A traditional Cherokee marble, made of limestone, being shaped using a stick and sandstone.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The traditional game of Cherokee marbles, which is played in teams of three and can last hours, is just one of the sporting events featured as part of the 62nd Annual Cherokee National Holiday.
“The Cherokee marbles game has been around as long as the bow and arrow, so it’s literally been played by our people for hundreds of years,” said Phil King, director of this year’s Cherokee National Holiday Marble Tournament. “By playing this game and using traditional rules, we have a great opportunity to share a part of the tribe’s history with our youth and the public who come to learn about our culture.”
The Cherokee National Holiday Marble Tournament runs from August 25-30, and the public can watch for free.
The objective to win a game of marbles is for the first team to accurately toss their marble, typically the size of a billiard ball, into all five holes laid out in an L-shaped pattern and then return to the starting point.
The double-elimination marbles tournament begins 6 p.m. Monday, August 25, at Lee Foreman’s Marble Field in the Cloud’s Creek community, located about 1 mile on Delaware County E. 494 Road off U.S. Hwy 59, north of Kansas. The tournament runs each night until Friday, August 29, or four teams remain.
The final four teams play starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, August 30, at the Cherokee Heritage Center, 21192 S Keeler Drive, in Park Hill.
Interested teams can call King at 918-837-1940 or 918-253-4223, ext. 112, by 6 p.m. Saturday, August 23.
Other traditional Cherokee and non-traditional sporting events featured as part of the 62nd Cherokee National Holiday include the following:
10 a.m. – Stickball tournament at Sequoyah High School track, 17091 S Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Marcus Thompson at 918-453-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
5:30 p.m. – Stickball social game at the Cherokee Nation Male Seminary Recreation Center, 1501 Graham Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Marcus Thompson at 918-453-7886 or email@example.com.
9 a.m. – Horseshoe pitch competition west of the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Jody Slover at 918-822-2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Men and women’s fast-pitch softball tournaments and co-ed slow-pitch softball tournaments at the Cherokee Nation Softball Complex near Sequoyah Schools, 17091 S Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Sherwin Johnson at 918-696-5760.
Three golf tournaments hosted at Cherokee Springs Golf Course, 700 E Ballentine Road, Tahlequah. The Thursday tournament is a senior two-man scramble and the Friday tournament a two-man scramble for all ages. The Saturday tournament is a four-man scramble. Entry fee for all tournaments is $40 for Cherokee citizens and $50 for non-Cherokee citizens. All entries must be prepaid. Contact Cherokee Springs Golf Course at 918-456-5100.
3-on-3 basketball tournaments at the Cherokee Nation Male Seminary Recreation Center, 1501 Graham Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Kim Arneecher at email@example.com or Susan Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slow-pitch softball tournament at the Cherokee Nation Softball Complex near Sequoyah Schools, 17091 S Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Contact Sherwin Johnson at 918-696-5760.
7:30 a.m. – 5K holiday run begins at the Cherokee Nation War Memorial, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Registration is at 6 a.m. Cost is $20 on the day of the race. Contact Hillary Mead at email@example.com.
7:30 to 11 a.m. – Children’s fishing derby at the pond east of the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Professional angler Jason Christie will be on site to take photos and sign autographs, and 300 fishing poles will be given out to participants. Contact Ryan Callison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9 a.m. – co-ed volleyball tournament west of the W.W. Keeler Complex, 17675 S. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah. Entry deadline is August 22. Contact Denise Honawa at email@example.com.