The go-getting, highflying, powerhouse group known as Leadership Rogers County 2019 (LRC’19), spent their March session exploring a slice of the Media and Tourism realm within Claremore and Rogers County. The LRC’19 group—an assemblage of positive thinkers, networkers, and pathfinders—had the opportunity to crawl inside the brains and tunnel beneath the façade (literally) of establishments such as Hard Rock Tulsa, moreClaremore, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, and the Claremore Museum of History.
The day kicked off at downtown’s North Block Common with Barby Myers, CEO/President of the Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce. And while one might presume that the Chamber of Commerce only acts as a voice for area businesses, it is involved with much more! According to Myers, “It’s important to have a balance of being a community partner and doing what needs to be done for business.” Whether it means putting on events such as the Gridiron or partnering up with the city, schools, non-profits, or any aspect of the community, the Chamber is there to be relevant in Claremore. Regarding tourism specifically, some of the factions that the Chamber is involved with include Visit Claremore, Claremore Main Street, and all of Claremore’s exceptional museums.
Next on the agenda was Ashley May to speak about moreClaremore, for whom she serves as Media Director. May gave a brief history of the media outlet’s beginnings, which involved Amy Gordon, owner and founder of moreClaremore, “wanting to create a place, like a website, where everyone in town could find out everything going on in town,” said May. Enter Gordon’s brother and cofounder, Robert Melton, and the website was born. From the outset, the product of moreClaremore has been pure, relentless optimism. “We always say, be great, be helpful, and everything we do is positive,” said May. A source for news, a comprehensive community calendar, a business directory, and much more, moreClaremore’s success has spawned groups and events such as the Claremore Collective and the West Bend Block Party.
Once warm and dry within the confines of North Block Common, LRC’19 then journeyed through drizzly rain a few blocks east to the former Will Rogers Library building that now houses the Claremore Museum of History (MoH). Upon the first step inside the group was greeted by a booming, “Hello there!” from a beaming Andy Couch, Executive Director/Curator of the museum. Couch, who is also an LRC’19 member, immediately tasked everyone with a scavenger hunt for facts, which turned out to be one of his crafty ploys designed to make his fellow LRC’19 members experience various exhibits of the museum. With a relatively small footprint that sees 4000-5000 visitors per year, the MoH packs a punch. It preserves the history—including original artifacts—from some of Claremore’s greatest such as, Lynn Riggs, Patti Page, Stuart Roosa, and now Andy Payne! Like a prideful father, Couch boasted, “The Claremore Museum of History is Oklahoma’s greatest secret!”
A quick trip back across town led the LRC’19 gang to the famous Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Joined by Executive Director, Tad Jones, and Will Rogers impersonator, Andy Hogan. The world-class memorial museum is the ultimate tribute to Will, the Great American Cowboy Philosopher. While one can spend days/weeks touring the place, the LRC’19 trip was rather brisk, but not without a major highlight: a trip into the mausoleum! Carefully, the group made its way down the steps into the underground tomb where Will, his wife, Betty, and three of their four children are interred. Some members also got a sneak peek into a backroom vault, which contained some of Will’s personal items including the overnight bag that he had with him on his final flight in Alaska. The Memorial has been a part of Rogers County for over 80 years and is, perhaps, the mecca of the flourishing tourism operation in Museum City.
The final trip of the day was to Hard Rock Tulsa. A vast, gleaming hotel/casino featuring nine restaurants, a golf course, a major concert venue, and much more—one would likely be hiding under a rock if he/she didn’t know about this place. Led by a very knowledgeable Sr. Sales Manager, Marke Burroughs, the LRC’19 bunch toured the sprawling casino, including the newest wing that includes the Track 5 dance hall that is part of a 65,000-square-foot expansion. Burroughs ended the tour with a lengthy Q&A in one of their luxurious hotel rooms. Once the group was sufficiently informed, Hard Rock Tulsa provided a delicious lunch for all.
Leadership Rogers County is a program designed to develop talent and broaden perspectives. Whether you are a present or future community leader, want to build your networking circle, or just have fun learning about your city, the LRC program provides you with practical information concerning community problems and issues. Apply today at www.leadershiprogerscounty.org.
For more information about the locations visited, check out the following websites:
- Will Rogers Memorial Museum: www.willrogers.com
- Claremore Museum of History: claremoreMoH.org
- Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce: claremore.org
- Hard Rock Tulsa: https://www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com/