Ever watched Burn-Out and Big Flame competitions? Ever participated in a town-wide “cruise night”? If not, strap in and head over to the Relics & Rods Car Show in Wilburton! There’s a free cookout and car show, along with live music and street vendors to round-out a huge day of family fun! Check out all the amazing cars, then grab your lawn chairs & blankets and head over to Gary Rosebure Recreational Park for a spectacular fireworks display. The perfect end to a perfectly fun day!
You ain’t never seen nothin’ like this before! The race is on – when 100 teams of horses, mules, drivers, cooks and outriders compete in a wide-open race! Four action-packed days of Wild West activities include barrel racing, pasture team roping, live music and great outdoor cooking will be a memorable event for the whole family!
By Christian Toews
From the Oct. 2021 Biskinik
Southeastern Oklahoma is a great place to visit all year long, but Oklahoma’s fall has a unique appeal. With mild temperatures, changing leaves and outdoor adventures, there are more reasons to visit Choctaw Country during this season than you can count. Let’s look at some activities and places to see this fall.
One of the most exciting places to visit is Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton, Oklahoma. This state park has a lot to offer, from hiking, camping, fishing and rock climbing to storied history. The state park gets its name from the outlaws who used the cave and surrounding area as hideouts.
One of the best ways to experience what it was like during that time is a horseback ride through the park. Fall is the perfect time to take a ride with Robbers Cave Stables. This guided horseback riding business is located inside the state park and offers an experience for everyone.
You can find the perfect experience to enjoy this park on horseback, from day rides to overnight camping trips. Codyjames Cook is the stable’s manager and son of the founder, who started the business ten years ago. According to Cook, they offer an experience for everyone, and it’s a great way to get away from the busyness of life. “You can really disconnect from everything out here. There are a lot of hiking trails and a lot of places that you can get to where the view is incredible,” he said.
Robbers Cave Stables offer many lengths of day rides. According to Cook, from a short 15-minute ride to hours exploring the landscape, there is a ride for every age group or time limit. If you want an even more immersive experience of cowboy life, you can book an overnight camping trip.
“We provide camping trips for outdoor lovers who want to sleep under the stars like a real cowboy,” their website explains. “This is a lovely escape from the big city for your family, which helps lower stress and become more social with each other. Whether you want to challenge yourself with a new experience or enhance your typical camping trip, our ranch is the place to do it.”
According to their website, you can “Ride through the historic trails that the outlaws of the past once rode. Here, you’ll sleep in an old, covered wagon while eating a cowboy steak dinner. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that bring us the most joy, and that’s what we are all about here at Robbers Cave Stables.” For more information and for booking a ride, visit robberscavestables.com.
Southeast of Robber Cave State Park, you’ll find another breathtaking Oklahoma State Park.
Beavers Bend State Park offers a unique beauty only found in the eastern part of Oklahoma. There are many things to do, like fly fishing, hiking, swimming, canoeing or kayaking, ATV riding and so much more. For many, a horseback ride is a perfect way to spend a fall afternoon.
You can see many types of wildlife and experience one of the most beautiful parts of Oklahoma.
Beavers Bend Depot & Trail Rides is conveniently located inside Beavers Bend State Park and offers many rides a day.
According to their Facebook page, “Guided trail rides are offered starting at the top of each hour. The ride will take you through 2 1/2 miles of scenic Beavers Bend State Park Game Reserve. Expect to see some of the native wildlife such as white tail deer, squirrel, fox, etc. The ride lasts approximately 45 minutes, but please allow at least an hour to complete the ride.” If you want more information on these rides, check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/trainandstables.
Platter Flats Pumpkin Patch offers a variety of activities for every age to enjoy this fall.
If horseback riding isn’t your thing, there are many other options for fall activities in Choctaw Country. Maybe you are looking to celebrate fall by carving a pumpkin, going on a hayride or taking some fall family photos. If so, Platter Flats Pumpkin Patch is the place for you. Located just a few miles southwest of Durant, Oklahoma, this pumpkin patch offers more than just pumpkins. Brandi Burkhalter and her husband, Guy, opened the pumpkin patch last year.
“There are a lot of activities for the kids. We have a bounce pillow, hayride, hay slide, hay tower, a corn bin, duck races, a petting zoo, a barrel train ride, a corn maze and more. We have a food trailer this year where we will be serving food. We have several areas for adults to relax and enjoy the fall weather. It’s really a fun place for the whole family,” Brandi explained. According to Brandi, they have many people who come and take fall family photos on their property as well. “We set up several photo areas with decorations, or some photographers will go out into our sunflower field and use that,” she said.
Perhaps you are staying at the newly opened Choctaw Casino & Resort’s Sky Tower and want to add a fun family activity to your weekend. Maybe you want to spend an evening with your family enjoying the fall weather. Platter Flats Pumpkin Patch is the perfect place to celebrate the fall season. You can find more information and see upcoming activities by visiting Platter Flats Pumpkin Patch on Facebook.
There are so many ways to enjoy the fall season in Choctaw Country. No matter what your interest is, Southeastern Oklahoma will not disappoint you.
All Jeep owners and enthusiasts are invited to attend the Jeep Invasion in the Park event held at Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton. Bring your Jeep to the park, and hit the trails marked off for beginners, or challenge your wheels to the more challenging pathways. Difficulty levels vary depending on rainfall.
With the pandemic’s effect still taking its toll on small businesses this holiday season, we’d like to reinforce the importance of shopping small. In our search for surprisingly cool gifts to feature, we discovered that some of the best gifts can come in small(business) packages.
Featured are five cutest small shops in Southeast Oklahoma where we’ve got you covered from jams, wreaths, metal décor and more. Let us guide you through the very best holiday gifts that Choctaw Country has to offer!
Kayterra Farms, LLC Durant, OK
The best part about Christmas is eating yourself into a food coma. So why not do it in a healthy manner? Kayterra Farms is committed to creating and producing foods that you can feel good about feeding you family. They have wonderful jams and delicious seasonal butters that are hand crafted in their kitchen. They’ve recently even expanded into a new line, pickled products!
When you buy from Kayterra Farms, you are purchasing a quality product with less sugar, more fruit and an all-natural product from pure cane sugar. With flavors from blackberry, warm pecan pie, sassy strawberry jalapeño and more there’s something for everyone!
Jams are a perfect holiday gifts for your foodie friends and family. They are the perfect for spicing up a cheeseboard or a loaf of bread.
TuffRoots LLC Idabel, OK
‘Tis the season to share the long-lasting authenticity of a TuffRoots handmade leather product. From wallets to shaving bags, you simply can’t go wrong with a classic leather gift.
What makes TuffRoots leather so unique is their high-quality products coupled with affordable prices. Using full grain leather, the strongest and most durable leather available, to create stunning products that only get better with age.
ArclightCNC Red Oak, OK
ArclightCNC produces unique and personalized custom coat of arms, family crests, trophies, home decor, and custom parts with their CNC plasma machine at affordable prices.
ArclightCNC custom designed art pieces are perfect to hang on the walls of nurseys, living rooms, patios, RVs and more!
Products are always cut from quality steel and powder coating services to prevent oxidation so your personalized artwork will last more than a lifetime!
Little Country Flowers and Gifts Wilburton, OK
Transform your front door for the season with a handmade wreath. Little Country Flowers and Gifts offers a variety of wreaths on grapevine, deco mesh and burlap that easily brightens up your home.
A variety of beautiful, custom wreaths for all seasons, Little Country Flowers and Gifts wreaths can be customized for you with your favorite colors, monogram, ribbons, team, theme and more!
Besides your front door, hang it above the fireplace or on a living room wall to spice up any room.
Paint and Chardonnay Broken Bow, OK
Gift an experience this holiday season! Everyone can embrace their inner artist at Paint and Chardonnay as they offer fun, unique ways to spend time with friends and family and feel inspired.
Paint and Chardonnay offers paint and sip events with the options to paint on a variety of surfaces including canvas, glass, wood pallets, wood trays and more! Whether you’re a beginner or expert painter, Paint and Chardonnay has a variety of paintings to paint. From animals, scenic views, florals and the option to submit requests to paint.
For the month of December, Paint and Chardonnay is offering 10% off any painting. Be sure to mention #ChoctawCountry and book your reservation today!
Let’s support our local small businesses this holiday season by purchasing beautiful gifts from independent businesses based in Choctaw Country. Hurry up and slow down, the holidays are fast approaching!
By Christian Toews
From the July 2020 Biskinik
The sport of rock climbing has gained in popularity in recent years. With indoor climbing gyms opening across the nation, more people are being exposed to the sport.
According to the Climbing Business Journal, the commercial climbing industry grew at a rate of 6.9% in 2016, 10% in 2017, and 11.8% in 2018. Rock climbing’s recent surge in popularity is reflected in the decision to add the sport to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Sarah Toews makes a complicated move while bouldering in Robbers Cave State Park.
Indoor climbing gyms have become popular in part because they offer the experience of climbing without dealing with the elements of the outdoors, but most climbers will agree, there is nothing like climbing on real rocks outside.
If you don’t live in Oklahoma or haven’t explored some of the state, you might be surprised that people are climbing here. While the majority of the state is made up of prairies and plains, Oklahoma has some areas that are great for climbing, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma holds two of the best places to climb within the state.
Ryan Jumper looks at his landing spot as Sarah Toews makes sure he doesn’t fall after landing.
Robbers Cave State Park near Wilburton, Oklahoma is known for being an excellent place to explore the outdoors, take in amazing views, and it’s also a destination for rock climbers. With its huge sandstone rock faces, many climbers love to “top rope” in this area. Top roping offers the rock-climbing experience with all the rewards but minimal risks.
Top roping, simply put, is climbing a rock face with the climbing rope always anchored above you. Much like an indoor gym, you have someone who belays the climber. The belayer takes the slack out of the rope above the climber and then lowers the climber to the ground when they have completed the route. If you fall, you only fall a short distance, minimizing the risk of injury. Top roping is good for beginners but requires a lot of gear. You need harnesses, ropes, helmets, and other gear, depending on the rocks.
Ryan Jumper climbs a low overhang in Robbers Cave State Park.
Another popular style of climbing is “Bouldering.” Bouldering is rock climbing stripped down to its raw essentials. Leaving behind ropes and harnesses, bouldering only requires climbing shoes and a bag of chalk over safety mats or “crash pads” as climbers call them. The challenge is to climb short but tricky bouldering “problems” (a route or sequence of moves) using balance, technique, strength and brain power.
Bouldering is a very popular option in climbing because of its simplicity, safety, and the ability to hang out with other climbers while challenging yourself. “I love bouldering because it’s challenging but relatively simple. You just need a crash pad, your shoes, and a few friends. My favorite part of bouldering is the problem-solving aspect. The route is short, but a simple change in your foot position can either make or break your success,” Said Rachel Toews. Toews is a Durant, Oklahoma resident and avid climber.
Sarah Toews tops out after completing a route in McGee Creek State Park.
A second bouldering location within the Choctaw Nation is Mcgee Creek State Park near Atoka, Oklahoma. This state park is located on the southwest edge of the Ouachita Mountain Range. Dallas, Texas locals first started developing here in the early 2000s, and many of the classic climbing routes have long been established. Much of this information hasn’t been published or made public but a guidebook is currently in development and in its final stages that will include McGee Creek bouldering, according to mountainproject.com. McGee Creek State Park offers many outdoor recreation opportunities including water activities, camping, hiking and fishing in addition to rock climbing.
Rachel Toews climbs above her crash pad in Robbers Cave State Park.
Both of these rock-climbing locations are listed on mountainproject.com. This website (and mobile app) is the definitive guide to rock climbing routes and locations. With over 220,000 routes listed, you can find climbing locations across the United States and around the world. If you would like more information on climbing at Mcgee Creek or Robbers Cave state parks, you can visit this website to find precise information on climbing routes, difficulty level, and location of each route. If you do make it out to one of these locations, be sure to wear the proper safety equipment when climbing and follow all safety practices within the State park.
Maybe you are an experienced climber who would like to try some new routes, or you have always wanted to get into the sport; either way, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has something for you to discover and enjoy.