2018 Spring Celebration a Success!

Images from 2018 Spring Celebration - Courtesy of Mike Saft, Graphics Central

The Second Annual Home on the Range Spring Celebration on April 14th was a success in spite of the unusual weather. Although not a round of golf was played, all of the other events were completed as planned.  Many people who were not able to attend this year still made donations. Attendance at the supper and movie were fewer than expected due to the cold weather. However, we thank those who did attend. In addition, we thank those who braved the blizzard conditions to attend the brunch at the Smith Center Country Club Saturday morning.

Although attendance at some Home on the Range events has been affected through the years due to heat, blizzard and competition, the Ellen Rust Living Trust, now Peoples Heartland Foundation has never had a failed event. Success for this year’s Spring Celebration was guaranteed by the support of sponsors and underwriters contacted by Mark McClain and Mitch and Tami Holthus. Besides continued outstanding local support, much of the support for the last two Spring Celebrations came from outside Smith County by design. Mitch told me last year that it would be great to ease the burden of the local sponsors by recruiting some outside support. This approach also exposes the Home on the Range site and mission, as well as the surrounding region, to an expanded audience that may not be aware of it. A list of sponsors may be viewed in the window of Graphics Central in Smith Center.

The Pickleball activities were a tremendous success. We had 37 teams of 2 people each who played on 8 courts in the Smith Center High School Gymnasium. That means there were 32 players competing at the same time. Grandparents teamed with grandchildren, parents with children. Parents played children, athletes played athletes, and competition was fun and fierce.

 Thank you to all who participated in the Home on the Range 2018 Spring Celebration and to the sponsors who made it possible! Photo courtesy of Mike Saft,  Graphics Central

Thank you to all who participated in the Home on the Range 2018 Spring Celebration and to the sponsors who made it possible! Photo courtesy of Mike Saft, Graphics Central

The winners of the Beginners Division were Starr Jacobs and Linda Pletcher. (Note that Linda competed on the day of her 50th Wedding Anniversary!) Winners of the Intermediate Division were Jennie and John Franklin. Winners of the Competitive Division were Truitt Kuhlmann and Lewis Frazier.

Other awards: Best Recruiters: Tim and Dayna Weltmer Best Outfits: Brock Hutchinson and Tug Keiswetter Most Courageous Player “Sausage” Awards: Starr Jacobs (for being the first person to enter the tournament) and Paul Hansen of Kansas City Demdaco “Lift the Spirit” Award: Truitt Kuhlmann and Lewis Frazier Chicken N Pickle “Big Dill” Awards: Jacob Sasse and Linda Pletcher Home on the Range Pioneer Spirit Awards (for traveling the farthest West): Bob Levy of Lexington, MO and Austin Woodard of Joplin, MO.

To learn the details and rules of Pickleball you can check it out on Google. Some readers may wonder why a charitable that identifies with a historic property would support an activity such as Pickleball? The mission statement of The Peoples Heartland Foundation in addition to maintaining the HOR Site includes education and community support. Pickleball has been played in area schools, but many of those competing were learning and playing the game for the first time.

Mitch and Tami solicited the support of Chicken N Pickle who brought a vanload of people and Pickleball equipment from Kansas City early Saturday morning and arrived in Smith Center in blizzard conditions. Chicken N Pickle worked with Greg Koelsch, Smith Center High School Principal, and Brock Hutchinson to administer the tournament and make it a success.  A lot of enthusiasm and positive discussion was created by the Pickleball tournament and we expect an even bigger and better tournament next year.

And, we're having another Pickleball event THIS SUMMER in Kansas City! Please mark your calendars for "Home on the Range at Chicken N Pickle" on June 23rd. Everyone's invited!  Stay tuned for more information.

The Home on the Range Comprehensive Site Plan by Joshua Lippold is on display at Graphics Central. Mike Saft designed the poster. If you have any questions please contact me.

Article written by ElDean Holthus, published in Smith County Pioneer, 4-19-18