At age 13, a few years after relocating to the United States from her native Australia, Cheryl West unearthed a passion for horseback riding. Since then, she has become accomplished in both the competitive and educational arenas, including snagging a master certification in equestrian instruction, operating a program for special-needs riders, and ghostwriting a memoir for Mister Ed. At West Equestrian Ranch, Cheryl and her team of seasoned instructors bestow their expertise upon pupils during camps and group and private lessons. Both are anchored in the philosophy that building a sturdy seat lays the foundation for adept trotting?the lessons gravitate toward English, Western, jumping, dressage, or trail methods, while summer camps fold similar techniques into days of riding, games, and horse care.
Cheryl and her staff also serve the equine community, rescuing one or two horses each year, rebuilding their strength and confidence, and giving them spots on the ranch's competitive team. Meanwhile, they allow kids free rein of a playground and picnic tables, where the stables' gentlest steed whinnies happily as kids finger-paint him with rainbows or complex mathematical equations.
Roller derby has gained a reputation as a tough ladies' sport, but the Tulsa Derby League doesn't discriminate. Founded in 2007, the non-profit league hosts divisions for virtually everyone—men, women, and junior-level boys and girls—to join the fast-paced action, making it one of the largest roller-derby leagues in Oklahoma, just behind wild armadillos' lethal desert rumbles. Throughout the year, the league's teams—including the main men's and women's squads, the All-Stars and Militia, respectively—hurtle around the track during practices and bouts at Skates Roller Skating Entertainment Center in Sand Springs. Since the league operates as part of USA Roller Sports, professional skating coaches helm each squad, leading to a sense of discipline that landed the All-Stars a recent berth in the USARS Roller Derby Championships.
Proclaimed the national home of Oklahoma! by the children of Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1993, the Discoveryland! amphitheater hosts an annual run of the time-tested comedic musical. The national cast of Oklahoma! entreats audiences to song and dance numbers about a small-town community abounding with bidding wars, love yarns, and horse-drawn wagons filled with lost pit orchestra violinists. The show’s full outdoor sets and brightly colored period costumes set the mood for an evening of frontier festivities.
Just west of Tulsa along Keystone Lake lie the grassy hillsides of Keystone State Park. The beautiful premises hosts a variety of popular activities, including fishing, hiking, biking, eagle-watching, and relaxing by a cozy fire. Those with their own watercraft can access the lake via boat ramp, while others can rent a vessel and equipment from Pier 51 Marina, located inside the park. In addition to a floating restaurant within 5 miles of the park, it also has a fuel station and grocery store.
A series of wooden one-bedroom cabins loom on the shores, overlooking the lake and inviting guests to rent them. Each is fully furnished and treats visitors to many of the comforts of home, including a full kitchen and TV with cable.
When the leaves begin to change and the first hints of Halloween fill the air, Sand Springs Pumpkin Patch Festival blooms into a full celebration of all things autumn. Whether parents are looking for photo ops for fall-themed baby pictures or picking up a pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern, the Festival has them covered. But it also has plenty of unexpected surprises: pony rides, a petting zoo, unlimited bouncing on four inflatable jumps, and game tents for all ages.