Triple Your Treat

Cities celebrate Oklahoma’s Route 66

Yukon-area residents enjoy an outdoor viewing of the movie “Top Gun: Maverick” and movie concessions during the June 10th “Triple Tour” in Yukon. (Photo provided)

By Richard Stephens Jr.
Contributing Writer

On June 10, Warr Acres, Bethany and Yukon celebrated an important transportation network they share: Having a portion of Route 66.

In an event called the Triple Tour, each town sponsored different events at different times of the day in a way that reflected their character.

“We want to celebrate Route 66 and our rich heritage,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby explained.

Warr Acres (One mile of Route 66)

After rain clouds left, bright sunshine encouraged 750 attendees to enjoy 26 classic cars in the car show, peruse merchandise from 10 vendors, sit in the cab of a fire truck, and eat a free hot dog courtesy of the town.

Planners scheduled events from 9 a.m. to noon at the corner of 38th Expressway (Route 66) and Ann Arbor Avenue.

Mayor Roger Godwin was glad his town participated in the second Triple Tour.

“I want to give Warr Acres an identify,” he said. “It’s another way to remind people we are a city all to our own.”

Dale Woolever and Gracie Burley, vice president and event coordinator of 405 Street Elite, respectfully, the car club running the car show, gave 10 trophies and door prizes and held a 50/50 raffle. Half of the raffle proceeds, $103, was donated to City Center of Warr Acres.

City Center’s website says it “…champions youth and families by creating empowered pathways to relief and restoration.”

At 1:30 p.m., the classic cars drove one mile on Route 66 to Bethany.

Bethany (Two miles of Route 66)

Bethany’s city leaders had picked different activities between 12:00– 4:00 p.m.:  a city-wide yard sale, Main Street store sales, including a vinyl record sale (long playing records) at the Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber Office, and views of the tools used on Bethany firetrucks.  Many people buying old records (Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Rolling Stones, etc.) were in their twenties.

With the addition of the Oklahoma City Corvette Car Club, over thirty cars lined up in the driveway of Bethany Children’s Health Center. The Route 66 Cruisers gave trophies to the top six vehicles.

Then, many car owners drove to locations in town and picked up playing cards in a Poker Run. Tracy Eubanks held the winning poker hand and took home $186.

The other recipient was the Bethany Children’s Health Center.

City Manager Elizabeth Gray said it is “a crown jewel of the United States of America to children needing rehabilitation services of all kinds.”

Bindi Morrill shows off her piggy face paint in front of the big screen at Yukon’s part of the Route 66 “Triple Tour” on Saturday night, June 10 at Fourth and Main. Other activities included a car show in Warr Acres and sidewalk sales and car cruise in Bethany. (Photo provided)

Yukon (Four miles of Route 66)

At 4:15 p.m., 20 cars cruised to Yukon on Route 66 for the day’s final activities.

Michael Wallis’ words about Yukon in his book, “Route 66: The Mother Road” are still true: “…big white grain elevators let travelers know that the highway town of Yukon is coming up….”

Because Yukon’s activities started at 7 p.m., car owners and residents took a break from the day’s heat and ate at local restaurants like Vladislava’s Czech Bakery or drank a beer at Grady’s 66 Pub.

When families arrived on the lawn near the intersection of Route 66 and 4th Street, a plethora of activities awaited them.  Adults played cornhole, teenagers flew airplanes using two flight simulators, and children had their faces or frisbees painted or painted race cars and jets themselves.

Yukon was the final stop to get a Triple Tour Passport stamp, a new item that Jason Beal, Yukon’s assistant to the city manager, adapted from Oklahoma’s Route 66 passport.

Completed Passports made people eligible to receive door prizes from fifteen Yukon merchants.

Mayor Selby estimated 250 people came to Yukon.

Why hold the Triple Tour?

“I think it’s so important to keep Route 66 alive,” Selby said.

Families took pictures of themselves in front of a 10-foot-high picture of a F/A-18 Navy fighter jet. Why a F-18? Why the Top Gun Anthem, mixed in with 60s to 80s music for attendees?

“Top Gun: Maverick” movie, of course, starring Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, and Van Kilmer.

While 60 people relaxed on chairs and watched it outdoors, kids threw their painted jets up in the air, copying Captain Maverick.

Three towns, each linked by Route 66, celebrated their heritage in different ways for their residents during one daylong Triple Tour.

Richard Stephens Jr. is a journalist and member of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

A family poses in front of a photo of a Navy F-18 fighter jet during the June 10th “Triple Tour” in Yukon, which hosted an outdoor showing of the movie “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Photo provided)