Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

For all your underage drinking needs, see Bootlegger Willie

Mom, I know you’re reading this, and I want you to close this tab on your computer and forget that today is Wednesday and that I have a post on The Lost Ogle.

Well, readers, now that my mom is gone, I want to talk to you about the sacred institution that is underage drinking. Not only did I partake in this pastime, but I like to think that I was a bit of a professional. You see, when my friend Samantha’s older brother wasn’t buying our booze for us (the standard order being a six-pack of Coronas and a bottle of Captain Morgan), we were a bit more enterprising. And thanks to the fine fellas of the UCO Alpha Tau Omega house, we never went without.

But what do you do if you don’t have a friend with an older sibling or an overly developed friend for whom the frat boys would do anything? I suppose you talk to “Bootlegger Willie”, or at least that’s what the kids down in Chickasha were doing until Bootlegger Willie was arrested for selling to minors.

According to the story on KFOR.com:

Grady County Sheriff Art Kell said, “This guy was buying alcohol from liquor stores, taking it to his house and selling it to anybody who would come up there. That’s why they call him the bootlegger.”

“Bootlegger Willie” to locals is really 84-year-old Lawrence Hayden.

The sheriff said his “operation” was a well-kept secret for years.

The sheriff was patrolling the Grady County Fairgrounds recently when he came upon a group of teens who were clearly intoxicated.

One of the kids was so drunk he nearly fell out of the car.

The sheriff told them, go to jail, or cooperate.

“They told me about this guy named ‘Bootlegger,’” Kell said. “I said, ‘Who’s this bootlegger?’ He’s been selling alcohol to anyone who wants it.”

Using an 18-year-old informant, the Grady County Sheriff launched a sting.

He sent the teen in with a marked $20.

The young man returned with an 80-proof bottle of Sunny Brook Kentucky Blended Whiskey.

The alleged bootlegger was arrested for selling to a minor.

It’s probably a good thing that they didn’t release the name of the 18-year old informant, because that kid would totally be getting his ass kicked outside the field house after school. And if it was so boring growing up in Edmond that we spent so much time drinking (even our cheerleaders got suspended for drinking vodka and taking Valium in the bathroom during a basketball game to numb the pain that is Edmond), I can only imagine how bad it is in Chickasha. At least Edmond kids can escape to Oklahoma City on Friday nights and hang out with 25-year old men with tattoos who play in bands. Where can the Chickasha kids go when they want to pretend to be tougher than they are?

Also, can I just take a moment to commend Bootlegger Willie? Though he didn’t technically earn his title by bootlegging (but I bet he’s old enough to maybe remember making a still back in the day), he is a prime example of a successful small business. He saw a demand in the market, and he took advantage. In this economy, fortune truly favors the bold, and the bold sell $8 bottles of crappy whiskey to teenagers for $20.


  1. We had Mohammad’s store. Or my fake ID friend Chris. Got busted his senior year because his picture was in the paper for being a graduate.

  2. We had a guy like that where I grew up. You drove up to his house, honked the horn, he came out and you drove him to the liquor store and his pay was a pack of smokes. Back then, smokes were like $1.10 a pack. Easy!

  3. Anybody else get there booze in the city from the fat guy named Pepe that worked at little ceasers?

    Also out on NW 10th near Yukon/mustang a convenience store guy would ring you up at the register, you would drive around back, he’d open the back door carrying your cases of beer and put them in your car. That’s bootlegging right there.

    And If it weren’t for lyrewood lane convenience stores I would never have started smoking at 15.

      • the guy at the Sands on I-40 and Rockwell was a great source too. He’d get all nervous looking out the window as you put your 40’s on the counter. He’d wrap them up and send you on your way.
        I’m surprised I’m not dead from all of the underage drinking I did.
        Oh and hot liquor store Little Kings….ugh

  4. This guy would have made a fortune in my hometown. My nerdy friends and I were probably the only people who didn’t drink before we were 21. Everyone — even the adults — knew where the popular drinking spots were, so the kids had to keep choosing new spots. There was a scandal one year when a teacher’s husband bought alcohol for some kids during the senior trip to Florida. Even one of my youth group teachers once said that she’d buy alcohol for her son’s high school graduation party because then he could drink while being supervised. Who cares if that’s illegal? It’s part of being a good Christian parent!

  5. This procedure was very popular in small Oklahoma towns that either had no liquor store or were small enough where everybody knew everybody and didn’t always have a dad that would go buy it for you.

    Our bootlegger was Little Tom. We got busted by the county sheriff for going there one night. Memories.

  6. In my small Oklahoma town we had a liquor store where the dirty old man would sell to anybody (I looked young for my age). The best day was went I went to church with my mom and turned to greet the people behind me and it was the liquor store man!
    My parents used to by me booze so we could have parties at home and I turned out okay.

  7. Agree that this was common in small towns. One roadhouse at the edge of my small town would sell six packs to anyone tall enough to peer over bar. You had to pick up your booze at the side door. I had a friend who worked at a gas station/store who would sell it to us. But back then you only had to be 18 so many high school seniors could drink legally anyway.

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