Oklahoma’s oil industry story has never been more colorful than when brought to life by two state legislators.
Representative Tom Gann (R) and Senator Marty Quinn (R) brought the world of “Petro Pete” to life when they visited a first grade classroom at Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor and read ‘Petro Pete’s Big Bad Dream.’
OERB scheduled the book reading event after teacher Jennifer Merritt won their contest. Merritt read the book to her students, then submitted photos of students holding “their favorite petroleum by-products,” according to OERB’s contest rules.
Photos were submitted and voted on and Merritt’s class emerged the winner.
“The book is about Petro Pete talking to his dog, Repete, about how he didn’t know how many things he owned were petroleum by-products. Then he has a dream that everything made from petroleum doesn’t exist and how his life would be different without petroleum,” Merritt explained.
Pete, the main character, dreams himself into a world without petroleum and wakes to find everyday items, like his toothbrush and bike tires, missing.
Quinn read to the students about Pete’s class— “We also learned about the tall metal derrick that is used to drill down to get the petroleum…”
After several colorful pages, Pete wakes from his dream to realizes “…having no petroleum is like a nightmare.”
Each student was given their own copy of the book to follow along while the legislators read about characters like Mrs. Rigwell and Sammy Shale—Pete’s teacher and classmate.
After the reading, Gann said he was thrilled to have been asked to participate.
“This is something they deal with every day —they live with it. They need to know where they get their food, how it’s cooked and a lot of times people don’t make those connections to the natural resource that we have,” Gann told The Times, adding that he loves reading to kids and has lots of practice with his grandkids.