The Oklahoma River is hosting a very unique event this weekend: The World Wakeboarding Championships.
There will be wakeboarding and wakeskating beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The pro division finals are on Sunday which should make for some impressive acrobatics on the water.
Nearly 200 wakeboarders and wakeskaters from a dozen countries are competing on the Oklahoma River.
Wakeboarders are judged on the overall composition and the execution and variety of tricks and aerial stunts. On the river, there will be rails and ramps the riders will use to perform tricks while maneuvering at a speed of 25 mph.
Two judges ride along in the tow boat while three other judges watch from the shore and judge’s tower. A wakeboarder can earn as much as 100 points for each ride.
There also is a division for wakeskating, which is performed on a smaller board. The riders also are not binded in like they are when wakeboarding.
There are 16 separate divisions based on age, gender and skill level. Two pros are trying to make history.
Florida’s Dallas Friday, 21, the most decorated female wakeboarder in the world, is seeking a record-tying fourth championship on the women’s side.
Florida’s Philip Soven, 19, is seeking his third title in four years in the men’s pro division. A third crown would tie a pro wakeboarding record.
: There are three Oklahomans competing as amateurs, including 16-year-old Taylor Kress of Edmond who is in the junior men’s division.
The junior men’s division is like the minor league or college varsity equivalent of pro wakeboarding and those athletes are next in line to go pro.
The pros in the men’s division are competing for a total purse of $33,000.
You can watch the competition at the old airpark, SW 17 and Western. There will be a carnival-like atmosphere on the river, with music and tents where people can buy wakeboards and accessories along with food and drink. Autograph sessions are scheduled each day.
Bring your lawn chair if you plan to stay long. Tickets for adults are $10 on Saturday and Sunday and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Admission is free for ages 5 and younger.
On Friday, admission is free.
Last Sunday I asked readers their opinion of the best shotguns ever made, mentioning the Browning A-5 and the Remington 870. Below are the comments I received from readers.
”I have a Belgium made A-5 (light 20 gauge) which is about as good as they get for the following reasons: superb quality of manufacturing; five-shot capacity; will shoot reloaded or new shells all day without malfunctions; very lightweight to carry and swing on target; easy to change the barrel and lastly, the design seems to make pointing a natural motion.” – J. Paul Gragg, Oklahoma City
“My vote is for the Winchester Model 12. This gun is known not only for its excellent handling but is a great all-around firearm to use in the field or on the trap range.” – Mike Cook, Duncan
“My uncle gave me a Remington 870 pump about 25 years ago. It had been used quite a bit already and I’ve continued to fire away with it. I have not owned or even shot the Browning model that you referenced, but it would have to be an extrardinary gun to pull me away from the 870.” – Mark Webb, Durant
“My vote goes for the model 12 Winchester pump 20 gauge modified choke. I’ve used this for 30-some years. It has been maintenance free. They are reasonably priced and very durable. I also had a Belgium-made Browning A-5 I couldn’t master. I gave it to my son and he loves it.” - Carl Williams, Kingfisher
“My vote for the best shotgun of all time is the Model 12 Winchester pump. Its fit, finish and overall quality is head and shoulders above any other shotgun in my opinion.” – Tom Hayes, Purcell
“For me, it is the classic Mossberg 500 pump. While it may not be as expensive as a Remington or nowhere near and intricate as the Benelli, the Mossberg is a tough utility shotgun that can be used for dove, turkey, qual, and yes, even sporting clays. I believe you could drop the thing from an airplane and it would function adequately.” – Ron Black, host of the WILD Oklahoma radio and TV show
“It has to be the 870.” - Chris Thomas, Midwest City
“My vote is for the Franchi 20 gauge automatic. It is the lightest (minimal recoil) most versatile and deadly shotgun I have ever used in my 38 years of hunting. Great for all upland game and waterfowl. Wouldn’t have another! - Jim Chapman
“My vote for the best shotgun would have to go to the Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight (the one gun my Dad got for me in 1959 when I was awarded the Boy Scout Eagle Badge). The gun is light, doesn’t kick, is almost weatherproof (with its downward ejection). Mine is a 20 gauge, but my vote goes for the entire Ithaca 37 lineup. The Remington 870 is a good gun, too, but kind of bulky when compared to the Model 37.” – Sam Ebersole, Perry
“Out of the two guns I believe the Remington 870 is best. Why is that? Well, I have owned a lot of shotguns and owned both the A-5 and the 870 and after awhile, I had trouble with the A-5 not wanting to eject shells all the way and I have owned the 870 over 10 years now and I haven’t had any problems with it. But I think the best shotgun ever is the Ruger Red Label.” – Mitchell Loudermilk
“I bought (a Browning A-5) in ’62 for $159. To me, that’s the best that’s ever been made, I think, and I have used quite a few shotguns. It would eject shells perfectly and fire as fast you could pull the trigger. I shot many a box of shells in it. Never had to take it to the gun shop (for repair). I kept it oiled and cleaned. “ 87-year-old Arnold Heath of Norman
“I guess now my secret will be public. The best all around shotgun is positively the Ruger Red Label. I prefer 20 gauge with European Stock. Here is why. Great fit and handling. Quick to the shoulder (in the Euro stock). Good balance and weight, leading to low recoil and good swing through. Reasonably priced (used to be better, the demand is driving prices up). Can be used for skeet, sporting clays and game hunting equally well. Reliable. I’ve shot literally thousands of rounds through mine without a misfire or jam. Forcing cones are just right, yielding superb pattern and low recoil.” – Sheldon Lackey, Edmond
“The Browning A-5, Belgium-made, gets my vote. Why? Because it has never failed me in its mechanical operation!!!!! Mine is a low serial number which I have owned since 1969.” Gene Bartnicki, Duncan
The Oklahoma Station Chapter of Safari Club International and Wild Game Outfitters have partnered to provide a special hunting and fishing adventure for two Oklahoma combat veterans of the post-9/11 war on terrorism.
In January or February, two veterans will be provided lodging and meals for three days of hunting and fishing near Porum.
They will each be given a guided hunt for a cow elk on the Duchess Creek Ranch, as well as guided fishing on Lake Eufaula. Virtually all expenses for the veterans and their companions will be paid.
The hunting and fishing adventures will be shown on the “Redneck Adventures” television show..
A complete description is provided on SCI’s website, http://www.oklahomastationsci.org/.
By clicking on “Special Hunt for Oklahoma Veterans”, you can read all the details, see who is eligible, and find out how to nominate a veteran (or apply yourself). Nominations need to be received by Oct. 31.
SCI is challenging other Oklahoma organizations, businesses, and individuals to join as a partner in this way of saying thank you to all of the military men and women serving our country.
If you would like to discuss how to contribute, e-mail SCI Oklahoma Chapter vice president Mike Mistelske at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is the best bass fisherman in the state? Tough question.
I cast my vote for Edwin Evers of Talala, who just ended the BASS Elite Series with a sixth-place finish in the Angler of the Year standings.
It was Evers’ highest finish in the AOY race. There are several other anglers you can make a case for the best fisherman from Oklahoma: veteran Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, FLW pro Darrell Robertson of Jay, etc.
But Evers is currently the most consistent. Competing against the top anglers in the world on the Elite Series, Evers now has finished in the top 11 of the AOY standings three of the last four years. That’s why he gets my vote.
Shawnee angler finishes second
Kudos to Tyler Dennis of Shawnee, a member of the OKC Junior Bassmasters, who finished second in the ages 11-14 division Sunday in the Junior World Bassmaster Championship on New York’s Lake Onondaga.
Dennis caught five fish totaling 14 pounds, 8 ounces, including the big bass of the day that weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces.
The winner, Jordan McMorris of New Mexico, caught 15 pounds, 13 ounces. Dennis earned $1,000 for big bass and a $2,000 scholarship for finishing second in the tournament.
Colt McMahan of Tecumseh, another OKC Junior Bassmasters member, finished 13th in the ages 15 to 18 division of the Junior Bassmasters World Championship, catching a sack of 13 pounds, 9 ounces.
Waterfowlers who hunted at Liberty Lake near Guthrie will be looking for a new place for their blinds this season.
The Guthrie City Council voted unanimously last month to ban hunting at Liberty Lake after a park board member told the council that hunting was unsafe for a multi-use area. By that logic, you would have to ban duck hunting on every lake in the state.
I haven’t found anyone who can recall a hunting accident at Liberty Lake, but Guthrie City Clerk Wanda Calvert told me Wednesday that the primary reason for banning hunting and other recreational activities was to get the lake cleaned up.
Guthrie’s city manager told council members last month that the lake has been the site of teen-age partying and illegal activities and that city officials intend to reclaim the lake.
You can watch a video of the recent Guthrie city council meeting and the discussion about Liberty Lake at this link: http://www.cityofguthrie.com/Channel20/VOD_Council.htm
“The main reason for (banning duck hunting at Liberty Lake) is to get it cleaned up,” Calvert said. “We closed it for ATVs. ATVs can’t ride in there. We just got to get it cleaned up.”
Once the lake has been “reclaimed” by city officials, recreational uses such as waterfowl hunting may be reconsidered, Calvert said.
Until that happens, the loss of hunting opportunity at Liberty Lake is another blow against hunters in Oklahoma. The playing field continues to shrink.
Back from a family vacation in Colorado and after pouring through hundreds of emails I had received (I don’t check emails on vacation), I discovered that the outdoors page two weeks ago of my top 10 fishing songs struck a chord with some readers (pun intended).
A few people emailed with me with songs that I had missed. Larry N. Boyington, aka Larry Neal, former curator of the Wax Museum on the big 1520 KOMA, came up with this list:
1. The Fish–Bobby Rydell–1961 (it was a dance)
2. The Fish Ain’t Bitin’–Lamont Dozier–1974
3. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh–Thom Bell–1979
4. The Fish Walk–Johnny Carlo–1960 (it was a dance)
5. Fishin’ On The Mississippi–Bob Morris–1967
6. Three Little Fishes–Buzz Clifford–1961
7. Houdini–Walter Brennan–1962( a song about a catfish named Houdini that everyone was trying to catch)
“I don’t know how old you are Mr. Godfrey, but I think I am safe in saying that you have never heard of any of these,” Boyington wrote in the email.
You are correct, Mr. Boyington. I have never heard of any of them. But the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh sounds familiar.
Chuck Edwards, the radio voice of the past 31 years for Weatherford High School football and baseball and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, nominated an old song called “Catfish Bates.”
“Somewhere in my vast collection of 45 records, I have an old country fishing song called ‘Catfish Bates,”’Edwards wrote. “Don’t remember who recorded it and I have my records organized by author rather than title so can’t relate any of the lyrics to you, but I remember it being a good fishing song.”
Shane from Cushing suggested that Jimmy Houston’s theme song (“Just a chuckin and a windin, hoping I’m a findin’ an old Big mouth, waitin by a hollow log..”) should be at the top of my list.
A reader from Norman mentioned a song from the ’40s called “The Fishing Song” by The Five Scamps.
“Starts out Momma won’t let me go fishing with my boyfriend,” emailed M. Maddux of Norman. ” I remember this was a little risque for the disk jockeys in the ’40′s, as the end was daddy saying ‘momma and papa went fishing on Rio Grande , didn’t catch any fish but here I am.’”
And a colleague of mine at The Oklahoman, staff writer Robert Medley, emailed me a You Tube video of a song called “Catfish Boogie” performed by The Collins Kids of Oklahoma. It’s an old Tennessee Ernie Ford song.
“I think you missed one,” Robert said.
After watching the video and hearing the song for the first time, I think Robert is right. I would put this song at No. 10.
Check out the song and video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nmrX17TxnLI
Reading the obituaries Sunday, I learned of the death of Dr. Loren Hill, retired professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma.
I never met Dr. Hill, but I have met his son, Kenyon, a pro bass angler on the Elite Series tour. Kenyon is one of the nicest people I have met since taking over the outdoors beat for The Oklahoman six years ago and I’m sure much of the credit for that belongs to his father.
Kenyon won the Pride of Georgia Elite Series bass tournament earlier this year and dedicated to his father.
In case you are not familiar with Dr. Hill, the following is a portion from his obituary.
“Both the sport fishing industry and the scientific community lost an innovative thinker Thursday, July 17, 2008 when Dr. Loren Hill of Norman passed away following a long illness. Dr. Hill retired as professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma following 33 years in the classroom and 30 years as director of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma. He also served as chairman of the Zoology Department at OU. .
”He authored or coauthored more than 50 scientific papers and articles. Hill was a passionate sport fisherman whose research is credited with bridging the gap between academic science and the sport fishing industry. In many ways he pioneered the union of science and sport fishing through his research on sight and olfactory abilities among various fish species. His work led to the development of several lures and fishing aids like acidity monitors, scents and color selectors for several major sport fishing manufacturers. Dr. Hill was a gifted track athlete, avid quail hunter, classic country music aficionado and expert taxidermist specializing in birds.”
Earlier this year I fished with a native Pennsylvanian who moved to Oklahoma and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma just so he could could study under Dr. Hill.
I’m sorry I never got the chance to meet him.
Burnis Campbell of Choctaw passed along this photo of his grandson, Hayden Jennings, and a note about their trip in June to Broken Bow Lake.
“If it gets better than this I would love to be there,” Campbell said. ”The beauty of this lake along with time spent with Hayden made for a rewarding event. Hayden prefers bass fishing with lures but the bass was not to be found so we did well with minnows in the upper arm of Otter Creek.
“During the lulls, we just sat in the boat and enjoyed the view as we saw deer and turkeys on the shore. God put together a piece of beauty here that is beyond words.”
Anglers have a few more days to let state wildlife officials know where they would like to see fish attractors placed in your local lake.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is conducting an online survey on its Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com, asking anglers questions such as where fish attractors should be, are they working now, do anglers know where they are, etc.
Fish attractors are structures such as tire reefs, brush piles, cedar trees, spider blocks (pictured above are state wildlife officials preparing to place spider blocks in Lake Konawa) that state wildlife officials place in lakes. Fish want to hang around stuff like this and such places are sometimes marked with a bouy.
State wildlife officials say they will use the survey results to decide where to place these structures in the future. So far, 1,400 anglers have participated in the survey.
The survey will end after July 31, so speak now or forever hold your peace.
The Hefner Dam Road is now back open to fishermen. The dam is a popular spot for anglers to catch crappie, walleye, sand bass and channel catfish.
The road had been closed for six months while Oklahoma City crews added more rip-rap along the banks to prevent erosion and repaved the road. A new 42-inch guard rail also was added.
Hefner is an underrated fishing lake and in the summer, some nice hybrids are caught there, evident by this 12-pounder that Quint McBride caught last month.
Hybrids are not stocked in Hefner, but they come down the North Canadian River with water releases from Canton Lake.