Best radio personality or team
JACK & RON, 98.9 KISS FM
For most Gazette readers, waking up without a shot of Jack & Ron would be like waking up without that morning coffee. The duo of Jack Elliott and Ron Williams has dominated this category for 11 years running. The reason: shows jam-packed with humor, interviews, pop culture, politics, prizes, sex, cooking and just about anything else that suits their fancy.
2. The Morning Animals, WWLS The Sports Animal
3. Joey & Heather, WILD 104.9 HD
Worth mentioning: Rick & Brad, 100.5 The KATT; TJ Janet & JROD, KJYO-KJ103 FM
Best person to follow on social media
If you follow the OKC Thunder megastar on his @KDTrey5 Twitter account, you’re in good company. The Durantula has more than 2.8 million followers who can’t get enough of his musings on everything from hoops to rap, and who can blame them? The guy has been known to jump into flag football games as the result of idle tweets.
2. The Lost Ogle
3. Russell Westbrook
Worth mentioning: Wayne Coyne, Casey Cornett, Daniel Gordon
Best local author
Oklahoma City’s self-described “performance poet/activist” Lauren Zuniga lands atop this list on the heels of The Smell of Good Mud, her humorous collection of verse. But she’s become known for more serious pieces, such as her rallying cries against the state Legislature’s controversial personhood legislation. Ranked as one of the world’s top five female poets, Zuniga founded the Oklahoma Young Writers group.
2. Steve Lackmeyer
3. Dorothy Ellis, “Miss Blues”
Worth mentioning: Blue Clark, Eyvonna Rains
Best local singer-songwriter
Music to our ears: Graham Colton has sung his way into the hearts of OKC. From high school quarterback to a singer-songwriter who worked his way up at pubs and coffeehouses before opening for the likes of John Mayer and Sheryl Crow, Colton is as tireless as he is talented. Most recently, he and Lindsey Ray have formed a new band, Sooner the Sunset, with an EP due out soon. We can’t wait.
2. Mike Hosty
3. Sherree Chamberlain
Worth mentioning: K.C. Clifford, Lonny Pearson
Best local politican
MAYOR MiCK CORNETT
In the rough and tumble world of politics, Gazette readers give high marks to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Currently in his third term, Mayor Mick has been a strong advocate for major projects in the city, including the Core to Shore Plan, Project 180 and MAPS 3. And he still found time to joke around on Bill Maher’s HBO show and help OKC lose some weight!
2. Ed Shadid, Oklahoma City councilman
3. Gov. Mary Fallin
Worth mentioning: state Sen. Constance Johnson, state Sen. Al McAffrey
Best community leader
Showing just how ingrained the Thunder has become in Oklahoma City, our readers have selected KD as their favored community leader — the second year he has won the spot. Three-time NBA scoring champion and, more recently, a key member of team USA at the Summer Olympics, Durant has embraced our fair city almost as much as we’ve embraced him. Reciprocal love is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Heck, we’re even willing to give his movie, Thunderstruck, a chance when it comes out Aug. 24.
2. Mayor Mick Cornett
3. Ed Shadid, OKC City councilmember
Worth mentioning: Gov. Mary Fallin, state Sen. Al McAffrey
CALLY JOHNSON, Big Truck Tacos, Mutt’s Amazing Hot Dogs, Oak Tree Country Club
Chef Johnson is a local favorite, for sure. After working with Deep Fork Grill, Boulevard Steakhouse and Cheever’s, she struck out on endeavors of her own by opening Big Truck Tacos and Mutt’s Amazing Hot Dogs, where she brought serious innovation to foods we thought we knew. Recently she took over food operations at the Oak Tree Country Club, as well.
2. Kurt Fleischfresser, The Coach House, Western Concepts, Irma’s Burger Shack
3. Bruce Rinehart, Rococo
Worth mentioning: Eric Smith, Sara Sara Cupcakes, Pachinko Parlor, West; Jonathan Stranger, Ludivine
Best waiter or waitress
JOSH WATLEY, Hideaway Pizza
When you consider that Hideaway Pizza is already renowned for its fast, friendly service, it really is a coup for Hideaway waiter Josh Watley — who you’ll find at the restaurant’s Edmond location at 116 E. Fifth — being named tops with Gazette readers. So tip well, pizza lovers!
2. Carey Lang, VZD’s Restaurant & Club
3. Robin Caldwell, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse
Worth mentioning: Liz Hade, Whiskey Chicks Parlor; Kyle Snodgrass, Seven47
SAMANTHA MORPHEW, TapWerks Ale House & Cafe
Boasting more than 200 beers on tap and 100-plus bottled beers, TapWerks long has been a fixture for the hops and barley crowd. Whether you’re in the mood for a brew or a bourbon and Coke, TapWerks has another weapon in its intoxicating arsenal: Samantha Morphew, named best bartender by Gazette readers.
2. Stacie Underwood, Deep Deuce Grill
3. Andrew Reynolds, Vin Dolce The Wine Bar
Worth mentioning: Charles Friedrichs, Seven47; Corey Dolezal, Pelican’s Restaurant
Best local band
THE FLAMING LIPS
Remember back when The Flaming Lips were an obscure avant-garde alt-rock
band that you felt didn’t get the credit it deserved, but secretly you
loved the fact that only you and your cool friends seemed to appreciate
them? That was a long time ago, friends. The Lips’ musical
adventurousness and oddball spirit have been embraced by everyone from
big business to baristas, with front man Wayne Coyne the city’s reigning
provocateur/jester/rock god/crazy person.
2. The Hosty Duo
3. Blues Tiger Band
Worth mentioning: Born in November, My So-Called Band, Other Lives
You gotta love the classics. And Ronnie Kaye is a bona fide classic, a guy who’s been in the hit-spinning biz for more than 50 years. It’s been a long journey with OKC’s Mr. Rock ’n’ Roll, who moved to the Sooner state back in 1961, and is still going strong weekdays on KOMA 92.5. Twist and shout, indeed.
2. Katie Wicks
3. Jonny Tsunami
Worth mentioning: Vegas, Crizzly
Best performing arts group
Around for nearly 50 years, Lyric Theatre remains Oklahoma’s only year-round professional musical theater company, so it might not be surprising to find Lyric again winning this category. If you can think of a famous musical, whether classic or contemporary, chances are that Lyric has produced it at one time or another. Be on the lookout for Lyric’s The Mystery of Irma Vep in October and A Christmas Carol in November and December.
2. Oklahoma City Ballet
3. OKC Improv
Worth mentioning: Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, Pollard Theatre, Ghostlight Theatre Club
Best website or blog
KEEP IT LOCAL OK, keepitlocalok.com
For this category, readers kept it local by voting, well, Keep It Local
OK. The group’s mission is simple: to give people the tools and
incentives they need to find and support independent, locally owned
business. That’s done via a $10 rewards card, redeemable for discounts
and other goodies at an ever-growing list of metro spots, updated on the
2. The Lost Ogle, thelostogle.com
3. Pioneer Woman, thepioneerwoman.com
Worth mentioning: OKC Central, blog.newsok.com/okccentral; Night Trips, nighttrips.com/okc
Best television news
KFOR, Oklahoma’s News Channel 4
When it comes to staying informed, Gazette readers tune to Linda Cavanaugh, Kevin Ogle, Mike Morgan and Bob Barry Jr. — names that are veritable institutions in this state — and the news crew of OKC’s NBC affiliate. From Scott Hines’ “In Your Corner” consumer-help franchise to Galen Culver’s always-interesting “Is This a Great State or What?” segments, KFOR has collected nearly as many Emmys as it has viewers.
2. KWTV, News9
3. KOCO, Eyewitness News 5
Worth mentioning: OETA, The Oklahoma Network; KOKH FOX 25
Best 5K race
OKLAHOMA CITY MEMORIAL MARATHON
Each year we strap on our running shoes and we run to remember and honor the victims of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. This year we remember how much we love participating in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 5K. This noncompetitive fun run/walk is family friendly and enjoyed by all. This run for a cause has good cause for winning!
2. Red Bud Classic
3. Elvis Run
Worth mentioning: Red Earth Run, Frigid Five
Best sign that OKC is heading toward greatness
There’s plenty of evidence that this city is evolving into something magnificent, but perhaps no sign is more powerful than that of an NBA team earning its way to the championship finals after only four years in existence. The excitement, enthusiasm and pride generated by the Thunder has been nothing short of spectacular — and Gazette readers can’t wait to start the mania all over again. Thunder up!
2. Downtown growth and development
3. Increase of art and cultural offerings
Worth mentioning: we finally got a Whole Foods, Devon tower
Best sign that OKC still has a long way to go
STATE REP. SALLY KERN
never said everyone would be happy about getting a “Best of OKC” spot.
The state rep from District 84 in northwest Oklahoma City has a history
of sparking controversy. The first, and probably most infamous, was when
she said that the embracing of homosexuals was a bigger threat to the
country than “terrorism or Islam.” More recently, Kern made comments
about black people and women that drew widespread criticism. She later
apologized for the remarks.
2. Alcohol laws
3. Poor condition of roads and bridges
Worth mentioning: weak public transportation system, Bricktown parking and safety
Photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman