“We’re number 1!” That cry goes up in sports arenas across the country. Today, around Kansas Day, the state of Kansas can point to many Kansas firsts. These are accomplishments in addition to sports where our state was number one in historic developments.
Marci Penner is executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, author, and passionate advocate for rural Kansas. Her organization’s website, www.kansassampler.org, plus Kansapedia and other online sources list numerous cases where Kansas was number 1.
For example, the first U.S. patent for a helicopter was issued to Kansans William Purvis and Charles Wilson of Goodland. They invented the helicopter in 1909. A replica of their original helicopter can be viewed at the High Plains Museum in Goodland.
In addition to helicopters, other Kansans made their mark in aviation. The booming airplane production in Wichita led to that city being called the “air capital of the world.”
It is great to bring a bunch of community representatives together to publicize their communities’ assets and attractions. It would be even better to go see and actually experience those attractions first-hand. That’s the type of thinking which has led to a brand new initiative in 2018. It’s the first-ever Big Kansas Road Trip.
Marci Penner is director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation and founder of the Kansas Explorers club. WenDee Rowe is assistant director. For 28 years, their foundation organized the Kansas Sampler Festival. The purpose of the festival was to provide the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy, and learn in the state.
Let’s go exploring – not in some far-away land, but right here in Kansas. We now have a new guidebook which can tell us about wonderful communities, sights to see, and great places to eat, within our own state.
Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe are director and assistant director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation and co-authors of The Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers.
As we have previously profiled, Marci grew up on her family’s farm near Inman. She went to Kansas University and the University of Wisconsin and was a guidance counselor back east before returning to Kansas.
Marci’s father, Mil was a farmer, conservationist, entrepreneur, writer and self-taught photographer. In the 1980s, he published a coffee table photo essay book. Readers admired the pictures and asked, “How do you get to those places?”
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.