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The History of the Woodward Community Christmas Dinner

Woodward Elks Christmas 2023

Denny Hopkins, a local Woodward, Oklahoma Merchant, with three teenage daughters, wanted to show them the “true” meaning of Christmas, by sponsoring a Community Christmas Day Dinner.

The Hopkins family and friends cooked the entire meal themselves, for two years, before passing the torch to RJ Hollon, to smoke the turkeys. Later, RJ, involved the Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee, in cooking the annual meal and they continue to do so, still to this day. And, every year, RJ is still involved in the process.

For 22 years, the Hopkins Family hosted the Woodward Community Christmas Dinner. Then, in 2007, the honor was passed on to Chris Keeton, the owner of Jerico Oil, who continued the annual dinner, until 2013. And, at that time, another oil company, Wyoming Casing, hosted the community dinner, from 2013 to 2018. Then, the honor was passed onto The Woodward Chamber of Commerce, who sponsored the Christmas Dinner until 2020. And that brings us to the latest decade.

During 2020, a very momentous year, the continued tradition of honoring the public, during Christmas, resulted in The Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee accepting the honor of continuing this wonderful event with a twist; the dinner would now be served on Christmas Eve.

On December 24, 2020, the Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee created a drive-through service for the Woodward Community Christmas Eve Dinner, to accommodate the community members efficiently with 800 meals served.

In 2021, the Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee established a seated venue to accommodate the public for the Woodward Community Christmas Eve Dinner, which continued in 2022. This venue will continue for the 2023 event and on.

This year, the Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee humbly welcomes the public to join them at the Woodward Community Christmas Eve Dinner as they honor the tradition that started almost four decades ago, by an amazing man with a teachable moment of being humble, generous, and helping fellow community members.

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