Delegating Denver #40 of 56: Oklahoma

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Total Number of Delegates: 48 Pledged: 38 Unpledged: 10

How to Recognize an Oklahoma Delegate: Ninety-eight percent of Oklahoma's religious adherents claim to be Christian, and the vast majority of these residents identify as Evangelical Protestants. This puts Oklahoma securely in the Bible Belt. But despite the state's culture and politics being heavenly influenced by Jesus, Oral Roberts University and Billy James Hargis Ministries, Oklahoma can't claim to be the "Buckle" of the Bible Belt; it’s more like the other end of the belt, the one with all the holes. No, Sooners aren't hypocrites; they’re big believers. However, they see right through the passages of famine and plague and believe that heaven on Earth can only be had through a lifelong practice of doing good deeds, laughing and listening to high-grade rock and roll. Oklahomans are famous the world over for their love of music and good times, and their ability to show the rest of America that one is indeed the other. Oklahomans in Denver will be the delegates who shine with goodness and smile while they dance. Females will be attractive and comfortably dressed in light-blue and tan loose-fitting fashions. They are not the least bit lazy, but prefer to shout from where they're sitting rather than get up to engage in small talk. Male Sooners all dress in cords or ironed blue jeans (typically Levi's) topped with T-shirts that they picked up while traveling around the country following jam bands.

Famous Oklahomans: Humorist Will Rogers; cartoonist and Pee-wee's Playhouse set designer Gary Panter; comedians Ron Howard, Blake Edwards, Tony Randall, Gary Busey, Rue McClanahan, Dan Rowan, Megan Mullally, Mary Kay Place and Bill Hader; laughable (Dr.) Phil McGraw and Chuck Norris; grandfatherly gasbag Paul Harvey; Pussy Patrol leader Jesse Jane; wisdom-seeker Bill Moyers; celebrity spouse Brad Pitt; musicians Woody Guthrie, Wanda Jackson, Chet Baker, Patti Page, Leon Russell, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Toby Keith; rock bands the Gap Band, Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips, the All-American Rejects and Starlight Mints.

Famous Oklahoma Democrats: First U.S. female United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick (until 1985, when her infatuation with Ronald Reagan led her into the arms of the G.O.P.); United States senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan; 21st governor and former United States senator David Boren; current United States senator (and son of David) Dan Boren.

Famous Oklahomans With Denver Connections: Renowned Colorado Springs photographer Myron Wood; unremarkable Colorado Springs representative Joel Hefley; 10th Circuit Judge Robert H. Henry; Native American bank CEO J.D. Colbert; architect Carol Coover-Clark; Denver Post reporter Miles Moffeit; ListenUp director of marketing Phil Murray; design diva Kat Allen; dentist to the (regional) stars Steven K. Zervas.

State Nickname: The Sooner State, Boomer Paradise, Oklahoma is OK (official); Okrahoma, Jokelahoma, Mobilehoma, Yokelhoma (unofficial). Population: 3,579,212 Racial Distribution: 75% white, 8% black, 8% Native American, 2% Asian, 7% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $27,212 Unemployment: 5.4%


Most Oklahoman Denver Neighborhood: City Park West

Most Oklahoman Bar: The Falcon 3295 South Broadway Englewood, Colorado The perfect combination of Grandma's hobbies, a love of rock and roll and faith in a higher power (Star Wars) makes this the perfect Oklahoman hangout.

Most Oklahoman Restaurant: Caldonia's Bar-B-Que 2252 South Parker Road The Denver repository of every Okie's favorite foods, from slow-smoked hickory ribs to chicken-fried chicken and chicken-fried steak.

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Best Day Trip: Will Rogers Shrine at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Oklahoma looks like a grandma smells. That hint of rose petals and toast masking dust and decay, it's the olfactory equivalent of a state where the best days are spent trying to remember the glorious past. Even the best-known Oklahoma corporations, Hobby Lobby and Sonic Drive-In, are modern re-creations of idealized memories. And it's no wonder Oklahomans are so sentimental: For the first half of last century, Oklahoma was the most celebrated state in America, largely due to the popularity of native-son Will Rogers. Rogers, of Cherokee heritage, dreamed of being a cowboy, but ended up a star in the Ziegfeld Follies doing lariat tricks while delivering his own brand of cutting yet compassionate Oklahoma-style satire. Eventually he starred in over 57 films and wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns. He brought such joy to the American people that he is still honored in place names across the country. Oklahoma delegates will get a real hoot out of his Colorado tribute. From the delegate hotel, get on Interstate 25 and drive south to Colorado Springs. Get off the highway at exit 140 and follow the signs to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. The shrine was built in 1935 to house the remains of a local philanthropist, but when Spencer Penrose heard that his friend Will Rogers had been killed in a plane crash outside of Barrow, Alaska, he renamed his own tomb in his friend's honor. Will Rogers is not buried here. The structure overlooks the Penrose landmarks of the red-roofed Broadmoor Hotel and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It is open daily, and admission is included in the purchase of a ticket to the zoo. On the inside are murals depicting regional history, a three-floor photographic tribute to Will and a chapel containing the ashes of Penrose and his wife amid musty Old World treasures. It's an odd mix of funny and stuffy — sort of like a trip to grandma's house, only with more giraffes. — Kenny Be

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