Remembering ‘My Buddy’ Ray Siegfried at Fight Night
By Henry Primeaux III
HAPPY DAYS: Ray Siegfried was instrumental in organizing the Tulsa Charity Fight Nights. Several years ago this classic photo was taken with, from left, Jake “Raging Bull??? LaMotta, Yours Truly, Ray Siegfried II, Muhammad Ali and Angelo Dundee. Notice Ali kidding with Siegfried.
My heart goes out to the Ray Siegfried II family and his friends. We have lost a great citizen, businessperson and sportsman in the passing of this fine gentleman.
I always knew Ray as “My Buddy.” I had known him since I arrived in Tulsa, and we immediately had a common interest in his Tulsa Charity Fight Night, one of the most popular events in the city selling out year after year. Over $1 million has been raised through the event to benefit various Tulsa charities while bringing celebrities and professional boxing to the city.
Every time I would see Ray, we would call each other “Buddy.” When we would see each other over the years, one of us would say, “Hey Buddy, we have Fight Night coming up.” The other would say, “That’s right, Buddy, we better get to work on it.” The answer would always be, “O.K., Buddy.”
Ray’s family will miss this great man. His business associates will miss their CEO. I will miss my Buddy!
Speaking of the Tulsa Charity Fight Night, the black-tie boxing event has a knockout reputation when it comes to the City of Tulsa. Boxing made a grand entrance in Tulsa when Ray helped to organize the “Black Tie Smokers” amateur boxing at the old Tulsa Club in 1984. Ray boxed at the collegiate level while at Notre Dame. He was later a boxing coach for the United States Army.
The first-ever Tulsa Charity Fight Night was held on May 7, 1992. In the transition from the amateur boxing days at the Tulsa Club to professional boxing, Siegfried’s NORDAM Group played a huge role in the success of the event.
Beneficiaries to Tulsa Charity Fight Night have included numerous Tulsa-area charities such as Family and Children’s Services, Big Brothers and Sisters of Oklahoma, the Make-A-Wish-Foundation of Oklahoma, Meals On Wheels, the Tulsa Boys’ Home and the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.
Boxing royalty appearing at past events have included greats such as Muhammad Ali, Archie Moore, “Smokin” Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Floyd Patterson and Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta.
Many Tulsa Charity Fight Night boxing alumni have gone on to international boxing fame, including Derrick “Smoke” Gainer, who became a World Boxing Association Featherweight Champion and Kathy Collins, a four-time World Champion and Junior Welterweight Champion.
Boxing personalities have included boxing and baseball historian and author Bert Sugar and famous trainer Angelo Dundee. Thank you, Ray, for bringing so much to all of us.
TCC Vision Dinner Honors Leaders in Childhood Education
Jane and I had the honor of being sponsors at the Tulsa Community College Vision in Education Leadership Award Dinner Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Crowne Plaza Tulsa.
Nine Oklahomans were recognized for their contributions to early childhood education at the annual dinner, organized by the TCC Foundation. Stan Lybarger, Honorary Chair for the dinner, announced during his opening comments that $110,000 had been raised by the Dinner Committee to support student scholarships and programs for students, faculty and staff. TCC President Dr. Thomas McKeon also announced during the program the launch of TCC’s annual campaign with a $125,000 challenge grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Each year the TCC Foundation honors an individual in the field of education. This year’s honorees have proven themselves in developing and improving the state’s early childhood education programs. Recipients honored were Martin Fate, posthumously, Leonard Eaton, Bill Doenges, former Mayor Robert LaFortune, George Kaiser, Nancy McDonald, Pete Churchwell, Sen. Ted Fisher and Rep. Ron Peters.
This ‘N That
Congratulations to the Bailey Medical Center in Owasso for the October 27 “Topping Off” celebration for the new facility, which is scheduled to open next summer. This will be another excellent addition to the fast-growing city north of Tulsa. If you haven’t been to Owasso lately, go take a look! The new shopping centers and neighborhoods will amaze you!
Congratulations also to the Bass Pro Shops, which recently opened in Broken Arrow. Thousands of shoppers have already visited the new store, and many more thousands will come in the future. The area around the store is primed for growth as an excellent infrastructure has been set in place by forward-thinking Broken Arrow business people and civic leaders. Look for Broken Arrow to continue to grow, and quickly!
How about those Golden Hurricane! Steve Kragthorpe has led a resurgence of the once-storied football program. Quarterback Paul Smith of Owasso completing passes to tight end Garrett Mills of Jenks is a delight to see. Ashlan Davis may be the greatest kickoff returner in the history of college football. This should be a bowl-bound team. There is one home game remaining against East Carolina on Nov. 12. Go on out to Skelly Stadium and support the home team!
We wish everybody the best in health and happiness. And, if you’re out and about, cruise on down old Route 66 or I-44 and see us at Crown Bristow at 910 South Roland. We’ll be happy to visit with you, and we’ll beat any deal!