As I've been browsing Twitter recently, scrolling through various news about the fandom, I came across this QRT (quote retweet for the less savvy) talking about a new con and how it was going to fail right out of the gate. Being the curious investigator I am, I decided to look at the original post from an organization calling themselves AWOO or Anthro West Open Organization. From what I saw, I was saddened by the number of my fellow furs calling for death to the con, or wish harm to those that would hold it, especially since we used to be such a loving fandom. I kept reading more into the reasons why people both hated, and loved this con or the idea of it (whichever it is, we'll know for certain soon enough).
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tails and Tornadoes is a young convention that's been running in the Central U.S. state since 2019. Its premiere year was reviewed here on Flayrah by one-time contributor Koori Kitty. Like the weather system it was named after, the con has subsequently found itself in a whirlwind that's rattled its organization.
The first shakeup was one that affected most gatherings, in that its second year was unable to be held in 2020 due to COVID-19 closures. But on top of this, the same year brought in political fallout from the final year of Trump's presidency. Riots in the American Midwest soon spurred worldwide protests following the murder of George Floyd by a law enforcement officer, where the unarmed black man was strangled by a knee to his neck that was held there for over eight minutes. The entire duration of the strangulation was recorded on a smartphone and shared over the Internet.
The United States government, under the leadership it held, decided to go against the advisability of de-escalation in these matters and instead responded with hostile rhetoric. Given the shutdown of many non-essential jobs due to the pandemic, this created a perfect storm of vocal protests and rioting towards an unsympathetic system, sentiments that spread far beyond the Midwest where the murder took place.
Update: Correction made about staffing shifts from 2020 to 2021 in Tails and Tornados per Koori.
Oklahoma's first three-day hotel furry convention, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con (TTFC), has a lot to celebrate after their inaugural convention – themed as "Taking Oklahoma by Storm", and focusing on local furs and their experiences of wild weather.
The convention, held August 30-September 1 at the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa, OK, has been in the works for over a year, after organizers saw increased attendance at local meets, such as a furry bowling event.
TTFC's mission is to produce events with educational value surrounding the topic of anthropomorphic arts – and to raise awareness of local wildlife rescue organizations, such as their current charity, Safari's Sanctuary, based in Broken Arrow, OK.
TTFC 2019 hosted at least 507 attendees and 86 fursuiters, and raised $7000 for their charity. Chair Peace Wolf lead a team of sixty staff and advisors, working with TTFC's first two Guests of Honor, Stormi the Folf (of Mississippi) and Citrinelle (Texas).
Based on attendance, TTFC is currently the 46th largest furry convention globally. Next year's TTFC is to be held September 4-6, 2020, with the theme "Rawring 20's" — Guest of Honour and event details will be listed on the convention's website, once available.
Oklacon, held since 2003 (originally as "Festival of the Feral") at Oklahoma's Roman Nose State Park and billed as "the world's largest outdoor furry convention," has been cancelled for 2015, and probably permanently. The convention's website now contains an announcement of the cancellation:
So, it is with a sad and heavy heart that we inform you that Oklacon is cancelled this year and indefinitely.
We understand the extreme disappointment and trouble this will cause those who had planned to attend this year’s iteration of the world’s largest outdoor furry convention. We understand some may have arranged travel, time-off, or forfeited other plans to attend Oklacon - and to those who have been adversely impacted by the State of Oklahoma’s decision - we are extremely disappointed too.
Flayrah reported in May on Misora Rae's loss of her home in the Moore, OK tornado. In subsequent days, furs have sent an outpouring of support, helping her with supplies and funds. They gathered for the clean-up, helping her sort through the rubble of what was once her home; she found her fursuit, which had survived the storm but was covered in insulation, and was getting a musty odor from the rains that came with the tornado. The team also found one of her cats, crushed to death by a fallen wall. The stress of this is a hardening factor for Misora.
Support for Misora and her mother continues, with several Furry conventions joining together to raise funds for her family. Central Plains Fur Con, Fangcon, F3con and Wild Nights will be auctioning supersponsor and higher levels of membership, with proceeds going to Misora. The first is for a membership for CPFC, to be held October 2013 in Wichita, Kansas with Rukis as the guest of honor. Other auctions will be posted after the initial auction concludes.
Daryn Collie (aka Darraby) had just dropped off a relative on the way back from the airport. He let them know he was heading straight to his Oklahoma home, as he had to work the next day. He never made it.
Local furs made calls, but his cell phone was not receiving them. Family gained access to his email and contacted the email addresses on that list. As of this date no-one has heard anything of him.
Daryn's orange 2007 Dodge Nitro with Oklahoma plates 038KCM was found in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon. He may have planned this, but police are treating it as an abduction.
Misora Rae lost her home in the recent Oklahoma tornado. It was one of many structures destroyed in the EF5 storm. She was fortunate to be at work with her mother at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Many local furs are gathering near a local Walmart to assist Misora in removal of what can be salvaged from the remains of the house.
If you are in the area and can assist, please contact Holly Fox who is coming up from Lawton to help on Friday and Saturday (May 24-25). Donations of items such as dog and cat food would be appreciated; most of her pets were found. An auction for a partial fursuit is also being held in her benefit. Contributions can also be made directly to misorarae @ yahoo.com via PayPal.