WHOOP-UP QUEEN — Courtney Anderson smiles to the crowd during the general parade on Saturday morning before the rodeo started. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
The Conrad Lions Club, Mother Nature and others combined to put together a glorious Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration and Rhubarb Festival over the weekend.
Dan Wilcox, President of the Lions Club and a tireless worker at the 71st annual event commented, “We were definitely blessed with two days of good weather.”
“It all went well,” he added, “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of fun and a lot of people are involved in putting this together.”
Wilcox said the final numbers wouldn’t be available until all the bills are in and paid, but noted that Saturday was a record day at the rodeo grounds and Sunday was really good as well.
Concession sales were up, the beer concession sales were up and many, many people came out for the breakfast on Saturday morning.
Wilcox also commented that a $1 from all those that entered through the gate, will go the Conrad Community Cancer Foundation.
They are already going to receive $1,375 from a 50/50 drawing on Sunday. Sam Knobel won $1,375 in the drawing. Originally the plan was to give a $1 for all those who wore pink on Sunday but the Lions Club decided to move the donation up to a $1 from the gate tickets.
Proceeds from the two-day rodeo stay with the Lions Club and will be used to help out local projects, such as large print books for the library and Boys’ State to name only two.
“That’s what it is all about,” beamed Wilcox, “staying here and helping others.”
Winner from the Rhubarb Festival in the leaf contest were Cheryl Tornga taking first and second with Ruth Wright placing third.
Following are the winners from the general and children’s parade.
In the float division winners were 1. The Garden Club, 2. The Red Hat Society, 3. The Sparkettes of Montana, 4. Boy Scouts, 5. Golden Triangle Gymnastics and 6. Conrad Life Guard.
In the Horse Division, for adults it was Rib Gustafson, Youth Jade Rodriguez, and Driving Rig, the Shriners.
Joan Jensen, Darin Stanley, Cindie Vandenberg, Mike Lytle and Gerald Miller coordinated the general parade.
In the children’s parade, Pet Division, the winners were: 1. Shae Shepherd and Amber Keil with Mavis Bacon Pig, 2. Casey Burrows with Rodrick Turkey and 3. Candice Burrows with Dog Duke.
In the Bike division, the winners were; 1. Hunter and Aspen Petrosky, 2. James Shepherd and Caden Huntsinger and 3. Naomi Yeager and Morgan Taeckes.
For other wheels, it was 1. The Walter Group, 2. Hannah, Sierra, and Zoe (last names not available) and 3. Morgan Johnston.
In the Costume Division, it was 1. The Bucklins and VanDykes with the Wizard of Oz group and Giard’s group.
1st Liberty Credit Union sponsored the Children’s Parade ribbons and C. Vandenberg coordinated the parade.
Perhaps the talk of the Saturday morning activities in Conrad was the PMC Relay Race on Main St. after the big parade.
A portion of the race is to push an individual in a wheelchair 25 yards up Main St. “Invited” to be a team, Gordon Smedsrud and Kelly Buxel became a team in the race.
The race itself is a four-leg race and in the first leg, Buxel put on hospital garb and ran down the street to a waiting wheelchair which she would sit in while Smedsrud pushed her back to another teammate.
Following is a recounted story of what happened next as told by Smedsrud.
“I was going to push Kelly back to our friend Jamie who then would get in the wheelchair blindfolded and wheel herself back to the second line where Bob would be waiting to run back to the original line with a full bedpan (don’t worry, it’s just water).”
“Oh yes, at each leg of the race, we had to take off and put on that hospital garb that Kelly started with. What could go wrong?
So, the starting call was made and all three teams frantically put on the cumbersome clothing. Due to some technical problems, Kelly was the last one in, so we had some time to make-up (this was the beginning of the problem).
“After Kelly got her duds off and I got them on, we took off down the street in our state-of-the-art racing wheelchair (manufactured sometime during the Kennedy administration I’m pretty sure).
The crowd was cheering and impressed by our Cinderella effort and the blazing speed of the wheelchair. Things looked good, then, the shear speed and power of our efforts were too much for the undercarriage of this finely tuned racer and the front left wheel shattered, sending the front of the chair deep into the pavement.”
“OK, it dragged a little, but it stopped our effort abruptl y. The chair flew forward sending Kelly skidding into the street. I flew over the chair right after her. Not wanting to land on top of her I tried to avoid her and did, unfortunately this caused me to use my forehead for landing gear; many people thought this was lucky on my part.
“We were both taken to the PMC by a very concerned Lisa Hanson (my sister) and released with minor injuries.”
“We lost this time, but we will be back next year to redeem ourselves. I understand we put on a good show for the crowd, everybody likes to see someone hit the wall in a race!”