Let’s go to a party. No, not a birthday party or bowl game party. This is a special event in a very rural community. This party is helping to promote peace in the world, one personal encounter at a time.
Last week we learned about Dusty Turner, organizer and promoter of annual motorcycle rallies including one in Cedar Vale, Kansas. These yearly motorcycle rallies have brought dozens of people to Cedar Vale and raised money for local community needs. These rallies are promoted through an online forum of Moto Guzzi motorcycle enthusiasts.
The fun of the motorcycle ride and the interaction with the community has been a win-win relationship. “The mayor of Cedar Vale said she has seen an uptick in civic pride because outsiders are showing an interest in their little town,” Dusty said.
A motorcyclist rides into town – and then another, and another. It’s a motorcycle rally – and not just any rally, but a rally to support a rural community and ultimately, to bring people together.
Dusty Turner is an organizer and promoter of special events in Kansas and Oklahoma. He grew up in northeastern Oklahoma where, at an early age, he discovered a passion for motorcycles.
One year he and a teenage friend decided they wanted to take a motorcycle trip. They calculated how far they could go on the gas money that they had and looked at a roadmap. “We saw the name Cedar Vale on a map and decided to go,” Dusty said.
The touch of a button. In modern times, it is possible for the touch of a button on a computer keyboard or other electronic device to connect us to anywhere, if we have quality internet access. Today we’ll learn about an innovative broadband company which is making such high-quality internet access available through fiber optic service to 100 percent of its community.
Last week we learned about Laura and Ronn Martin who recently moved to the Morton County town of Elkhart, Kansas. Ronn has an information technology job so he was able to work from anywhere with good internet access. He found such access in his former hometown of Elkhart. The company which is providing this service is EpicTouch.
Laura was six years old. There was a big present for her under the Christmas tree. She excitedly opened the package and was delighted to find it was a sewing machine from her grandmother. Her interest in sewing grew, and decades later it became a sort of magic carpet which would bring her and her husband back to Kansas.
Laura and Ronn Martin live at Elkhart. They went off to the big city for their careers but came back to Kansas.
Ronn grew up at Elkhart. Laura grew up on a farm near McCracken, a rural community of 190 people. Now, that’s rural.
The two met at Tabor College in Hillsboro. Ronn earned degrees in computer science, and Laura earned degrees in psychology and counseling. They followed his career to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas where he worked in information technology. They also raised a daughter and son.
When Laura was a little girl, her mother had been a seamstress on the farm. “One of my earliest recollections was sitting on my mom’s lap while she sewed,” Laura said. One Christmas, Laura received the aforementioned sewing machine from her grandmother. With help from her other grandma, she even did a 4-H sewing project. Laura loved sewing, but when her mother encouraged her to try quilting, Laura had no interest at the time.
“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.”
Two worlds. When a person from one country comes into a different country, it can feel to them like they have entered another world. That feeling caused one woman to create a bilingual newspaper so as to help others through such
transitions. She has gone on to provide outstanding leadership for the Hispanic community in the Kansas City region.
Clara Reyes is the founder and owner of Dos Mundos, which literally translated means Two Worlds. Dos Mundos is the Spanish and English language newspaper in Kansas City.
Clara grew up in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She wanted to pursue a career as a dentist and graduated from the University of Guadalajara. In 1964, she traveled to Kansas City to explore pursuing her education in dentistry. While there, she met Manuel Reyes and a romance ensued.
Friendship and food. That’s what a person can expect to find in a special restaurant and bakery in a pretty small town setting in a northeast Kansas community. This enterprise has also significantly expanded its catering business in the region.
Mike Pray and Jake Trummer are co-owners of the Friendship House in Wamego, Kansas. The rich history of this eating establishment goes back to the 1980s.
In 1988, an old Dutch windmill was relocated into Wamego’s City Park and used as a site to grind flour. The production of the stone-ground wheat flour gave birth to an idea: Why not bake the flour into a finished product for Wamego’s visitors and residents? Three Wamego women purchased a house adjoining the city park to establish such a place.
Does a little guy have a chance in football? The game of football is obviously populated with big, strong players. For example, the players on the Kansas State University offensive line in 2018 averaged 6 feet 5 inches tall and 306 pounds in weight. Those are some big guys. But sometimes I like to
cheer for the underdog – the little guy. Today we’ll meet a young man from rural Kansas who is small in stature but has made a big mark on K-State’s football season.
Blake Lynch from Goddard, Kansas was the starting placekicker on the K-State football team during the past season. His was one of the feel-good stories of 2018.
Blake grew up west of Wichita at Goddard, a rural community of 4,746 people. Now, that’s rural. His parents are Jason and Kim Lynch. Jason has a roofing and construction business in the Wichita area. Kim attended K-State and Bethel College.
Some call it a major rivalry in Kansas. It was even mentioned by ESPNU announcers during a college football broadcast in fall 2018. But this wasn’t K-State versus KU. It was about fried chicken. These announcers were talking about the preferences of one football player who pointed out that there are lots of places to get good fried chicken in southeast Kansas, but
people’s restaurant choices can get competitive. Some people like a restaurant called Chicken Annie’s. Other people prefer a restaurant called Chicken Mary’s. Whatever the preference, it all means that there’s great fried chicken in southeast Kansas.
The southeast region of Kansas, and particularly Crawford County, has long been known as a great place for fried chicken. Historic restaurants have helped establish this tradition.
According to the Kansas Guidebook 2 for explorers, written by Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the tradition goes back to 1933. In that year, a coal miner named Charley Pichler suffered a disabling accident in Yale Mine No. 13 near Pittsburg, Kansas. His wife Annie needed a way to support the family, so she started selling fried chicken dinners out of their home. In addition to mouth-watering fried chicken, she offered German potato salad, German coleslaw, a strip of green pepper, and a slice of tomato.
Perspective. One’s perspective on how he or she sees things can make all the difference. Today we’ll meet a Kansas broadcaster who has shared an educational perspective with hundreds of students and thousands of listeners across our state.
Richard Baker is a longtime news director for the K-State Radio Network where he produced daily news plus a weekly radio program called Perspective. Richard is also an instructor in the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education.
Richard’s father was career military and served in World War II and Korea. Richard was born in the rural community of Seneca, population 2,039 people. Now, that’s rural. The family later moved to Manhattan when his father served at Fort Riley.
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.