Organizers of the Bricktown Crawl for Cancer are being told not to return to the entertainment district after reports the fundraiser had participants urinating from building balconies, jumping into the canal, getting into fights and verbally assaulting families — all in broad daylight. More than 60 members of the Bricktown Association voted unanimously to let the fundraiser organizers — David Tedford, Mark Nance and Suzanne Taylor — know their event is not welcome in the entertainment district. Avis Scaramucci, owner of Nonna’s and the Purple Bar, said she was upset last year when one of the cancer crawl participants urinated off the balcony of her building onto the sidewalk below. "This year I was standing outside and a couple was crossing the street with a small girl and a baby in a carriage,” Scaramucci said. "And this group was out there in these (Bricktown cancer crawl) shirts and they were yelling, ‘What in the world are you doing having kids down here? This is no place for kids.’ And the parents had this stunned look on their faces. I just wanted to die.” The verbal assault took place at 2:30 p.m. and wasn’t the only trouble associated with the event, which required teams of 10 people each to visit five bars starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1. At 7:30 p.m. that same day, police were called to America’s Pub in Bricktown, where a patron was beaten unconscious by an assailant described as being "extremely intoxicated” and wearing a shirt that read "crawl for cancer 2010.” The victim was hospitalized and the attacker fled from the bar. An executive with the Bricktown Hampton Inn reported an "unresponsive” participant was dropped off and abandoned in the hotel lobby. Andrea Griggs, co-owner of Put a Cork in It, reported participants were being loud and foul-mouthed along the Bricktown Canal and some even jumped into the water. "I had a friend who lost her life to breast cancer,” Griggs said. "The only crawl was to the bathroom following chemo. I just think this is disrespectful.” The Facebook and website for the Bricktown Crawl for Cancer list David Tedford, Mark Nance and Suzanne Taylor as organizers. The event started at 1 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m. — a day in which Bricktown was being visited by families riding the canal water taxis, seeing movies at Harkins Theater and attending a RedHawks game at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
Participants paid $40Tedford, vice president of environmental health and safety at Integra Wind Services, said he was unaware of such problems and thought the event went "smoothly.” He said about 1,800 participated in the latest cancer crawl, paying about $40 each to be part of 10-member teams that had to visit five Bricktown bars. Tedford said he would comply with the Bricktown Association’s wishes. "Unfortunately it is what it is. It’s disappointing that a handful out of 2,000 have to ruin it for everybody. ... I would like to think there’s more self-control than what’s been on display this time around.” Tedford said local organizers were not given a choice about the timing — that the 1 p.m. start was dictated by Crawl for Cancer Inc., a for-profit Kansas City, Mo., company that organizes the fundraisers nationwide. Some Bricktown bars and restaurants have already sworn off participating again. A representative of Hooters said the restaurant backed out of the event last year, while Charles Stout, co-owner of the Bricktown Brewery, said he too will turn down the event if it’s held again. This year’s local beneficiaries are Ally’s House and the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation. Tedford said he could not yet estimate how much was raised this year, but the groups each received a $5,000 check from the 2009 event. "It’s a nonprofit fundraising event,” Tedford said. "It’s one day a year. ... We put it together and try to have some fun and raise money.” Even so, Tedford said his involvement ends with the May 1 event. "It’s not going to happen in Oklahoma City again,” Tedford said. "At least I won’t be involved with it at all.”
ALSO ...Participants varied widely in focus and fanciness Supporters of the 2010 Bricktown Crawl for Cancer include several restaurants and bars, the family-friendly Hampton Inn and the upscale Colcord Hotel. Science Museum Oklahoma was tapped for its ample parking and plenty of space as the distribution location for t-shirts. Alex Mattison, communications coordinator for the museum, emphasized the shirt distribution was hosted by after hours and not around families. "It was only for three hours,” Mattison said. "This was to help raise money for kids with cancer. "Our understanding was this was to be a family-friendly event,” Mattison said, acknowledging he had reviewed the organization’s website which called for teams to visit and drink alcohol at a minimum of five Bricktown bars. Mattison said the museum’s involvement will be reviewed after being told about reports of cancer crawl participants fighting, engaging in lewd behavior and verbally assaulting families in Bricktown. "This does give us pause,” Mattison said.
Participants in the 2010 Bricktown Crawl for Cancer
• Wormy Dog
• America’s Pub
• JJ’s Alley
• Red Pin Bowling Lounge
• Bourbon Street Cafe
• Rok Bar
• Coyote Ugly
• Bricktown Brewery
• Hampton Inn (offered discounted rates to participants)
• Colcord Hotel (offered discounted rates to participants)
• Science Museum Oklahoma (hosted distribution of shirts, registrations)