Every year the Tulsa’s Sheriff’s office organizes sting operations to catch vendors failing to check identification cards when serving alcohol at the Tulsa State Fair. On Friday- deputies caught six vendors serving either, beer, wine, or alcohol to minors.
“We know sometimes it is vendor fatigue,” said Major Shannon Clark. “They are standing on their feet all day long serving and checking and then one slips by them, but that one might be one of our kids.”
The Sheriff’s office works with ABLE, Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, to crack down on vendors during the fair. They “hire” minors to go up to the vendors and ask them for a drink. If the vendor serves them one, then they are approached by a deputy and either, warned, or written a warrant, or fined.
“I am checking your ID,” said Tammi Hulsey. Hulsey has been serving frozen margaritas at the fair for nine years. “It doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 87, that’s the oldest I have ID-ed.”
Hulsey knows she can face a fine of $2,500 or five years in the penitentiary for serving alcohol that is over 3.2 percent to a minor. Her vendor booth keeps a date listed every day of the fair of the birthday you have to have to legally drink. She said that helps the vendor fatigue.
“In the nine years we have been here we have never failed a deputy sting operation,” said Hulsey.
Josh Pate is a first time beer vendor.
“I was surprised the kids even try it,” said Pate.
Pate said he even asks the older people to show their IDs just in case they are undercover people who are hoping to catch me not asking at all.
“If the ID looks different I’ll ask what’s your address and the younger ones will usually give me a mean look and walk away; I think they should be embarrassed,” said Pate.
For selling beer to a minor the fine is $1,000 or a year in jail.