Legs on parade
For a good cause, Bill New posed in his shorts.
Running shorts, that is. Complete with a suit coat, dress shirt and a yellow necktie that matched his yellow shorts.
New, one of eight contestants in the "Best Lookin' Legs in Leavenworth County" fund-raiser, has in the last few weeks become a local celebrity of shorts -- er, sorts.
As chairman of the board of First State Bank and Trust, a lifetime Leavenworth County resident and a lifetime runner, New readily accepted when asked to compete in the contest, sponsored by the Leavenworth County Senior Services. Contestants' pictures are on posters, as well as on coffee cans in which voters can drop coins for their favorite pair of legs.
"I figured if my legs could make some money, I'd do it," said New, whose official contest photo shows him in shorts and T-shirt, standing beside a hearty bovine at his Angus farm northeast of Tonganoxie. "I've never been one to be out and get in the limelight, but I thought if I could help, it certainly would be a worthy cause."
Money generated in the fund-raiser will be used to continue the remodeling of a 5,000-square-foot activity room on the second floor of the Heritage Center, 109 Delaware, in Leavenworth, said Scottie Brezgiel. Brezgiel serves as vice president of Leavenworth County Senior Services, which owns the building. She is also New's assistant at First State Bank and Trust.
Brezgiel said New was a good sport when she asked him to pose in his shorts.
"He just looked at me and said well OK," Brezgiel said. Voters who want to put their two cents in for New can do so at either one of FSB's Tonganoxie locations or in Basehor.
The winner will be announced on Saturday during the annual Octoberfest celebration at The Heritage Center.
Judy Guenther, a receptionist at the Leavenworth Times, is quick to remind callers to vote for her boss, Tom Throne, editor and publisher of the Times.
"Now, you know we have a little can in here," she said, laughing, when she answered the phone Friday morning.
Guenther estimated then that Throne's voting can had about $40 in it.
"I put my 15 cents in, so hey," she added.
For his part, Throne, who was pictured for the contest posing in his shorts beside a Leavenworth Times newspaper rack, is modest.
"I think it's in good fun," Throne said. "I don't have great legs though. I think Jon Crippen ought to win, being a former Nebraska football player."
Crippen is the legs candidate for Commerce Bank.
And, at Lansing City Hall, Mike Smith has taken some good-natured ribbing from council members.
But, there's a plus, Smith said.
At city council meetings, the members passed the hat.
Smith was asked to participate in the legs contest at precisely the right time -- just before he went on vacation.
"When you want me to do something, ask me then, because I'll say yes to almost anything," Smith said.
But the actual posing made him blush, said Smith, who normally wears shorts with below-the-knee hems.
The resulting picture shows the city administrator with shorts that are millimeters above his knees.
"I don't turn red too often, but I can tell you my head was tomato," Smith said. "But I said OK let's take the picture and get this over with."