From the View photo blog: P-Town Thunder Alley: Another piece of Oklahoma's history
PAWHUSKA - When Kellie Waddle awoke Monday morning, her Thunder pride wasn't the only thing slightly amiss after the team's Sunday night loss to the Miami Heat.
The trophy her kids brought home from the downtown Pawhuska watch party they've attended throughout the NBA finals was missing from the mantle.
Mysteriously, it was found in the bedroom of her 11-year-old son, J.T.
"It sat on the fireplace for the first night, and then I woke up the next morning and it was in his room," Kellie Waddle said just after she and J.T. arrived at the Game 4 gathering Tuesday evening. "It ventured in there in the night."
The trophy has been just one of the giveaways at Jody Martin's tailgates, which he and his close friend Les Potter host outside Martin's electronics and appliance store, Hometown TV & Appliance, at 612 Kihekah Ave., in Pawhuska. The party has created quite a stir in the area, store employee John Johnson said on Monday.
"It's just kind of grown from two guys watching it," Johnson said. "Then, the very next game, there were well over 150 people. It just exploded, literally, like that overnight. ... So it's just gotten completely out of hand. But it's a good thing."
It all started June 6, when Pawhuska local Ryan Red Corn asked Martin to leave his 92-inch television on in the front window of the store. Red Corn and his friends planned to watch the Thunder's last Western Conference finals game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Later that evening, Martin saw his storefront on Facebook.
"Here's a picture of the front of my store with these people sitting around out front with lawn chairs," Martin said. "It's got between 35 and 40 comments and over 200 likes. And that's when a light bulb went off in my head that this was something big."
For each game of the NBA finals, Martin and Potter have hosted the block party. They grill hot dogs, and spectators bring lawn chairs, cakes, potato salad, baked beans and the like.
"We've always done a lot of cooking, like at our church, so it just was natural that, 'Let's cook some stuff,'" Martin said. "That's kind of the way we are here in Pawhuska. If you're going to do something, you've got to have food."
Martin and Potter advertise the event by word of mouth and on their Facebook pages. They also have a Facebook event called P-Town Thunder Alley and will host the tailgate throughout the series. Martin guessed that 200 people watched Game 1 through the glass and 150 people showed up for Game 2. There was a smaller turnout of about 90 on Sunday for Game 3. Father's Day and other events kept the numbers down that night, he said. The crowd ranged from about 45 to 60 on Tuesday.
At the end of the first three quarters, they've held giveaways donated by local businesspeople. Among the prizes is the trophy, which was provided by a Pawhuska trophy and plaque store.
"We've been giving it away each night to a different person," Martin said. "They have to bring it back for the next night, and then somebody else gets it and takes it. And at the end of the deal, we're going to give it to one person, and they're going to get to keep that trophy."
The trophy recipient isn't exactly random. The honor has gone to Red Corn, to the person running the volume and, on Sunday night, to the Waddle family.
Kellie Waddle's children, J.T., Austin, Kadie and Morgan, have helped clean up every night after the tailgate.
"The community is just amazing," Waddle said. "It's a small town and everyone just kind of supports everyone. ... It's awesome that we can support the Oklahoma City Thunder this way."
Molly Bullock 918-581-8321
Original Print Headline: Storefront support
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