The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Rock Island Weekend Takes Over Downtown

The Rock Island Arts Festival, Oklahoma Food Truck Championship, Rock Island Ride, and Together We Heel take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 1
Mary-Grace McNutt
Ronnee Buyuks and Brooklin Mathers walk downtown and chat about which food trucks they’re going to try first Saturday.

Chickasha is hosting the Rock Island Weekend Friday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 1 to bring people around the country to Chickasha. Four events are taking place during the weekend, including an arts festival, the 6th annual Oklahoma Food Truck Championship (OFTC), a bike ride, and a charity walk. 

Running from Friday to Sunday, the Rock Island Arts Festival (RIAF) is being held in downtown Chickasha. Meli Salcido, a third-year illustration major, and Art Wrecker are holding booths at the arts festival. Salcido will be selling prints, stickers, and keychains of various cartoons and doodles. It will be Salcido’s first time having a booth at the festival. 

Jordan Vinyard, director of Art Wrecker, will be opening Art Wrecker, a downtown gallery space, for the arts festival. Art Wrecker will feature Jeff Rutherford’s glasswork as well as an open mic poetry event. The open mic poetry night will be Saturday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. 

“I feel like it’s important to participate in community events because it familiarizes the community with us, and we are an extension of the college, therefore, they’re becoming familiar with a broader population that’s here,” Vinyard said.  

The RIAF is a way for artists of several disciplines to showcase and sell their art. The arts festival also has food, live music, and various activities for kids and the family to participate in. Not only does it provide an opportunity for artists to get their name out into the community, but also gives the community a chance to know who specializes in a form of art. 

The OFTC is an annual event held in downtown Chickasha since 2017. This year, the event will be held on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The championship brings over 50,000 people to Chickasha every year, all of them looking for different food to try. All the food truck owners are competing for a $10,000 prize, and there are 32 food trucks as well as three drink trucks.  

“Mindy Mae’s Fat Stacks was our winner last year. She won first place in the overall category and in the savory category, and she will be back this year so if you missed her last year, you definitely need to check her out this year,” said Whitney Palesano, membership director at the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce.  

There will be many types of food that can be found at the championship this year, ranging from donuts, ice cream, burgers, ribs, tacos, and empanadas. The three drink trucks at the championships serve either aguas frescas, lemonade, or coffee. 

“Even if you come down and grab just one food item to go, I would recommend coming down and getting a feel for what the environment is, it’s a fun and exciting event,” Palesano said. 

Another event of the weekend will be Chickasha’s Rock Island Ride, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. The bike ride provides six route options for riders of all ages and skill levels. The races begin downtown and include distances ranging from ten to 63 miles, with the 41- and 61-mile routes being on gravel roads.  

“All of the routes go through USAO’s campus,” said Dr. JC Sanders, the board secretary of the event and professor of physics at USAO. “That’s a nice connection for me, as it includes both the town I live in and the place I work.” 

All proceeds from the ride go towards three charities located around Chickasha, including the Salvation Army of Grady & Caddo Counties, Mobile Meals of Chickasha, and the Chickasha Emergency Food Pantry.  

“All of the money we raise goes to charity and we usually donate about $10,000 each year,” said Johnny Trammell, the board president for the ride. 

Trammell said he hopes that more USAO students participate in the event. He also said the event has at least 350 riders this year. 

“If you’re unsure about your abilities, ride the in-town ride,” Trammell said. “It’s 10 miles, it’s flat, it goes through USAO and Shannon Springs Park, and there’s usually families with children on bikes. It’s a fun event.” 

The event offers both online and in-person registration. The online registration closes on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m. However, in-person registration is opens Friday, Sept. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 30 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and the first 300 people registered for each route receive a free t-shirt. 

Together We Heel is a charity walk put on by the Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN) to raise money to end domestic violence. The walk starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, the event is half a mile in distance and many participants walk the event in high heels. Darrick Matthews, USAO’s head women’s basketball coach, walks in heels for the event, alongside his team. 

“It’s important for me to show my team that if they or anyone they know of is experiencing domestic violence, I think it’s important that we’re putting them in a situation to understand that there are resources for them,” Matthews said. 

In 2022, Together We Heel had 225 participants in the event and raised over $20,000 to provide resources to end domestic violence. 

Matthews said his favorite of the event is going out there as a team and showing the community how much it means to them to support the cause. Matthews said he wants his team to understand there are things that happen in the world outside of school and basketball.  

“There is a cost to everything,” Matthews said. “By participating, you’re paying a small fee to them that they’re going to use to provide resources to other people.”  

This year, the event starts at the Leg Lamp and walkers will head west on Chickasha Avenue to 6th Street until they reach the Chickasha Area Arts Council.  

“Go find your hottest heels and please, by all means, challenge us,” Matthews said. 


Luka Messick is a first-year physics major at the Univeristy of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Luka Messick
Luka Messick, Contributing Writer
Luka is a first-year physics major from Tulsa. He loves music and spends most of his free time listening to music. Luka played the clarinet in high school and was part of his school's front ensemble for marching season and winter percussion season. Luka also plays video games with his friends. Since he has been on campus, Luka has joined SPS and PRISM.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Sept. 2023 - present
Mary-Grace McNutt
Mary-Grace McNutt, Senior Writer
Mary-Grace is a third-year communication and speech language pathology major from Moore. Mary-Grace is a part of the Drover Dancers and works for the Student Media Team, where she produces videos and takes photos around campus. She loves photography and wants to be a sports photographer after college.   Experience with The Trend: Senior Writer: May 2022 - present Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022