If you’ve driven down S. Main Street in Sapulpa anytime during the last four months, you may have noticed a cleared lot between W Thompson Ave & W Lincoln Ave where preparations are being made for new businesses. While everybody was getting ready in the late afternoon for Super Bowl 53 last February 3rd, former Army First Lieutenant Howie Rosser was treasure hunting this particular area with his Garrett AT Pro metal detector. And before the Patriots scored their win against the Rams 13 to 3, earning another Super Bowl ring, this local patriot scored his ring… finding a 10K gold ring from Sapulpa High School Class of 1961!
Howie started metal detecting April 2014 fulfilling a childhood dream he had of treasure hunting with a metal detector. “Back when I was 10 years old” Howie recalls, “the kid across the street would find all kinds of cool relics in his own backyard with a metal detector. I never could afford the machine I wanted so I put the idea away for years until I met a metal detector distributor at the Fair one day and now that I’ve gotten into metal detecting as an older adult, my only regret is not getting started this earlier.”
When elaborating on the hobby, Howie goes onto say “Some people think it’s just an old man’s hobby fueled by the fantasy of finding a treasure chest of gold’ but it’s more than that… It’s more like an adult version of Easter Egg Hunting but you never know what you’ll find! In recent years the hobby has gained wide popularity for all ages thanks to the reality show ‘Diggers’ that came out in 2013 on National Geographic.”
Howie is also known by the nickname of “Triple H” among his fellow treasure hunters & club members which stands for “Happy Hunter Howie.” He definitely was happy when he found his first class ring while hunting in Sapulpa.
While some people consider this situation “finders, keepers, losers, weepers,” Howie was not about to violate the metal detector enthusiast’s ethical code, so he did the right thing making the effort to track down the owner to return it to them. Initials “DJH” inside the ring led Howie in his search to the only person with those initials: 1961 graduate of Sapulpa High School David Joe Hughes known as “Hot Rod” for his love of cars. Unfortunately, upon further investigation, it was discovered from an obituary done by the Sapulpa Times that David Joe Hughes had passed away June 2018 at the age of 75. From the article, Howie learned that he had a daughter who lived in Louisiana named “Sonni Jo” after him, just spelled different. Howie found Sonni Jo on Facebook and messaged her about his discovery. It was never determined how the ring came to be lost where it was found and that it ever existed. Sonni Jo was very grateful that Howie reached out to her; She had never ever seen the senior pic of her father that he shared with her. She told him the story that her parents divorced when she was five years old and she grew up with her mother. Her father David took over her grandpas mechanic shop with his sister, her aunt. He became a very well known mechanic in Sapulpa and even built his own cars. Back in the day the shop was known as D & S Auto; Today it is called Midtown Auto & Diesel… located across the street from Sapulpa City Hall.
Sonni Jo last spoke to her father in 2014 and then was informed that his health was not doing well in the summer of 2018. When she made the road trip with a cousin from Louisiana, it was too late and she did not get to say goodbye.
***A few weeks before Sonni Jo had been contacted by Howie, she had a few sleepless nights where she would pray to her father David having regrets about not seeing him once more before he died. Buried treasure, a class ring, unearthed or “resurrected” after over 50 years, finally brought a message of peace for her and gave closure. Even though Howie wanted to give her the ring, Sonni Jo wanted him to keep it since it was his first class ring find… and agreed to stay in touch as friends on social media.
Howie told the Sapulpa Times,
“I used to think history was… well, just that; history! Because of this hobby, I’m determined to recover, preserve, & share history with others. This is one of the few hobbies that pays for itself and the bonus is the people I meet and the new friends I make. It is very rewarding! The most important thing to keep in mind is that the gift of salvation & healing that our Savior Jesus Christ brings is more valuable than any other treasure that we could dig up or find… I believe that’s what happened here with a heart being healed.”
Howie has found Civil War relics such as a three ringer bullet (also known as a Minié ball or Minni ball), a musket ball, and a U.S. General Service cuff button, all of which are at least 154 years old (The end of the Civil War was 1865).
His oldest coin find iis an 1881 Indian Head Penny.
His best silver coin find is a silver 1917 Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
Howie’s rarest coin find is a 1914 D Wheat Penny valued at $175.00.
Howie’s most valuable find was a recovery request; 18KT gold bracelet valued at $1,500.00
Howie’s most interesting recent find is a cache of shooting medals & badges found over a period of time since February of this year in the Red Fork area. Howie found 6 medals, 8 pins/badges, & 15 plates and one of his hunting buddies in the same place found 11 medals, 10 pins/ badges, 11 plates.
Howie has helped people with his ring rescue & relic recovery skills. “I will help you find your lost ring, bracelet, necklace, charm, earring, or key. I’m the water, on the land, in the mud, or in the sand… I’m the one to lend you a hand!” Call Howie Rosser “Triple H” 918-671-1746
By: Howie R.