POSTED ON MARCH 25, 2009:
Correspondent brushes up on his moves for a night of line dancing and two steppin'
On St. Patrick's Day, maybe you selected a block party or a concert. Maybe you merely visited your local pub for some green beer, or, better yet, drank a Guinness on your porch. As you read this, think back to your better decisions from last week. It was a fun night, right?
For me, St. Patrick's Day was spent with a crowd not usually associated with the Irish or Saint Patrick. I chose Caravan Cattle Company, 7941 E. 41st St. It may not have been the sensible, hip, or even popular choice, but it was mine; and I wanted to dance with cowboys and cowgirls.
Cristi, the girlfriend, was taking in the aforementioned concert with Sir Elton John and Billy Joel. While the cat's away, well, the mice will boot scoot while adorning a cowboy hat and oversized belt buckle. Yee-haw!
For my friends, when they hear me say, "Dude, square dancin' is fun as hell," or, "Of course, I've line danced," they think I'm joking. Now why would I do that?
In all seriousness, both are an enjoyable form of dance. They may not be as prestigious as ballet or as sexy as the tango, but neither claim to be. They're also no less entertaining for either participant or observer, in my opinion.
While you won't find square dancing at Caravan, you will find plenty of line-dancin', two-steppin' and even a little hip-hop, if you stay late.
Dose of Reality
Okay. So, I typically research my stories well before I write them. I do my homework a little better for some than others. For this column, I thought I'd return to Caravan Cattle Company to refresh my memory prior to writing. Based on my first experience, on a Saturday evening in January of this year, I assumed the bar kept regular hours, or was at least open for major holidays that encourage large amounts of drinking. I was wrong.
Not only was the club closed on St. Patrick's Day, but it was also closed on the Monday before St. Patrick's Day. I know from experience, which is hard for me to admit. A decent memory, a two-minute phone call or a simple question posed to a friend would have saved me both a Monday and a Tuesday drive to the club.
"Sure they're closed on Mondays. That's not surprising, but they'll be open tomorrow. It's St. Patrick's Day! People want to dance," I told Cristi on Monday in the empty parking lot. Not the case.
Looking on the bright side, at least I got to dust off my cowboy shirt. That's what I get for making more than one assumption. I'm just glad I didn't go on Sunday, too.
Caravan Cattle Company is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday and Friday are always ladies' nights. On Thursdays, women drink (beer) free from 8pm-11pm. Also, on Friday nights from 10pm-1am the beer flows freely for the ladies. Caravan charges a $4 cover on Fridays between 8-10pm and all night Saturday.
Because you most likely aren't interested in driving down to 41st and Memorial at random times of the week like me, I'm happy to share the club's hours with you. The boots hit the floor at 8pm on Thursday and Saturday. On Friday nights, Caravan has free dance lessons from 7:45 until 8:30 (doors open at 7:30, and if you make it before 8pm you'll pay no cover charge).
The dance floor is one of the largest I've seen in Tulsa and features dances varying from the "Electric Slide" to the "Boot Scootin' Boogie." I thought I'd just repeat some of my "Mambo Number No. 5" moves in the back when I was there last, but that proved difficult. This was mainly because I am not a seasoned line dancer. That, and the deejay refused to fulfill my desire to hear Lou Bega's song on repeat. I really could have mastered that dance with three hours worth of practice!
For the cowboys who are more concerned with sporting events, there are several big screen televisions littered throughout the bar to keep ya'll updated on football scores, March Madness or Wimbledon. (Okay, maybe not Wimbledon.)
The three bars inside keep the swarms of dancers well hydrated and their confidence growing as the night continues. I can relate. It doesn't matter if you don't know the "Cha-Cha Slide" if you're hearing Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5."
In addition to cutting a rug yourself, there is also a fair chance you will observe some masterful dancing, whether it be a skilled line-dancer or an experienced two-steppin' couple. I delight in gazing at a pair of swinging, gliding bodies in unison. There were many.
The highlight of Caravan is that no matter your skill level, you'll have an opportunity to dance. Just so long as you don't bump into or knock over other dancers. Be especially watchful of larger types who look like they would enjoy a fight, because they just might.
If you're going to Caravan for the boot scootin', and that's all, be sure you don't leave with a black eye. It should be easy enough. I didn't see any future black eyes on my visit, but they do occur.
Caravan Cattle Company is a change of pace for some and commonplace for others, but either way you'll be encouraged to grab a beer and display your moves, or lack thereof. Be prepared to dance on Thursday through Saturday, and remember they're closed on Monday and Tuesday nights (as well as Sunday and Wednesday).
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