The Sound of Sirens

TulsaStormSkyThe Arkansas River in Tulsa the night before the stormLiving out of a suitcase has taught me that travels are put at the mercy of Mother Nature. Due to a lifestyle spent on the road, I often feel desensitized to weather advisories. However, my trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the Breeder’s Invitational (BI), served as a reminder to how terrifying weather watches can be.

After an exciting day at the BI, I looked forward to kicking my boots off and enjoying the comforts of a hotel bed. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Less than two hours later, I was wakened by an alert from my iPhone and a blaring sound outside my window-tornado sirens. I immediately rose from my bed and began scrambling for shoes. Being at the show all weekend, my options were limited. The most immediate clothing choice happened to be sweatpants and boots, but there wasn’t time for style.

With a racing heart, I searched my brain for the best plan of action. I poked my head out of the door and noticed three children in matching pajamas carrying pillows being ushered to the stairwell by their parents. Assuming they had experienced this before, I mimicked the children by grabbing my pillow and followed the family down the stairwell.

I continued to tag along with the family to the first floor, where we found a spot to sit. The hallway was lined with families and I couldn’t help but reminisce about the times I took cover from tornados with my family.

From running to the coliseum at the Texas High School Rodeo finals in Abilene, Texas, to hiding in the bathroom of the racing office of Lone Star Park, I had done this drill before, but never alone. Without missing a beat, I reached for my phone to call my mother, so that she could be a part of this memory too.

Fortunately, my scare at the BI also included a safe ending. After 45 minutes in the hallway, the sirens stopped and everyone returned to their rooms. The 2015 BI will be memorable for many reasons, but for me, it will always be the year the tornado sirens went off.

Where did you take cover at this year’s BI? What strange places has Mother Nature sent you to find shelter? Share your weather memories with us by sending an email to [email protected].