Country music superstar Carrie Underwood and “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond were among a group of seven Oklahomans inducted into the state Hall of Fame on Thursday evening.

The sold-out ceremony for the 91st Oklahoma Hall of Fame induction class was held at the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center in Tulsa.

Underwood, fresh off co-hosting the CMA Awards on Wednesday in Nashville — where she won her fifth Female Vocalist of the Year honor — was back in her home state Thursday to accept the Hall of Fame nod.

“I’m honored to be here with these great, amazing Oklahomans and celebrating a big part of what makes us us,” Underwood said.

“I have been so blessed. But my biggest blessing and one of the things I’m most proud of is something I had nothing to do with — being born in Oklahoma.”

Drummond, of Pawhuska, said she didn’t feel like she was worthy of Hall of Fame induction yet.

“Maybe in about 30 years,” she laughed.

She added, “I’m very honored to be here with so many people who love our state like I do.”

“Oklahoma awakened a creative spirit I never knew I had,” Drummond said. “Oklahoma gives me strength. And, God willing and the creek don’t rise, it will be my home forever.”

The honorees, who were announced in May, also include Tulsan Jon Stuart, a businessman, philanthropist and royal Norwegian consul for Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Stuart comes from a family of Hall of Fame inductees, including his grandfather, W.G. Skelly, and father, Harold Stuart.

Inducted posthumously was Charlie Christian, the late Oklahoma City native who revolutionized the electric guitar as a solo instrument in jazz music.

Rounding out the 2018 class were Enid businessman and philanthropist Paul Allen; Waukomis native Mo Anderson, first CEO and co-owner of Keller Williams Realty International; and BancFirst CEO David Rainbolt of Oklahoma City.

Underwood, who is pregnant with her second child with husband Mike Fisher, arrived on her tour bus shortly before the event but said the quick trip didn’t bother her.

Coming straight from the hubbub of the CMAs, “this is pretty relaxed and among friends. … It’s all good,” she said before the ceremony began.

Underwood, a Checotah native, was introduced by fellow Oklahoma-born country artist Bryan White.

“Oklahoma’s been a springboard for kids like us to go and achieve our dreams,” White said. “I think the theme of Carrie’s life and career has been ‘nothing is impossible.’ She’s such an inspiration to so many young girls.”

Drummond, whose “Pioneer Woman” cooking blog inspired a Food Network TV series, multiple bestselling cookbooks and other enterprises, was introduced by her husband, rancher Ladd Drummond.

“I’m so proud to introduce a great Oklahoman, but mostly, as I know her, a great partner, incredible wife and mother, and a pretty darn good cook,” he said.

The death of country music icon and Tulsan Roy Clark, announced earlier in the day, was acknowledged at the event. Clark was a 1982 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee.

Before the ceremony, Underwood was asked about Clark’s impact.

“He was such a sweet man,” said Underwood, who said she got to work with him on the 50th CMA Awards a couple of years ago.

“I never met anybody that did not have amazing things to say about him. He and people like him are the reason I get to do what I get to do. I definitely owe him so much. The world has lost a light.”

Past inductees Becky Dixon and Jane Jayroe Gamble served as emcees at the event, last held in Tulsa in 2015.

This year’s group joined 691 other Oklahomans who have been inducted since the Hall of Fame began in 1928.

The Oklahoma Hall of Fame is housed at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum in Oklahoma City.

The ceremony, which aired live on Facebook, was taped for broadcast on OETA at 9 a.m. Nov. 25, 1 p.m. Nov. 26 and 7 p.m. Nov. 29.

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Tim Stanley


Twitter: @timstanleyTW

Staff Writer

Stanley is a general assignment reporter and the writer behind the award-winning "World War II Veterans Remember" series & book. 918-581-8385

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