Beloit daily news – business, t. boone pickens celebrates 90th birthday in style in dallas la gasolina letra


The Tulsa World reports five days a week, there were 6:30 a.m. treadmill-and-weights workouts. During a typical Friday, he might have breakfast in Dallas, lunch in New York and dinner at his 68,000-acre Mesa Vista ranch in the Texas Panhandle.

After sections of New Orleans were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Pickens was among the first to respond with a significant donation to the American Red Cross. He arranged to fly two planeloads of displaced dogs to California, where they were adopted into new homes.

Still a Dallas resident, Pickens recently made moves suggesting he is edging toward retirement. He sold his Gulfstream 550 jet and announced BP Capital was closed for business. His prized possession — his incredible ranch — is available for sale. The listed price is $250 million.

"When the ranch gets sold, it will leave a big hole for me," Pickens wrote during a recent email exchange with the Tulsa World. "But it’s the right thing to do. I can’t see the beautiful vistas as well as I once did, and my hunting days are over.

On a first-name basis with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and with entertainment figures including Warren Beatty and Burt Reynolds, the Pickens who had everything and did everything now aspires at 90 to be what he was at 88.

"I work hard every day, trying to get everything back," he wrote. "But along with the frustration is acceptance. There are two things I’ve enjoyed doing throughout my life. One is quail hunting, the other golf. I have macular degeneration and it’s progressed to the point I can’t shoot or hit a golf ball very well.

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy was among the crowd who gathered Saturday for Pickens’ 90th birthday party at the Dallas Country Club. Most of the 450 waited in a lengthy line to be photographed with Pickens, who wore an OSU orange blazer.

"I want to wish you a happy 90th birthday," Switzer said to Pickens. "I know it’s a big day for you, and I want to be a part of it. I have always said I wish you had been a Sooner. We have a geology school (at OU). It’s a little closer than going on to Stillwater another 80 miles.

"I know they named a stadium after you up there, but just think about it. If you had been a Sooner, you would have had the greatest rushing team in college football named after you: the wishBoone. How about that? Instead of the wishbone, it would have been the wishBoone. Happy birthday, big boy. Have a good one. Take care."

A few months earlier, Pickens shook up Bartlesville — at that time the home of Phillips Petroleum. Phillips was Pickens’ first employer after he graduated from Oklahoma State (then known as Oklahoma A&M) with a geology degree in 1951. In 1956, Pickens established Amarillo, Texas-based Mesa Petroleum.

"They hated (Pickens). It got ugly and dangerous," said Stillwell, who, as Pickens’ attorney, was aware of every aspect of the Phillips takeover bid. "We actually got afraid and pulled out of that deal, in some part at least, because of (threats).

That’s fiction, Stillwell insists today, "and we said that from the start. Boone said, ‘I and my team will move to Bartlesville.’ We were going to move to Bartlesville. Boone made that promise. (Phillips shareholders and Pickens’ opponents) chose not to believe it. In all of the takeover situations, Bartlesville was the most organized. The whole town got involved."

Bartlesville resident Beth Maddux became known as the "Cookie Lady." She orchestrated the baking of thousands of heart-shaped cookies, adorned with a Phillips 66 logo and sent to politicians as a way to call attention to Bartlesville’s potential loss of Phillips Petroleum.

"Phillips was all we had," Maddux said. "It made Bartlesville more special than it would have been otherwise. I don’t know what happened at home over the dinner table, but I don’t remember hearing one adult person say that they hated Boone Pickens.

"Boone isn’t heartless, and he wasn’t heartless back in the takeover days," Stillwell said. "It’s not like we were going to take over the company, steal all of the money and shoot all of the people. Our intent was to make it better — to make money for everybody."

In 1930, the University of Texas completed construction on Gregory Gym, a 4,000-seat basketball venue. Thomas Boone Pickens Jr. was there in 1946, when, as a junior guard for Amarillo High School, he ended the first half of a state quarterfinal game by converting on a half-court, buzzer-beating shot.

"When he was in his 30s, he looked like he was about 14. Towheaded and thin," Stillwell says. "He was ambitious and focused. He was a leader, and he was always funny. Always had a new joke, every time you saw him. I don’t know where he got them. Maybe the Lord gave jokes to him."

"Boone always wanted to take it to the max," Stillwell remembers. "Boone got the others to give him an age-adjustment equivalency on the numbers. If not outright, he always beat them on the age adjustment. It was a big deal to him. If he wins, he’ll stick it in your ear."

While workplace fitness centers are somewhat common today, they certainly were not 35 years ago. During his Mesa Petroleum years, Pickens was among the first CEOs to emphasize a fitness culture for employees. A workout facility was developed within the Mesa corporate headquarters in Amarillo, and Pickens would use it every day.

During a Cooper test, the treadmill’s incline and speed were increased every three minutes. The incline maximum was 18 degrees. The objective was for the participant to log as many minutes as he or she could possibly endure. Pickens consistently rated among the top 1 percent in his age group.

In 2009, Pickens and media members were given a tour of OSU’s 20,000-square-foot strength-and-conditioning facility — a facility made possible primarily by Pickens’ donations. Clad in a tailored suit, Pickens didn’t hesitate to take a seat at a machine and knock out a set of chest-press repetitions.

"A few strokes and a bad fall later have really altered my perspective," Pickens continued. "I’m clearly in the fourth quarter and time is not my friend. I have come to accept and even embrace my mortality. Those who saw me at the OSU home games (in 2017) saw my mobility isn’t great.

"Boone’s got some health issues, but I see him and think of him as the way he’s always been," Holder said. "He still gets up every day with a positive, can-do attitude. He’s trying to get better physically and make tomorrow better than today.

"Other than my wife, the greatest blessing in my life has been Boone Pickens. And the most significant thing that ever happened in the history of Oklahoma State University is when Boone transferred from Texas A&M to OSU. We wouldn’t look anything like we do today if not for Boone Pickens."

"It’s a draining job, but one you look forward to every day because there is a new adventure every day," Rosser said. "I’ve learned so much from him. He is a whirling dervish of ideas and action. To be a part of that is incredible. It’s not for the faint of heart, though.