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Okie from Muskogee: Bates encourages others in community – Muskogee Daily Phoenix

Mainly sunny to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High 62F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph..
Mostly clear. Low near 40F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: November 14, 2021 @ 10:26 am
muskogeephoenix.com
Triirmain Bates serves a drive-thru diner from his window at Fatt Fries. He said his landlord told him about the location.
Triirmain Bates clips Matt LeGrand’s hair at Fatt Fades. Bates keeps an autographed football jersey from Stacy McGee, his Muskogee High classmate, in the shop. 

Triirmain Bates serves a drive-thru diner from his window at Fatt Fries. He said his landlord told him about the location.
Triirmain Bates clips Matt LeGrand’s hair at Fatt Fades. Bates keeps an autographed football jersey from Stacy McGee, his Muskogee High classmate, in the shop. 
Triirmain Bates recalled exciting times growing up in Muskogee.
“There was always something to do,” he said.”We had fairs, carnivals. They had activity centers. The mall was popping.”
Bates recalled the friends he made at the old Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.
“We’d speak with each other, hang with each other. We’ve had some memorable moments,” he said. “We made friends we still have, like brothers and sisters today. We used to walk to Elliott Park to go swimming. We’d go to CiCi’s Pizza in Tulsa. We had basketball tournaments.”
Another MLK Center memory was meeting the girl who would be his wife.
“I was 9 years old; she was 11,” Bates said. “She was friends with my cousin, and they were friends for years. And when I met her, I fell in love. And I had been chasing her for years.”
He said he and his wife have been together for 10 years. 
Bates also recalled wonderful dishes his mother made.
“Mom was a soul food artist,” he said. “From the neck bones to the chicken wings, everything was good.”
He said that what made her food good “was the love she put in it.”
Bates said he learned to cook from his mother and eventually made a business out of what he learned.
First, he took a few detours. Bates attended Tulsa Welding School to become a certified welder.
“I was working job to job,” he said. “I found out there was a shortage on barbers, and I saw there was money to be made in barbering.”
He set up his barbershop after attending Clary-Sage College. He also kept a meat smoker outside the barbershop and ran a catering business. 
Bates now owns Fatt Fades Barbershop and Fatt Fries drive-thru.
He also seeks to help today’s Muskogee youth have memorable times. He has hosted outdoor events and Juneteenth celebrations at Rotary Park.
Becoming a 
barber to fill need
Triirmain Bates said he got into barbering to serve a community need.
“There’s not a lot of licensed barbers,” he said. “I am basically the barber of the new era.”
That new era involves using social media often.
Bates said his favorite part of his job is “being in my own space and controlling the atmosphere.”
“Basically, I’m a multicultural barber,” he said. “People come in, they want Mohawks, comb-overs, bald fades — that’s when the haircut is bald on the bottom and faded up to the top. Taper fades, when you fade the nape and neck.”
A fade haircut involves cutting hair at the sides and back as close as possible with clippers, then tapering toward the top.
Bates sports dreadlocks.
The shop, located around the corner of a strip shopping center, has become a good place to hang out and visit, he said.
“Definitely a pillar of the community,” he said.
The shop gets especially busy from noon to 3 p.m.
“It gets crazy,” Bates said. “We’ll have about 25 to 30 customers.”
Three other people work at the shop, including a woman who specializes in braids and another who specializes in dreadlocks, he said. 
“Once you learn the craft, it’s uphill from there,” he said, adding that hair enhancements and replacements are the coming thing.
“Basically help a bald-headed man have hair,” he said.
Barbershop leads
to restaurant opening 
Bates’ barbershop helped lead to another venture.
“I would always have my smoker outside my barber shop,” he said. “The landlord that I was renting my house from came and said she had a restaurant that had been sitting for 14 years and she wanted somebody to be in it.”
He said seeing the building inspired him to do a drive-thru.
“I wanted something quick, but also something that was going to be efficient,” he said. “That’s when I came up with Fatt Fries.”
He described his fare as “kind of a carnival food, but we’re bringing it to everyday life now.”
By “carnival food,” Bates means steak fries or waffle fries, with cheese and a variety of meat including brisket, chicken, pork, shrimp and lobster.
“All that on top of fries,” he said.
The place is in a prime location, right off Shawnee Bypass, he said.
“You’re in the midst of real competition like McDonald’s and Taco Bueno,” he said. “China King is a popular restaurant, so everyone knows where China King is, they’re definitely going to know where Fatt Fries is. It’s definitely a prime location.”
Bates said he tries to cook with the same love his mother puts into her cooking.
“You want it to taste like how you would eat it,” he said. “If it sets your tastebuds on fire, it’s going to set everyone else’s on fire.” 
Active in
community 
Bates also seeks to be involved in the community.
“To keep the community together, to build community and give people hope that there is people out here that are going to help, that are going to motivate them, be there for them if they need them.”
He has hosted Juneteenth celebrations at Rotary Park for two years and “balloon fights” for four years.
Bates said the balloon fights are “basically to get the community all together to where they can hang in the park all summer, have fun.”
The balloon fights are held at the end of each school year.
The events feature motivational speeches, as well as booths from area businesses and vendors.
He said he already is working on the 2022 Juneteenth celebration.
“We already have people donating. It’s going to be a big holiday,” he said.
Motivational speakers include professional athletes such as Stacy McGee, a Muskogee High graduate who went on to play professional football in Oakland, Washington and Arizona.
Bates said he hopes to motivate youth to go to college and “see things in a different perspective of what society wants them to see.”
“I want them to be business owners and not have to depend on nobody,” he said. “Show them a different mindset.”
Q and A 
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“The love of the city keeps me here. I was born and raised here.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“I love the love around here. We have a togetherness that is unmatched in any city. I have a lot of family here. There’s just a lot of love.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“More events. We need places like Incredible Pizza or Chuck E. Cheese, a community center, basically a night life.”
WHAT PERSON HERE IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
“Traci McGee. She’s a role model in the community. She’s on the city council, and she’s making a move for the community.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“Opening up my businesses. It changed the atmosphere. More people started believing in themselves, that they could do it because I could do it. More people are opening their eyes.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“When I’m not working, we’re taking the kids to an event. Spend quality time, go out to eat. Go to events at The Palace. Just have family time.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“Muskogee has a laid back atmosphere that has a lot of potential of being great.” 
Meet Triirmain Bates.
AGE: 31.
HOMETOWN: Muskogee.
EDUCATION: Pershing Elementary; Alice Robertson 7th and 8th Grade Center; Muskogee High School, class of 2008.
PROFESSION: Owner of Fatt Fries; barber, owner of Fatt Fades.
FAMILY: Wife, Danecia; daughter and two stepsons.
CHURCH: Antioch Temple of Hope.
HOBBIES: “Working and being with my kids.” 

age 87, died Wednesday November 10, 2021. Services 1pm Monday November 15, 2021 at Lescher-Millsap Funeral Service Chapel in Muskogee. Viewing Sunday 1pm to 8 pm.
57, Freeman passed away Thursday, October 28, 2021. Celebration of life will be held 11:00am -1:00 at Berean Seventh Day Adventist 622 with Southside Blvd., Muskogee, OK 74401
57, Freeman passed away Thursday, October 28, 2021. Celebration of life will be held 11:00am-1:00pm at Berean Seventh Day Adventist 622 W. South Side Blvd Muskogee, OK 74401
41, of Checotah, passed away Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Memorial Service: 2:00pm, Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at Serenity Chapel, Garrett Family Funeral Home, Checotah. You may offer online condolences to Jared’s family at www.garrettfamilyfuneralhome.com
87, of Muskogee, Ok passed on 11/5/2021. Services Tuesday 11/16/2021 at 12:00PM in The People’s Chapel-Biglow Funeral Directors, Inc., of Muskogee. Viewing on Monday 11/15/2021 from 1PM to 6PM in the Biglow Muskogee Chapel biglowfunerals.com
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