The Norman Transcript

Local news

March 3, 2013

Treasure hunter finds silver lining in drought

NORMAN — Calvin Gifford has been roaming the shores of Lake Thunderbird for years seeking treasures. He’s collected over 7,000 old lures, but with lake levels at the lowest he’s ever seen, new treasurers are being revealed.

“This is the lowest it’s ever been,” Gifford said, gesturing to the extended stretch of sandy clay leading to the lake. “I go beachcombing out here. I’ve found jewelry, coins and old fishing lures. I’ve found a few arrow heads.”

Gifford tromps the beach with his two dogs, six-month old male pups from the same litter. They wear harnesses he fashioned out of soft rope. He wears a cargo pants a heavy windbreaker and a long beard.

“You can see where the weeds have grown,” he said. “Several years ago people were swimming where we’re standing.”

Gifford has walked these beaches for decades, enjoying the hunt for treasure.

“I’m getting a lot of exercise for an old man,” he said.

Once upon a time, he brought along a metal detector which helped him find even more treasure, but he said a lake official told him metal detectors weren’t allowed since the lake is technically a federal project and there could be Indian artifacts located there.

That doesn’t stop him from beach combing. Hunting for treasure is particularly rich after storms rearrange the beach and shift the sands.

“You can come down and look around,” Gifford said. “The whole terrain has shifted after a storm. I grid it and go back and forth.”

Lake Thunderbird is a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Project. The dam was completed in 1965.

“I remember when they were putting the lake in and building it,” he said. “They had a contest for naming it. This is a pretty lake, there a lot of scenery out here. It’s about as low as I’ve ever seen it.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • County wreck fatal

    A Purcell man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday morning on Highway 77, north of Moffatt Road in Cleveland County. Keith Hedrick, 20, was pinned for about an hour and 45 minutes before the Slaughterville Fire Department was ...

    July 27, 2014

  • New library leaders

    The Pioneer Library System has familiar faces taking over leadership roles with its two hometown libraries....

    July 27, 2014