By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
“Let’s go one lap around.” That sounds easy. But what if that one lap didn’t refer to the local walking track? What if it referred to one lap – around the entire globe? This week, we’ll meet a young Kansas couple who took on the amazing goal of circumnavigating the globe by themselves.
Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring are the remarkable young couple who made this amazing journey. Heidi grew up near Dallas. Kale grew up at St. Francis, Kansas. He studied information technology at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, a rural community of 4,489 people. Now, that’s rural.
After graduation, Kale’s IT career took him to Phoenix where he met Heidi. The two shared lots of interests, including nutrition, coffee and travel. They had an incredible idea: What if they could travel around the world on a shoestring budget?
“I’d like a non-smoking room for one night, please – with plenty of prairie hay in it.” That probably doesn’t sound like a typical request at your local lodging establishment. It demonstrates the unique needs of someone traveling with horses.
When going across country with a horse in a trailer, that equine can’t just check into the room next to you at the motel. Today we’ll meet a rural Kansas woman who has built a business by hosting equestrian travelers.
Terri Anderson is the founder and owner of the SlideonInn Horse Hotel near Goodland. Terri grew up at Oberlin. Her parents had been involved with horses, but her dad was killed in a tractor accident when she was little.
“I begged my mom for a horse every single day,” Terri said. “She finally gave in. I think she figured I would get tired of doing chores pretty quickly, but it didn’t work.”
“There oughta be an app for that.” This statement is frequently heard as there is increasing demand for applications on our portable electronic devices. Today we’ll learn about an innovative technical college which is helping students do the coding necessary to develop more software applications.
Ben Schears is president of Northwest Kansas Technical College – called Northwest Tech for short – in Goodland.
Ben grew up in rural Lyon County between the towns of Olpe, population 548, and Hartford, population 371 people. Now, that’s rural.
“I admit, I was not the best student in high school and probably didn’t show much promise,” Ben said. “I was more interested in sports and girls.” At the urging of his school counselor, he went to Flint Hills Technical College in Emporia during his last two years of high school where he learned heating and cooling technical skills.
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.