Kinzer creates hub for fishing community near Chelsea
Cherokee Nation citizen Dean Kinzer, owner and operator of Winganon Café and Bait, stands near a sign on the front of his store in Chelsea. The store acts as a home base for community fishermen and residents throughout the year. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen Dean Kinzer stands in the parking lot in front of his store, Winganon Café and Bait, located 8 miles northwest of Chelsea on Oologah Lake. Kinzer has been the owner and operator since 2011. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
CHELSEA – Cherokee Nation citizen Dean Kinzer has spent the past seven years creating a hub for community fishermen and residents with his store Winganon Café and Bait.
The store, located 8 miles northwest of Chelsea on Oologah Lake, hosts several fishing tournaments annually, he said.
“We got headquarters right here in the middle of the lake, so clubs can have tournaments here and there will be 20 boats, trailers and trucks all around my store. By us being central right on the lake it makes it real convenient. They can go about a mile and a half three different directions and be on the lake,” Kinzer said.
After buying the store in 2011 and remodeling what was once an old metal building, Kinzer realized he could host fishing tournaments with his store as a home base.
“It satisfies a need. A lot of people want to do something in a fishing contest or club, etc. It gives them a home base. It’s something to look forward to, and it satisfies the need for the fishermen to just have fun,” he said.
Once an avid fisherman, Kinzer removed himself from participating in the tournaments to help with weigh-ins and other necessary tournament components.
Kinzer said it is “fun” to watch the different clubs come in and participate in the tournaments.
Aside from fishing tournaments, Kinzer’s store also offers a variety of services. Aside from selling tackle and bait, the store serves as a local café where people can enjoy breakfast, cold and hot sandwiches, smoked barbecue and deli meats, as wellas purchase grocery items.
Adjacent to the store is full-hookup recreation vehicle park with 11 spaces and a small storage unit.
“We remodeled one of the old marina shops into a mini-storage, and we built an RV park that has 11 spots and they’re full all the time. It’s giving people places to actually live, the RV park has,” he said.
Kinzer said the name Winganon comes from Cherokee and Delaware tribal history. He said in the 19th century, the Delaware Tribe relocated from what is now Kansas City to Indian Territory in Oklahoma under an 1866 treaty between the Delaware and federal government. That same year the CN signed a treaty with the United States to sell land for the Delaware. The name Winganon means “look forward” in the Delaware language, he said.
Winganon Café and Bait is at 4002 S. 4180 Road. Store hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the fall and winter and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the spring and summer. It’s open 7 days a week. For more information, call 918-789-2025.