The Dahlonegah Indians softball team celebrates its second-place trophy in the Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools Division II softball championship. In the front row, from left, are Callie Spears, Kynsi Grimmett, Adrianna Littledeer, Rumor Livers, Adrianna Jones and Kayden Duck. Back row, from left, are coach Kenny Limore, Krista Nofire, Jessie Sanchez, Sammie Duncan, Jaivyn Gann, coach Nate Bunch, Robyn Grimmett, Shelby Ross, Hayden Woods and coach Mike Girdner. COURTESY PHOTO

Dahlonegah takes 2nd in ORES softball tournament

Senior Reporter – @cp_wchavez
10/28/2013 09:50 AM
STILWELL, Okla. – The Dahlonegah Indians played a marathon day of softball on Oct. 8 to reach the Oklahoma Rural Elementary Schools Division II championship game and wound up taking second place.

In a tournament held in McAlester, the girls played five games to reach the championship game because of previous rainouts. Coach Mike Girdner said games had been rained out three times before being played.

“We had been rained out three weeks in a row. We had to stay motivated to play for three weeks,” he said. “We practiced the whole time, every day.”

Girdner coaches all of the girls’ athletics for the Adair County school and is assisted by coaches Nate Bunch and Kenny Limore.

On Oct. 8, the 12-member Dahlonegah team first lost 4-2 to Oak Grove in a made-up rainout game. In the second game the team defeated Jennings 5-0 before beating another Adair County school, Rocky Mountain, 3-2. For its fourth game the team defeated Grandview School from Comanche County, 5-2.

“And then we had to play Oak Grove again because we had to come through the loser’s bracket. We beat them 9-1 and that put us in the finals, and then we got destroyed by Zaneis. We ran out of pitching,” Girdner said.

When the day was over, the Indians played from 11 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Zaneis Elementary, located in Carter County, defeated Dahlonegah 12-0.

“We took it on the chin. I told the girls if you get that far there’s no losers,” Girdner said. “Our little pitcher, she had thrown all of the games, and she wanted to pitch in the finals, so I let her throw. They were good...we didn’t have an answer for them.”

He said his team was disappointed but it also appreciated making it to the championship game.

“Their morale was good. They were somewhat disappointed they didn’t win the whole thing. They did their best, and I thought they took it pretty classy. They showed some real good sportsmanship to the other team,” Girdner said.

It was the first time the school had reached the ORES softball tournament. The team compiled a record of 14-5 during its two-month season.

“I am proud of the girls,” he said. “We had really good parent support. They made the trip (to the state tournament) as many times as I did, so that helped.”


About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board. • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.


Staff Writer
08/29/2016 04:00 PM
WAGONER, Okla. – Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cody Standifird saved a man’s life while out on patrol the morning of Aug. 21. Standifird, a Cherokee Nation citizen, said he was patrolling near a public access area known as Coal Creek around 9:30 a.m. when he noticed a “suspicious looking” vehicle parked with the back hatch open. As he circled the parking lot, he said he noticed a person’s foot hanging out of the back of the vehicle. He parked his patrol car and walked to the vehicle. “When I walked up to the vehicle, I found a man that…appeared to have a severe head wound.” Standifird said. “There was a lot of blood on him, and he was barely breathing.” Standifird requested Wagoner County dispatch to send emergency medical services to his location. While waiting, he attempted to help the man, identified as Robert Potter Jr., to breath better but then noticed Potter stopped breathing completely. Standifird then administered CPR. Standifird said Potter “was revived quickly” and began to breath on his own. However, after a short time, Potter stopped breathing again, and Standifird again administered CPR. Potter was revived again and able to breath on his own until the EMS arrived. Standifird said he did not expect to “randomly” come across someone in need while patrolling. “I wasn’t expecting that by any means. I was really unsure what kind of injury the man had. He seemed to…give indicators that he had possibly been shot or severely beaten, and I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with him,” Standifird said. “I have done CPR on people before, but I’ve never just randomly discovered someone that needed it without being dispatched.” Standifird said Potter was transported to a Muskogee hospital where he was placed in the intensive care unit, but listed in stable condition and expected to recover. “I don’t consider myself a hero at all. It’s just something that was completely random that happened,” Standifird said. “I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and I did my job.” Standifird joined the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 and works as a firearms instructor, Emergency Response Team member and a field-training officer.
08/26/2016 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation officials honored a World War II veteran and two Vietnam War veterans with Medals of Patriotism at the Aug. 15 Tribal Council meeting. Gary Dale Douglas, 71, of Coweta; James Clarence Huggins, 95, of Fort Gibson; and James David Murphy, 65, of Stilwell, each received a medal acknowledging their service to the country from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. Spc. Douglas was born Feb. 27, 1945, in Houston, Missouri. He was drafted into the Army in 1967, attended basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was sent to Vietnam in October 1967 and was assigned to the 585th Dump Truck Company. Douglas drove a jeep for the first platoon sergeant and then the company commander. After the company commander was killed in an ambush, he drove a jeep for the second platoon sergeant. Douglas was ambushed twice, first by the Viet Cong and then by the North Vietnamese regular army. As a result, he earned two Silver Star medals for valor in combat. Douglas took over the night crew of the motor pool for the remainder of his service after the second ambush. The motor pool was responsible for the upkeep and repair of the vehicles. Douglas received an honorable discharge in 1968. He earned several ribbons and medals for his service, including the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Combat Medal and National Defense Service Medal. ?? “I just want to say thank you to the Cherokee Nation for this honor,” Douglas said. ?? Staff Sgt. Huggins was born June 10, 1921, in Fort Gibson. He entered the Army in 1942. Huggins and two other men from Fort Gibson traveled to Fort Sill for training. In October 1943, he was sent to Fresno, California, for training at Hammer Field. Huggins later was sent to Portland, Oregon, where he was promoted from buck private to buck sergeant. In July 1944, Gen. Douglas MacArthur selected Morotai Island as the location for air bases and naval facilities needed to support the liberation of the Philippines. Huggins was stationed on the Indonesian island. He returned to the United States in 1945 and received an honorable discharge. He arrived home in Fort Gibson on Christmas Eve night as an early Christmas present to his family. Huggins received honors for his service, including the Distinguished Service Medal and Ribbon, Philippines Liberation Medal and World War II Victory Medal. ?? Petty Officer 3rd Class Murphy was born Feb. 24, 1951, in Tahlequah and entered the Navy in 1969. Murphy attended basic training in Orlando, Florida, and was then sent to Hunters Point Naval Ship Yard in San Francisco for his duty aboard the USS Midway. While the Midway was in port undergoing modernization, Murphy received personnel launcher training in San Diego. Once aboard the Midway, he was responsible for ship-to-ship transfers of supplies and munitions. Murphy served two combat tours in the Tonkin Gulf in North Vietnam. Fighter jets flew missions off the Midway into Northern Vietnam while Murphy was aboard the ship. He sustained an injury to his knee and was sent to the Oakland Naval Hospital where he spent four months rehabbing. Murphy was discharged from active duty in 1973 and transferred to Naval Reserve, where he served until 1975. He received several honors for his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Combat Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. ?? Each month the CN recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which the tribe holds veterans. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a CN citizen, call 918-772-4166.
08/26/2016 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Lauryn Skye McCoy, 15, was crowned the 2016-17 Junior Miss Cherokee during the 25th annual competition on Aug. 20 at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center. During her reign, she will be a goodwill ambassador for the tribe and will promote the government, language, history and traditions of the Cherokee people. McCoy said winning this title means she gets “to carry on the traditions of the past winners.” “I also hope to spread awareness about who we are and what we do as a tribe, as well as my platform,” she said. McCoy competed against five other girls in three categories: cultural presentation, impromptu question and a speech on their platform. For each respective category, McCoy demonstrated how to make traditional shell shackles for stomp dancing, answered why she thought the Cherokee society has always held women in high esteem and gave a speech on the importance of building self-confidence in Native youth. McCoy, who is a freshman at Muldrow High School, previously served as the 10-to-12-year-old 2014-15 Little Cherokee Ambassador. Natalie Gibson, 16, of Miami, Oklahoma, was named first runner-up and Danya Pigeon, 17, of Hulbert, was named second runner-up. The Miss Cherokee competition is set for 6 p.m. on Aug. 27 at Cornerstone Church in Tahlequah.
Staff Writer
08/19/2016 08:15 AM
DURANT, Okla. – Ever since he was 2 years old, Cherokee Nation citizen Wyatt Rogers, of Rose, knew he wanted to be a bull rider. He grew up watching his dad, Dusty Rogers, compete in rodeos as a steer wrestler and team roper. But bull riding was Wyatt’s favorite. He said he “always found it more entertaining” than any other event. His mom, Christine Rogers, said she took Wyatt to a rodeo when he was 3 and he took part in mutton busting (sheep riding), and he was hooked ever since. After riding sheep, Wyatt moved up to calves and rode his first bull at age 13. He competed in rodeos through a junior rodeo series and was able to hone his skills. Wyatt, a 2015 graduate of Locust Grove High School, was also a member of the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association. It was there he caught the attention of college rodeo scouts. “I was fortunate enough to get some offers and just chose what school I thought would be best for me,” Wyatt said about attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University. As a freshman at SOSU, Wyatt made it to the national level in June at the 2016 College National Finals Rodeo. He was also selected as one of three SOSU students to receive Athlete of the Year. He is the second rodeo athlete to receive the honor since 2009 and the second rodeo athlete to make it to the national level. “I was kind of shocked that it was me,” he said. “I mean, I did good in the national ranking in rodeo, but I just never thought that I would win that (honor) at my school.” Not only is Wyatt a success in college rodeos, but in professional rodeos, too. Tuff Hedeman, a retired professional bull rider, called Wyatt when he was a high school senior and asked him to join the Championship Bull Riding tour. He competed in first professional rodeo in October 2014 and won big. “When I went to that event in Mercedes, Texas, I was the only guy to go three-for-three, and I won a little over $42,000,” Wyatt said. Though he got a late start in his first season, he completed his first full season with the CBR in July at the world finals in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He rode two out of four bulls and finished ranked eighth in the world. Wyatt said he gets the inspiration from his father, who died in May 2014. “I continue to rodeo just to honor him,” Wyatt said. “I just know he would want me to do my best, and he always pushed me to do my best, and I just rodeo for him.” He said he also gets full support from his mom in his rodeo endeavors. “There are some out there that will make a name for themselves, be it a name that people will remember,” said Christine. “I guess that’s something that I would like to see Wyatt be, somebody that leaves a mark on the world.” Wyatt said his goal in bull riding is to be called a world champion at the annual competition in Cheyenne. “Man, it’s just great knowing my dad competed there,” Wyatt said. “And you get to go to that legendary rodeo and compete on the same floor as every legend that’s been there (in rodeo, such as) Lane Frost, Tuff Hedeman. All the big names in rodeo have been there at one time, and it’s just an honor to know that you get to stand on the same ground as them.”
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
08/18/2016 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After becoming interested in high school, Cherokee Nation citizen Cohle Fowler recently started competing in “full contact medieval combat,” which is known as “Buhurt” in Europe. Fowler likens the combat style to fully armored mixed martial arts. “There are a lot of ways you can describe it, but I usually tend to call it full contact medieval combat or steel combat,” he said. “In Europe it’s called Buhurt. Basically it’s kind of like armored MMA.” He said the armor and weapons are researched to ensure they reflect a “distinct period of time.” “There are a lot of groups that do role-playing or reenactments, and this is reenactment in the sense of the clothing, and the armor is all kind of researched and made sure that it comes from a distinct period of time,” he said. “So they try to be historically accurate, but it’s actually a full sport on top of that, too.” Fowler said this is his first year to compete, but his interest arose in 2008 while at Verdigris High School. “I had a friend who participated in a game that gets played in Tulsa called MELEE (Martial Enactment League Enabling Expression). It’s kind of like LARP, live action role-playing, but it’s not really focusing on kind of the imaginary side of it. It’s a little more physical than just like a soft touch game that a lot of people think of,” he said. “That kind of got me into fighting with shields and swords and learning about that and just kind of being interested in medieval things.” He said when he was in college he decided to delve deeper into the sport, getting him to where he is today. “Then in college I saw that there were like real fights happening with metal weapons and steel armor, and I was a football player so I knew I had some potential for it and I could possibly get into it. So basically just like seeing it happening I decided I wanted to do it,” he said. Fowler said this year he’s competed in two tournaments, the first in Auburn, California, and the second at the Castle of Montemor-o-Velho in Portugal. “The first one I did was in Auburn, California, earlier this year and that was the National Western Conference Championship. There are two national tournaments in the U.S. a year, and that’s part of the ACL (Armored Combat League), which is kind of like the American medieval combat league,” he said. “From that league we kind of pull talent together to create the USA Knights, which go and fight internationally. So the second tournament I fought in was the IMCF (International Medieval Combat Federation) World Championship.” He said while competing in Portugal he fought in five-man and 16-man team events. “In the multi-manned teams, those events are what they call melees, and so you’re basically fighting until everyone on the other team goes to the ground,” he said. “The rule is three points of contact, so it’s kind of similar to how tackling works in football. Once they’re down then they’re out of the match. It can be a lot more brutal because a lot of times people are getting beaten down.” Fowler said his team won the 16-man team championship and took second in the five-man team event. “The five-man pool is smaller. It’s kind of like the all-star teams for each country. I qualified for that in California and kind of made the team for the five-man,” he said. “I was really, really excited about that because once I kind of found out about this sport I started following certain fighters, and now I’m like on the same roster and fighting alongside a lot of these guys that I kind of idolized for awhile.” Fowler said he believes the sport will eventually catch on in America. “It’s as close to real tournament combat as you can get. Nobody’s going to get killed out there, but everybody’s in real danger of injury. It’s the closet thing you can get to seeing like a real medieval battle,” he said. He added that he recently started a team in Tulsa and is looking for people to join. For more information, email <strong>Armor, Weapon and Shield</strong> Helmet: Klappvisor Bascinet or Bassinet – a long and narrow faceplate Shoulders: Spaulders – solid steel plates that cover the shoulders Elbows: Elbow cop – to protect the elbows Knees: Articulate knee – to protect the knees Arms: Splinted rembrace armor – worn on upper arm, Splinted vambrace – worn on lower arm Legs: Splinted cuisses - worn on upper leg, Gated greaves – worn on lower leg Torso: Corrozina – a plate of coats Hands: Clamshell gauntlets – to cover the hands Weapon: Flanged mace – a steel bar that’s like a hammer, Blunted steel longsword – used in the 14th/15th centuries Shield: Buckler shield – a small, metal shield used to “punch” people and block Total weight: 80 pounds
Staff Writer
08/17/2016 08:15 AM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Members of the Cherokee County Tri-Community (Welling, Eldon and Briggs) sanctioned horseshoe league represented Oklahoma July 25 through Aug. 6 in the 2016 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Tournament. Cherokee Nation citizens Al Ross and Cale Matlock and United Keetoowah Band citizens Bill Vann and Gary Bearpaw were among the 934 pitchers from other states and countries. Ross said he made it to the world tournament’s championship round for the first time since joining sanctioned horseshoe pitching 12 years ago. He placed sixth in the Class Senior Men A preliminaries. “I’ve pitched in just about every type of tournament there is,” Ross said. “The competition is a lot stiffer in the sanctioned tournaments.” Ross said he also enjoys seeing his grandson, Matlock, who pitched in his third world tournament in the Cadet Division. Matlock went undefeated in the preliminary and championship rounds. This was Matlock’s first world championship as he earned a gold medal, trophy and $300 scholarship. Matlock said his grandfather helps him with practice and advice. “If I’m doing something wrong, he’ll tell me,” Matlock said. Vann, who joined sanctioned horseshoe pitching four years ago, said he first pitched in the NHPA world tournament in 2013. “It was pretty intimidating, going from what I was used to straight to the world’s,” Vann said. This year he pitched in the Open Men Division’s Class A2, winning his first class championship in the preliminary round. “(It was) kind of strange what happened.” Vann said. “My second or third game…I realized I could play with these guys and everything just fell together.” Vann won a trophy, $500 and eligibility to move up to the championship round for the first time. “I didn’t want to leave the championship class without…winning or a zero by my name,” Vann said. He placed ninth and won another $350. Vann said a highlight for him was when the No.1 pitcher in the world, Alan Francis, took his photo at the trophy presentation. Vann said he “thought that was pretty good,” but that his ultimate goal is to beat Francis. Like Vann, Bearpaw also made it to the championship round after placing fourth in Class A1. Bearpaw joined sanctioned horseshoe pitching four years ago and qualified for the championship round in every world tournament he has pitched in so far. This year, however, he pitched well enough to be officially rank as the No. 2 pitcher in the world. He also took home $2,275 in prize money. “I surprised myself I made it that far,” Bearpaw said. In the championship round’s opening game, he pitched a 95 percent ringer average. “I was just concentrating on my ringers,” Bearpaw said. “I didn’t know it was that close to being a perfect game. I was wondering why everyone started clapping when we got done, then I looked at how many ringers I had.” Bearpaw said he is ready for next year’s tournament, with the hope of breaking Francis’ 21-time world champion winning streak. “I would like to be world champion…at least one time,” Bearpaw said.