Hannity fans converge on Tulsa
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Saturday, August 21, 2010
8/21/10 at 9:25 AM
Charles and Sharon Webster drove 6½ hours from Palmyra in northeast Missouri for Friday night's Sean Hannity Freedom Concert at the BOK Center. The tickets were Charles' gift from Sharon last Christmas.
Friday also was their anniversary.
The Websters came mostly to see Hannity, Charles Webster said, "and to support the whole Freedom Concert cause."
But as an added bonus, they arrived early enough to wait in line 45 minutes for Oliver North to autograph a copy of his book "American Heroes."
"He's a great man," said Charles Webster. "He's great because of his service to the country through the years."
North's involvement in illegally assisting Nicaraguan rebels during the Reagan administration, Webster said, mattered not one iota to him.
North more or less created the "cause" the Websters mentioned. Twenty years ago he started the Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping former service members and their families. Although Hannity headlines and emcees the concerts, they benefit the organization North established.
But Hannity is clearly the lead attraction.
Mike and Margaret Snow came from their home south of Ramona because "we like Sean Hannity - that and freedom," Mike Snow said.
"We like the way he handles himself on the radio."
They Snows don't see Hannity's highly rated television show much. "We live in the country and don't have cable," Mike Snow explained.
So they listen to radio.
"We listen to Mark Levin some, too, and of course Rush Limbaugh," he said.
"But we don't agree with everything they all say," interjected Margaret Snow.
Part Republican political rally, part concert, the musical acts - Charlie Daniels, Michael W. Smith and Lynyrd Skynyrd - cater to a certain demographic. But it would be a mistake to think all the 7,500 people at Friday's performance necessarily fit it.
The audience included former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer - a supporter of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jari Askins - and one of his old football stars, former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla.
It also included doctors and oilmen and a scattering of officeholders, including County Commissioner John Smaligo, state Rep. David Derby of Owasso and County Assessor Ken Yazel, all Republicans.
Watts engaged in a football-throwing contest with Hannity. Switzer gave a halftime speech.
"We're all here because we love who we are and we love what we are," Switzer shouted. "And we're willing to fight for it."
Earlier, sitting outside the arena, Mike Snow said more or less the same thing.
"We're just old-fashioned country people trying to hold on to what we have," he said. "We were raised up in the '50s. Things have changed.
"I used to wonder what people meant when they talked about the good old days. Now I know."
Original Print Headline: Hannity show lures fans
Randy Krehbiel 581-8365
Sean Hannity (top) performs with the Charlie Daniels Band at the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert at Tulsa's BOK Center on Friday night. KEVIN PYLE/for the Tulsa World
People keep workers busy as they buy Sean Hannity Freedom Concert memorabilia at the BOK Center on Friday. KEVIN PYLE/for the Tulsa World
The Charlie Daniels Band opens the 2010 Sean Hannity Freedom Concert at the BOK Center on Friday night. KEVIN PYLE/for the Tulsa World
Mike and Margaret Snow came from Ramona to attend the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert at the BOK Center on Friday night. KEVIN PYLE/for the Tulsa World