Shock and Awe. The Tulsa Shock tips off its second WNBA season with a road game at San Antonio on June 4, 2011, then heads to Minnesota on June 7 before opening the home portion of its schedule on June 10 against San Antonio at 7pm at the BOK Center.
The Shock, led by coach Nolan Richardson, will play 17 home games this season. The most notable of those contests will be a June 21 game against the Seattle Storm, the defending league champion; a June 23 meeting with the New York Liberty; a July 8 clash with the Phoenix Mercury, featuring Diana Taurasi, the WNBA scoring champion last season; a July 15 game against the Los Angeles Sparks, featuring superstar Candace Parker and former Oklahoma State University star Andrea Riley; and a July 26 contest against the Atlanta Dream, the defending Eastern Conference champion.
Tulsa will make its only scheduled appearance of the season on ESPN2 on June 14 when the Shock visits Indiana. Tulsa finished last in the Western Conference last season with a 6-28 record but owns the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft this spring.
The WNBA regular season runs from June 3 through Sept. 11.
Red Dirt and the Right Path. Nearly 1,000 people turned out to support a worthy cause and enjoy a venerable Tulsa holiday tradition on Dec. 18 as the 15th annual Red Dirt Christmas Show was performed at Cain's Ballroom.
The lineup for the event featured the Red Dirt Rangers, the show's founders, as well as Stoney Larue, the Turnpike Troubadours, Jesse Aycock, Travis Linville, John Russell Fullbright and Monica Taylor.
"There was a lot of love in the room. Let me say that," said John Cooper of the Rangers. "The vibe was incredible. It's fun to get up and play with our friends, entertain and do something good for a great charity."
The beneficiary of this year's event was the Right Path Riding Academy of Drumright, which will receive a portion of the proceeds raised. The academy provide therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving for special needs children and adults in northeast and central Oklahoma. With the motto "Horses that heal and hearts that care," the academy has been impacting families and helping kids since 1996.
A charity has been chosen to benefit each year since the Red Dirt Christmas Show was established. Previous recipients have included Mandi's Ministries and the John 3:16 mission.
"We decided the first year that it's very important to donate to a charity," Cooper said. "We've always leaned toward children's charities because we feel -- especially during this time of year -- it's important to put our focus on children."
The event concluded with 17 musicians gathering on stage for a grand-finale rendition of Bob Wills' "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and The Band's "The Weight."
"Singing a Bob Wills song helps all of us remember where we are and who did it before us," Cooper said. "And Bob Childers (the late Stillwater songwriter who influenced so many Red Dirt artists) loved to lead the crowd and close every Red Dirt Christmas Show with 'The Weight' before he died.
Bob was a great songwriter and a great human being. He had always been a big supporter of the show. His spirit was in the air all night."
Losin' It. The owner of a local fitness business is challenging Tulsans to reclaim their bodies and help raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society by exercising 30 minutes a day for 30 days with instruction, support and personal training from his team of fitness experts.
Michael Watkins, owner of Fitness Together, is accepting up to 25 local men and women into his www.Tulsa30DayChallenge.com beginning Jan. 2, 2011. One of those people will be chosen to receive the "Best Transformation" Award at the end of the contest and receive a $500 prize. The winner may choose to have the $500 donated to the local Multiple Sclerosis chapter.
The cost of registering is $397, with $39.70 from that total donated to the local MS Society chapter in the name of the participant.
"This is a way for us to give back to the community," Watkins said. "Not only can we help a lot of men and women get their bodies back, but we can raise money for a worthy local cause. It's a winner any way you look at it."
Each participant will be given a thorough fitness assessment, a personalized exercise and nutrition program, 12 styles of personal training sessions, unlimited access to the Fitness Together team for questions and unlimited access to the facility's cardiovascular equipment. At the end of the 30 days, all participants will be assessed again, and a winner will be chosen.
More information about the challenge is available at Tulsa30DayChallenge.com.
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