AAFB Newcomers Receive Welcome from Mangum Rattlesnake Fang Masters

Photos by Diania Kendall*

The Altus Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, Altus Air Force Base (“AAFB”), and the Mangum Rattlesnake Fang Masters, welcomed new families, airmen, and recently deployed airmen to the AAFB on Monday, March 24, at the Altus High School cafeteria. Dinner was provided by the Three Rivers Catering of Blair, OK.

The purpose of our Committee of 100 is simply to say “Welcome to Altus, America.” Chamber of Commerce President Holly Urbanski said to those new to Altus. “We hope that the time you get to spend with us is enjoyable, and we want you to feel like this is your home while you are here.”

“We’ve got a lot to celebrate here in Altus.” Col. Spangenthal said. “Obviously we’re putting out some great news and for those of you who may not have heard it, we just happened to have the number 1 airbase in the world here at Altus Air Force Base. To get something like that takes incredible leadership across the Wing but it also takes great teamwork. Teamwork with a city who loves their base and clearly Altus is that city. For those of you who are new to Altus Air Force Base, I think you will find it’s small, we are a long ways from the big city, but you are going to find you are well loved. There are a lot of things to do while you are here, you are going to have a great time.”

Urbanski then introduced the Fang Masters of Mangum: Keith Kendall, Stan Kendall, Mike Toney, and G.W. Sheward. Stan Kendall welcomed newcomers and provided a brief history on the 49th Mangum Rattlesnake Derby to be held April 25, 26, and 27. Stan, Keith, and Mike then brought live rattlesnakes out into the crowd to allow newcomers an up close look and to take pictures.

*Photos for this post are provided by Diania Kendall. The Shortgrass Rattlesnake Association disclaims any ownership to any of the photos featured in this post. Any of the trademarks, service marks, collective marks, design rights, copyrights, or similar rights that are mentioned, used, or cited on this page are the property of their respective owners. Their use here does not imply that you may use them for any purpose other than for the same or a similar informational use as contemplated by the original authors of these materials. Unless otherwise stated the Shortgrass Rattlesnake Association or the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby are neither endorsed by nor affiliated with any of the holders of any such rights and as such the Shortgrass Rattlesnake Association cannot grant any rights to use any otherwise protected materials. Your use of any such or similar incorporeal property is at your own risk.

The Red River Spirits Band, Live from Downtown Mangum

Red River Spirits3

This year, the Mangum Rattlesnake Derby proudly brings you the Red River Spirits Band. The Band will be performing live Saturday night.

The Red River Spirits Band is a Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Blues, and Country cover band from southwest Oklahoma. The Band features Clifford Smith on vocals and harmonica, Johnny Barnes on vocals and lead guitar, Kevin Rich on lead guitar and vocals, Rob Johnson on bass guitar, and Anthony White on drums. Clifford Smith and Johnny Barnes hail from Los Angeles where they were with the Regulators. Kevin Rich is also comes from Los Angeles. Having made their home in southwest Oklahoma, and teaming up with Rob Johnson and Anthony White, they have forged a unique sound for audiences of all ages. In addition, they have the added benefit of being able to cater to specific styles.

Come join the Red River Spirits Band with their large diversity of musical styles that a lot of music lovers will enjoy! Check the schedule of events for more details.

3rd Annual Rattlesnake Run

Rattlesnake Run Picture

Some of the prizes that can be won at the 3rd Annual Rattlesnake Run are:

  • Two (2) $50 gift certificates from Attitude’s Ink Tattoo Studio
  • One (1) $50 gift certificate from Anvil Tattoo
  • Three (3) $40 gift certificates from Smiley’s Tire and Auto
  • One (1) $30 gift certificate to from Western Sizzlin’
  • One (1) free oil change from Smith’s Firestone (a $26.99 value)
  • One (1) full service oil change from Kwik Kar (a $36.99 value)
  • One (1) standard free night from Hampton Inn
  • Three (3) $10 gift certificates from Tacos El Rey
  • Three (3) sets of coupons for a free sub, chips, and drink from Jersey Mike’s

Please note, the above list is not exhaustive. For the latest information concerning the Rattlesnake Run, please visit their Facebook page.

Frank Lugert’s Story

Lake Altus-Lugert is the official name of the lake nestled in the Wichita Mountains inside Quartz Mountain State park. In recent years, drought has devastated the lake. Though the drought prevents the lake from being used as a fishery, irrigation, or water activities, it has revealed why many in southwest Oklahoma “officially” know the lake as “Lake Lugert.”

Along State Highway 44, foundations of the past can be seen peaking from the sandy, dry lake bed. The foundations once made up a small town founded by Frank Lugert, a Russian immigrant that moved into the area in 1901. From 1901 to 1912, the small rural town grew to 500 people. However, the growth and prosperity of Lugert came to an abrupt halt when a tornado destroyed the entire town in 1901. Many of the residents moved on and the waters of Lake Lugert eventually moved in.

In 1951, the Kiowa County Star-Review interviewed the 80-year-old Frank Lugert. The article is inciteful into the interesting life of a man whose impact on southwestern Oklahoma is still realized today. The complete article can be found here.