Waurika is a small country town featuring everything from perfected family secret recipes at Bill's Fish House to century old artifacts at the Rock Island Depot. Not to mention, save the date for the annual Ranch Rodeo every July, which acts as a pre-qualifying event for the World Championship Ranch Rodeo.
There is nothing much more American than a red dirt roadtrip on the open highway, jamming out to your favorite songs with the windows rolled down and a cooler full of goodies in the backseat. So, buckle up all you road warriors because we’re taking you for a ride down the rockin’ country roads of Waurika, Oklahoma. From glorified diners that would stoke even Guy Fieri to a charming candle-making shop to the riveting Rattlesnake Festival, this Chickasaw Country town is revving with character around every corner.
From the outside looking in, we do our best to give you a fresh perspective of places. But in all reality, no one truly knows a town better than its locals! Thanks to our travel pal and long-time Waurikan, Jessica Henderson, this month we have the pleasure of giving you the inside scoop of our featured town from the view of a lovely local. As the Executive Director at Great Plains Country, Jessica knows what travelers are looking for and is more than happy to fill you in on the local limelight of her hometown - Waurika, OK!
"Waurika, OK - The Local Limelight"
By Jessica Henderson, Executive Director of Great Plains Country
“There is just something special about small-town Oklahoma. Mom-and-pop businesses, the slower-paced lifestyle, the friendly people – that is what people can expect to find here in Waurika. Our historic brick Main Street is lined with local businesses like Small Town Creations that sell everything from specialty hand-poured candles to unique furniture, jewelry, local goods and home décor.
There are a handful of great places to eat around town. Waurika is perhaps best known for Bill's Fish House on Highway 79, which serves some of the BEST farm-raised fried catfish you'll ever find.
We are well known for our annual Rattlesnake Hunt, which takes place every April. If you’ve never attended this event, it certainly needs to be added to your to-do list! It’s a fun event, complete with a carnival, vendors, flea markets, thrill shows and more. Not to mention, fried rattlesnake for the adventurous foodie!
There is also an annual Ranch Rodeo every July, which acts as the pre-qualifying event for the World Championship Ranch Rodeo. This weekend of rodeo excitement is held at the Rex Dunn Coyote Hills Arena, a local arena owned and operated by the family of the late Rex Dunn - the national bull-fighting and rodeo clown legend! If watching cowboys go head to head in thrilling competitions like Bronc Riding, Cow Milking and Wild Cow Riding stirs your excitement, this is definitely a rodeo you won’t want to miss.
The Rock Island Depot, which was restored in the early 1990s and sits on the 98th Meridian, is a beautiful historic building that houses our town’s public library. There is also a great bit of history found inside; photos and relics from Jefferson County’s history are placed throughout, including a photo of Jefferson County native Chuck Norris!
Both Waurika Lake and the Red River are great spots during the summer months. Waurika Lake is great for boating, fishing, camping and swimming, and the land surrounding the Red River is lined with ATV trails.
Recently, we relocated the office for Great Plains Country to Waurika, and it has been great to be able to work in my hometown. I enjoy promoting tourism in Southwest Oklahoma, and being able to do so with a view of the brick Main Street that I grew up on is an absolute pleasure every day."
Thanks Jessica! Your friends in Chickasaw Country can’t wait to come visit your home sweet home of Waurika, Oklahoma!