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Great State: The Top 4 from ’12

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — What makes a story memorable?

There are lots of reasons. People might be the most important.

We met quite a few in 2012 but none like Gene Goldstein who took us on a tour through Sam’s Best Buys just befor Spring Break.

Sam’s father started the place just after WWII and it’s still going, still selling just about anything you can think of.

“This is what you might call a rack and stack type store,” he said. “It’s from soup to nuts, from your toes to your nose, from condoms to caskets. We’ve carried it all.”

Places make impressions too.

In the middle of a hot summer, even after the best noodling was over with, Kaleb Summers was still trying to re-capture the lightning that brought in a huge catfish.

“After the initial shock factor was over,” he recalled, “It looked like I had a shark on the end of my arms.”

His single catfish catch weighed in at just over 70 pounds and won him first place at the annual Okie Noodling Tournament in June.

We didn’t catch much that day but our last shot proved that some lightning still followed Kaleb in the waters of Skiatook Lake.

He said slyly, “There’s a million rumors out there and I’ve started half of them.”

Quiet power would describe Vicki La Hue.

She lost her son in Iraq in 2009. “I had the faith in knowing that he was doing what he was supposed to do,” she said.

She still sees his face in the hundreds of new military recruits who stop at the YMCA Military Welcome Center at Will Rogers Airport.

Vicki volunteers there regularly, a Gold Star Mother for whom every hour here is a memorial to her lost boy, and to her own strength too.

“I think of them,” she says. “They’re moving forward and I know that I must move forward.”

Finally, we found a place near Davis, Oklahoma that rewarded us with a little pure fun.

Steve and Rosalind Burrough opened Air Donkey Zip Line in 2012.

We tried it out in November and saw the Arbuckle Mts. in a whole new way, kind of like a fledgling bird would, a little nervous but exhilarated.

“I was a little nervous,” said one of the first time zipliners, “but it was great.”

The zipline through 2012 was fast. It picked up speed along the way and suddenly here we are at the end, and ready to go again.