By Jayson Knight
The Tuttle Fire Department had a rematch with the All Stars of Oklahoma granny basketball team Saturday, after first meeting up with them for a fundraiser earlier this year. The All Stars finished well ahead of the Tuttle firefighters thanks in part to a few interesting handicaps, and some real basketball proficiency on the part of the grandmas.
All Stars Co-Captain Lori Rupert has been a player for granny basketball since 2018, and spoke Monday about the event.
“We played them back in March as well,” Rupert said of the TFD firefighters, “and one of the things our granny basketball teams do is engage with the community to do some fundraising events. And so it’s really kind of up to our team on who to pick or what charity to help. We have a player that lives in Tuttle, so she reached out initially. This was the second go-around, because they wanted to get it done closer to Christmas.”
The event served as a fundraiser for the annual TFD Christmas Toy Drive, which gets toys out to kids that live in Tuttle and some of the surrounding communities.
Rupert shared her opinion of the Tuttle firefighters after working with them twice, saying, “They are very, very personable guys, a lot of fun. We reach out to some other organizations like that as well from different cities, cities that our players live in, and they don’t always respond the same. Some might be interested, but they don’t always get enough people to want to do it, so when we get a department like that, with service providers in the community that really are all in like that, that’s really sweet. We remembered each other, a lot of them, from the last time, and it’s like we just joke around with each other and everything, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Tuttle firefighter Braden Warcup said Monday, “The way we do it, we ask for donations, either monetary donations for entry, or to bring toys in. That’s kind of how to get in to come watch the game is to bring money or toys. Then, the granny basketball team uses it as a bake sale, and like a silent auction, to get some money for themselves, for their expenses throughout their league.
“I thought it went really good. The game itself, I mean, we had a good time, had a lot of fun, and then as far as donations, I think we ended up with four, almost five full boxes of unwrapped toys. And then money-wise, we walked away with $412 to go towards the toy drive.”
On whether or not the TFD would look to host another granny basketball game, Warcup said, “Oh, definitely. I think it’s going to be at least a yearly thing. We may do it one or two times a year.”
Up next for the fire department is its first tailgate party Friday, prior to Tuttle hosting Newcastle for Senior Night football.
“We’re going to open up the station about 5 p.m.,” Warcup said. “We’ll have music going, have corn hole boards out, and stuff like that. Each shift is going to make a big pot of chili, and serve it. Again, it’s going to be a fundraiser for us. This won’t be as much for the toy drive as it will be for public education. This year, for example, with the pub ed money, we bought the Sparky the Fire Dog costume. This is another way to raise money for things like that. The minimum donation will be $5 for chili and drink and chips.”