All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

BUZZ WORDS: Local fave fundraiser Midtown Rotary Spelling Beer downs year number seven

Midtown Rotary FB
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the past few years, one of the most noticeable service organizations in the Metro has become the Midtown Rotary Club, a more recent branch of the long-serving, community-vaunted Rotary International, formed over 100 years ago.  

“The Rotary Club is a community organization; we are international, but we are a local club,” Midtown Rotary Club President Matt Tipton said. “Our mantra is “service above selves” and what that means for us is we specialize in giving back to the underfunded arts programs, specific to the Oklahoma City Public School system, as well as arts in our neighborhoods and districts.”

Even though the organization’s century-old ideals of service to community remain the same, what’s been updated, however, are the fun, new ways to achieve those goals; gone are the generic days of pancake breakfasts and in is Midtown Rotary’s yearly tradition of the Spelling Beer.

“Every Rotary Club has its own fundraiser,” Tipton explained. “It’s one of the things that is part of being in Rotary: it doesn’t matter wherever in the world you are, there’s some kind of fundraiser associated with your club.  We wanted to do something different and the Spelling Beer is one of the ideas that got tossed into the hat and here we are, seven years later. It’s gained a massive cult following and people really look forward to it every year.”

Here’s how it works: you buy your ticket ($50 at the door of the Will Rogers Theatre, 4322 N. Western Ave.) and in addition to admission, that gets you beer provided by Anthem Brewing Company, COOP Ale Works, Vanessa House Beer Company and Black Mesa Brewing Co., as well as access to a bountiful spread of German delicacies.

Join in on the silent auction or, if you’re smart enough, sign up to take part in the Spelling Beer portion, which, Tipton assures, is much like those you would watch on ESPN, complete with official words asked in past sanctioned Bees. The only difference here is that, in the name of extra charity, contestants can buy back into the first couple of rounds should they fail, with ultimately a last person standing prize of $500 on the line.

The 7th Annual Midtown Rotary Spelling Beer is at 6 p.m. Feb. 24. One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to the Midtown Rotary for different district grant projects; last year, Southeast High School’s dance program needed a new, professional-level dancefloor and because every dollar the Rotary Club makes is multiplied by three, they were able to buy said school a top-grade dance floor “comparable to Ballet Oklahoma.”

“It’s been shown that if you have a thriving arts community, that if you keep the arts alive you have better cities, better schools, lower crime and that’s what we’re about,” Tipton added. “We want to make sure that stays alive. There’ve been some issues that past few years with arts programs being underfunded or even cut, and we have stepped in and actually provided art supplies to teachers who’d been teaching art without art supplies. It’s just kind of insane the needs you come across and we’re happy we’re able to help. And it’s events like the Spelling Beer that help keep that going.”

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK