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The Boston Globe featured an old school travel article about Oklahoma City…

9:34 AM EDT on September 16, 2014

© Boston Globe

©  Boston Globe
© Boston Globe
© Boston Globe

In case you missed it, the Boston Globe featured a travel article about Oklahoma City on Sunday. The guest piece was written by Dan McGinn, who is also a senior editor for the Harvard Business Review. Dan and his family were apparently in town for an equestrian event, and I guess he thought a quick article about the visit would be a good excuse to write off the trip.

Despite spending most of his time trapped at the State Fairgrounds, Bricktown and 1-40 and Meridian hotel corridor, McGinn seemed to enjoy his visit to OKC. In fact, he wrote:

"Even if Oklahoma City is not a top-of-mind destination, many of us came home convinced it deserves a place on most bucket lists."

I'm a homer. As I like to say to girls in Bricktown, I was born in this city, raised in this city, and am probably going to die in this city. I like it when The Boston Globe, Meet The Press, New York Times and happy old Seamus come to town and are impressed with what they see and experience, but if "Visit Oklahoma City" is on your travel bucket list, it either means:

A. You need a better bucket list.

B. You're an East Coast Elitist who writes for the Harvard Business Review and has already visited many of the world's finest cities and places.

Seriously, feel free to say nice things about us, National Travel Writers, but please make it believable. Although we're pretty sure they are already paying people to write nice things about Oklahoma City, we don't want people to think the Chamber is paying people to write nice things about Oklahoma City. Tone it down a little, or the next time you're in town we'll take you to Lyrewood Lane.

Actually, you can tell the local Chamber of Commerce had nothing to do with this article. That's because it doesn't used any of the buzzwords commonly found in any article about Oklahoma City. You know what I'm talking about – those dozen or so words that you would think are part of some Oklahoma City Travel Article Generator. Noticeably absent were stalwarts such as:

• Thunder
• Bombing
• Devon Tower
• The Flaming Lips
• Renaissance
• Boathouse
• Presti
• Cornett
• Midtown
• Rowing
• Tornado* (Okay, there was one reference, but it's just a one-time only reference to Tornado Alley)

So, how was a writer able to pen something about The OKC without using those words? Easy. He went old school. Outside of a few mentions of Bricktown, this was like reading a magazine article about Oklahoma City from 1994. It focused on Oklahoma City's western heritage, western culture and the western stereotype image the city's been trying so hard to distance itself from over the years. Hell, the damn thing is even called "Cowboy Up."

For example, the highlight of his "family trip" was riding the mechanical bull at the Sooner Corral:

At 9:30 on a Friday night, six girls and five adults pull up at the roadhouse, a 20-minute drive southwest of downtown. At the door, bouncers wave metal detectors, searching for weapons. Inside, a sign warns against underage drinking. “This is a place for making babies, not serving them,” say the neon letters. Nearby, the young women mostly wear Daisy Dukes; men favor sleeveless T-shirts to show off tattoos. Once the shock — we’ve taken our teen daughters to a roadhouse — wears off, the parents grow comfortable. By midnight, this dance floor will feel more risque than a Miley Cyrus video, but at mid-evening the place is only a quarter full, no one bothers us, and the scene is safely PG-13.

The owner lines the girls up in front of the mechanical bull, set in a roped-off area and surrounded by deep pads on the floor, and offers a few pointers. “It’s sort of like dancing, but instead of moving your hips from side to side, you move them forward and back when the bull bucks,” he says.

Each girl takes a turn, with the owner working the controls and keeping the rides fairly gentle. “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” plays in the background. Nearby on the dance floor, the twentysomething crowd begins line dancing. Three of the five parents go for a ride. Most sport goofy grins, and no one falls off.

As he powers down the bull, the owner calls over the DJ, who leads the girls to the stage. “All the way from Boston, Massachusetts, let’s give a big Oklahoma welcome to the champion riders from the Hillside Meadows equestrian team,” he shouts into the microphone. The dance floor erupts in cheers. By 10:30, we’re all back in the cars and safely en route to the hotel.

I've been to a lot of bars in the Metro, and I can honestly say that I've never once stepped foot into the place. That's probably because I think girls who dip are unattractive and I'm not an out-of-town yank looking to be a cowboy for a week.

Riding fake bulls wasn't the only City Slickin' thing he and his family did. What would a touristy travel article about Oklahoma City's western culture be without a visit to the city's finest tourist trap for campy outsiders looking to be a cowboy for a week?

The city’s best dining choice requires some perseverance: Cattlemen’s Steakhouse doesn’t take reservations, and on weekends it can be an hour or two to get a table. Cattlemen’s is located west of downtown in Stockyards City, once home to the meatpacking plants that were the capital’s dominant employer. Even today, there are live cattle auctions here on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the neighborhood is filled with leather-goods stores.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he wrote that Cattlemen's is the city's best dining choice. Does he know how insulting that is? That would be like saying Boston Market is New England's best cafe.

They also went to the Cowboy Hall of Fame or whatever it's called now.

Today horses are a luxury good, part of America’s vast recreational economy — but until fairly recently they were work animals that helped men and women run the ranches crucial to the Western economy. That history is celebrated at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (405-478-2250;, 6 miles north of downtown Oklahoma City. One display illustrates the different chaps, boots, spurs, and saddles used by cowhands. Another catalogs 1,300 types of barbed wire, an innovation that reduced cattle’s ability to roam, making cowboys’ work far easier. There are exhibits devoted to the history of rodeos, cowboy movies, frontier cooking, and antique firearms. At the museum, I am surprised to learn that cowboys were prevalent well into the early 20th century. Large galleries display cowboy- and Indian-themed sculptures and paintings. Late one morning near the entrance, a group of Native Americans performs a ceremonial dance in front of The End of the Trail,a 17-foot-high plaster sculpture of an Indian rider on a horse

In all fairness, the article wasn't 100% darn tootin' cowboy. They also spent some time in Bricktown:

Downtown Oklahoma City’s primary dining-and-entertainment neighborhood is Bricktown, a roughly 10-block neighborhood east of the city center that features almost 50 bars and restaurants, a minor league ballpark, horse-and-carriage rides, and a canal offering water taxis and tours. Think Quincy Market, with a much higher bar-to-shopping ratio.

We choose Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, considered one of the city’s top restaurants. It’s decorated with memorabilia from the Oklahoma-born Yankee slugger — including his 1956 Triple Crown — and our large group samples steaks, fish, and various kids’ entrees. (The risotto wins particular raves.) But aside from the Yankees decor, the food is much like a Capital Grille, and we might as well have been in Chestnut Hill.

Cattlemen's? Mickey Mantle's? Please tell me you went to Chelino's and also splurged on an awful onion burger....

Oklahoma has its distinctive foods. One is the onion burger, which legend says was a creation of the Great Depression, when people added heaping piles of onion to ground beef to extend it. I try one at Bunny’s Onion Burgers, in a strip mall west of downtown, and it’s decidedly meh. The region also features taco and Tex-Mex places every few blocks; we try several, but nothing stands out.

So this guy is in town from Boston and essentially living at the Fairgrounds and he doesn't get to Nic's for an onion burger?!? That would be like going to Boston and not eating baked beans or becoming Irish.

Anyway, you can check out the entire article at the Boston Globe. Although it's touristy and kind of makes it sound like Oklahomans spend all day riding horses and fucking to Toby Keith songs, it's really not that bad. You also can't blame him for being a tourist and doing touristy things. If I was visiting Boston, I'd probably eat at a tourist trap lobster restaurant, visit some Revolutionary War museum, tour Fenway and take a selfie in front of the old Cheers. I'd also write about it for this site. I could use the tax write-off.

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