Red Dirt Diaries: Remembering The Flying Queens

Friday, March 27th 2015, 6:45 pm
By: Karl Torp

The NCAA tournament, for both men and women may have you on the edge or your seat.

There's a team with strong Oklahoma ties that not only dealt with the pressures of winning, but excelled at it.

"We did alright," laughed Judy Bugher from Slaughterville, who played four years at Wayland Baptist in Plainview, Texas.

The tiny school became the winningest amateur basketball team in US history during the 1950's.

"More fun than I ever could have thought," said Bugher, who graduated from Wayland in 1959.

Thanks to sponsor Claude Hutcherson, the owner of an air service company, The "Flying Queens" as they became known, traveled like the pros.

"We stayed in the best hotels. We ate the best food," said Bugher.

Nearly two decades before Title IX, giving women equal opportunities in school sports, the Flying Queens battled Amateur Athletic Union teams all over the country.

"We had the all the same anxieties that all the teams now have," said Bugher about her pre-game jitters.

Nerves almost never got the best of the ladies.

Bogher, along with quite a few Oklahoman teammates, became part of a winning streak that stretched some 131 games. The number is unheard of today.

Right now, filmmakers are raising money to put together a documentary on the Flying Queens and their historic run. The team was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

The only thing in the past for these ladies is the basketball.

Their friendships live on.

"It's like when we get back together it's like we never apart," said Bougher, who still gets together with her fellow teammates even if they haven't played for more than 50 years. 

Learn more about the documentary and the project to fund it. 

We're always looking for unique Oklahomans and places. If you have a story to tell, go to our Red Dirt Diaries page and fill out the form.