piper was rescued from the pound and now calls Explorer Pipeline’s Glenpool station home.

Explorer Pipeline’s tank stations are under tight security with high fences and cameras monitoring the giant tanks of petrochemicals within.

But the company’s Glenpool station has an additional layer of protection not generally found in secure industrial sites — a friendly, fluffy yellow lab named Piper, who uses her keen ears to bark at a change in routine, usually before her human counterparts notice. 

She has even trained herself to be a more efficient guard over the years, says Tom Graves, area manager for the company.

“Piper has learned from experience which cars belong here and which don’t,” he says. “If she sees any she doesn’t recognize, she’ll let us know. But if it’s a vehicle that’s here routinely, she stays quiet.”

Piper is one of four dogs that lives permanently within some of Explorer Pipeline’s seven stations along its 1,800-mile pipeline. 

Though some stations can’t accommodate dogs because they’re not manned 24 hours a day or because a few employees are allergic to dogs, Katrinia Moss, a human resources analyst with Explorer Pipeline and the company’s head dog advocate, says Explorer Pipeline is proud to sponsor its unusual employees.

“It’s a great image for our company because these dogs are part of the family,” Moss says.

Plus, they’re an effective employee benefit. The dogs give employees unconditional companionship — especially to the night and weekend workers who would otherwise monitor the pipelines by themselves, she says. 

Though the Glenpool site might seem to be a purely industrial area with giant tanks and pipes, a sizable portion of the 80 acres remains in a natural state, with grass, a retention pond and small wildlife visitors — a perfect environment for an energetic dog.

Piper is well-loved by her coworkers, but Graves says the pooch hasn’t let her guard job go to her head. She’s usually laid-back and affectionate with everyone, even visitors. 

Her typical day involves a few rounds of fetch, a trot around the grounds, a nap in Graves’ office and a shift in the control room. 

“Anyone in the office, she’ll start nudging their arm until they start petting her,” Graves says.

Tom Graves and Piper

Visitors are usually surprised to discover Explorer Pipeline’s station has a furry amenity trotting along the grounds and greeting people at the gates, but they’re quickly charmed. Now, frequent visitors to the station such as UPS delivery drivers and Culligan watermen come prepared with treats.

Graves says the station is a nontraditional home for a dog, but Piper seems to be perfectly content living there.

“She has never shown any indication she wants to leave, so I guess she likes it here,” he says.

Dogs have been a part of Explorer Pipeline’s DNA for some time. Between 1990 and 1994, Port Arthur, Texas, had three male dogs come and go. The fourth  — a female — showed up as a stray puppy in 1995, and since they couldn’t name her Roy like the previous three, they called her Quattro. She lived to be 17, all the while at the station. Nearly all of the company’s station dogs started out as strays or were rescued. Piper was no different.

Graves says a former employee noticed Piper wandering his neighborhood eight years ago, but she eventually vanished. He later learned Piper had been picked up by animal control. 

The employee was concerned because Oklahoma has a long-standing dog population problem as it is. Pounds and shelters are overwhelmed with the sheer number of dogs that are found or brought in, and tens of thousands of dogs are euthanized annually — not because they’re unadoptable, but because there’s simply not enough room. 

“He got Piper out of the pound, brought her by, gave her to us and drove away,” Graves says. 

In addition to Piper, three other dogs provide security and companionship at Explorer Pipeline’s stations. Daisy, a black lab, showed up at the Pasadena, Texas, station as a stray. She’s a shy dog, but she quickly warmed up to the employees. Daisy also has Piper’s skill at recognizing vehicles, and any time it’s someone she remembers, she can barely contain her excitement.

Cooyan, a lab/Great Dane mix, became part of the Port Arthur, Texas, team in 2014 when he was a puppy. A technician found Cooyan in the Southeast Texas classifieds. The owner was looking for a good home for the puppy. The technician picked him out and assured the owner he would have 14 fenced-in acres to roam, along with plenty of indoor living. Cooyan is happiest when he’s able to chase any unwary birds that dare to land at the station, but he also loves sitting in an office chair in the control room — even if he doesn’t quite fit. 

Piper loves making friends.

And then there’s Jett, whose story begins in Tulsa. Moss volunteers with Lab Rescue of Oklahoma, and Jett came to her attention after another volunteer pulled Jett from a shelter. Apparently, Jett’s life was a hard one.

“This dog looked rough,” Moss says. “He had chewed-up ears and white whiskers on his face. He wasn’t getting any attention.”

Jett was estimated to be 9 years old, and older dogs tend to take longer to find adoptive owners. On top of that, Jett needed to find a home that had plenty of outside space; Moss says he’s too big and too full of energy to be comfortable inside. As a result, Jett became one of the toughest cases for Lab Rescue. Though Moss and the organization worked hard to find his permanent home, time dragged on.

“He was with us for seven months,” Moss says. “He was big, black, a senior and needed space. Those can be hard to adopt.”

At Explorer Pipeline’s Wood River, Illinois, station, the employees faced the opposite problem. Their longtime furry companion Joe passed away, and they were looking for a new dog. Joe was the first dog at Wood River, and he was adopted around 2003. But staff found area rescues wouldn’t let them adopt — they weren’t comfortable with the idea of a dog living at a pipeline station.

Piper is one of four dogs who live at Explorer Pipeline’s stations. With plenty of room to run around and someone on site 24/7, these dogs are right at home.

Since Moss worked with Lab Rescue, she was able to convince the organization that the dogs that live at the stations are well looked after and happy. 

“Lab Rescue went the extra mile to make sure this was approved,” Moss says, “because with 70 acres, it would be Jett’s utopia.”

Jett made the trip to Illinois and is now one of the happiest dogs you’ll meet. He has plenty of human attention as well as a huge area to burn off his energy. It helps that he gets plenty of motivation from the local wildlife.

“Jett has made it his mission to eradicate the station of all rabbits,” Moss says. 

Jett’s placement was so successful that the Wood River area manager says he will focus on older dogs when station companion positions become available. 

A happy side effect of the program has been an increased interest in adoption. Employees who work with the dogs see that rescue dogs can be terrific pets, and many get inspired to adopt rescue dogs of their own. 

Explorer Pipeline has a charitable matching program for employees, up to $150. Though these donations can go to a wide range of charities, some employees are inspired to donate to Lab Rescue and other animal causes.

Moss says animal rescue is an important practice, simply because of the sheer volume of animals that have to be put down. 

“There are literally millions of adoptable pets killed every year,” she says. “Over 10,000 of these are in Tulsa.”

Katrinia Moss, a human resources analyst  with Explorer Pipeline and the company’s head dog advocate, with Piper.

Though laws requiring pets be spayed or neutered are on the books, they’re rarely enforced, and far too many irresponsible pet owners allow their dogs to breed, Moss says. On top of that, amateur dog breeders often dump dogs in shelters when they can no longer produce desirable puppies. 

Labradors are one of the highest-volume dog breeds that shelters euthanize, along with pit bulls and Chihuahuas. Moss says that’s largely due to the enduring popularity of labs. But, labs are a high-energy breed that keep their “puppy” spirit for several years. They need activity, training and understanding from their family to be the best they can be. In addition, many times people will surrender a lab because they didn’t realize how big it would get. 

While she knows that it’s a tough, ongoing fight, Moss says seeing a stray dog find happiness in a loving home makes the struggle to find the right home all worth it.

“We might not be able to improve all dogs’ lives, but we can definitely improve this dog’s life,” she says.

As for Graves, he and his coworkers couldn’t imagine their jobs without a furry companion.

“I think we’ll always have a dog at the station,” he says.

 

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July 2017

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Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
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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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Cost: $10

Where:
The Venue Shrine
112 E. 18th St.
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-1345
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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:
Utica Square
21st Street and Utica Avenue
Tulsa, OK
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Philbrook will host a talk with Chicano watercolor artist Wenceslao Quiroz, whose art is currently displayed in Cheech MarinÕs collection.

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S Rockford Road
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $5

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Presented by The STEMcell Science Shop

Where:
The Boxyard
502 East Third Street
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $20

Where:
Safari Joe's H2O Water Park
4707 E 21st St
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Telephone: (918) 749-7385
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See dozens of 4-H and livestock exhibits.

Where:
Expo Square - Exchange Center & Pavilion
4145 E 21st St
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $39-$49

Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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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

More information

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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Website »

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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
Website »

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Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-2400
Website »

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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
Website »

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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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Website »

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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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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:
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
Website »

More information

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
Website »

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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
Website »

More information

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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More information

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
Website »

More information

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
Website »

More information

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 »

More information

Where:
Crow Creek Tavern
3534 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 749-9100
Website »

More information

Where:
Elwood's
1924 Riverside Dr
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-9090
Website »

More information

Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 921-3535
Website »

More information

Where:
The Cottage Art Gallery
1443 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 728-1928
Website »

More information

Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 599-9200
Website »

More information

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


Website »

More information

Where:
The Wine Loft
7890 E. 106th St. S.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 970-4766
Website »

More information

Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Website »

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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
View map »


Website »

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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
Website »

More information

Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 794-4208
Website »

More information

Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
View map »


Website »

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Where:
Riverwalk Crossing
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
Starship Records & Tapes
1241 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 583-0638
Website »

More information

Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Website »

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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 607-6005
Website »

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Where:
Soul City
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 607-6005
Website »

More information

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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Let's Get Metaphysical at H2Oasis

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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4 things to do to this month at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

Stop and smell the roses with fun events and hands-on workshops.

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Top 4 Things To Do In Eufala This Summer

There's so much more to Eufaula than its namesake lake. Dive into a summer of fun and culture.

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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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