Rain dampens festival fun
Clouds part about noon for annual celebration
Damp weather Saturday morning certainly put a damper on the 20th annual Tonganoxie Days.
Vendors along Fourth Street protected their booths, as rain and wind hung around throughout the morning.
Tonganoxie's Jennie Miller of And Sew On, a machine embroidery business, said late Saturday morning that she had sold "a couple of things."
"It's a wash-out," Miller, who had set up a booth with friend Johni Foulk, said Saturday morning.
Jim Rogers of the American Legion, however, disagreed.
Although the organization had planned to sell several items at the event, umbrellas were the only item they needed at their booth.
Coincidentally, this was the first year the American Legion sold the umbrellas, which were decorated with an American flag.
"It's just kind of a fluke we had them," Rogers said.
¢ Best of Show -- Neil Barnard, Kansas City, Mo., with his 1941 red Chevrolet convertible.
¢ Best Paint -- Greg and Diane Buckner, Tonganoxie, with their pear white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.
¢ Ladies' Choice -- Neil Barnard, Kansas City, Mo., with his 1941 red Chevrolet convertible.
¢ Best Engine -- Jim and Sue Rhoades, Topeka, with their 1940 Ford truck.
¢ Winner of $600 cash drawing -- Ron Snapp, Tonganoxie.
¢ Class 1, antique cars 1942 and older -- 1. Joe Frevele, Tonganoxie, 1939 Dodge four-door.
¢ Class 2, antique 1943-54 -- 1. Connie Lawson, Kansas City, Kan., 1953 (Cranbrook) Plymouth.
¢ Class 4, original car, 1961-74 -- 1. Jerry and Mary Shields, Kansas City, Mo., 1967 Oldsmobile 88; 2. James Lucas, Paola, 1964 Malibu.
¢ Class 5, original car, 1975 and newer -- 1. Scott Stark from Bonner Springs, 1980 Chevrolet Corvette; 2. Zeb Sanders, Tonganoxie, 1989 Chevrolet Camaro.
¢ Class 7, modified, 1955-60 -- 1. Greg and Diane Buckner, Tonganoxie, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air hard top, Buckners ; 2. Leland McMechan, Lawrence, 1955 Chevrolet 210.
¢ Class 8, modified, 1961-74 -- 1. Jerry Lovell, Tonganoxie, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.
¢ Class 9, modified, 1975 and newer -- Derek Mize, Eudora, 1980 Chevrolet Camaro.
¢ Class 11, street rod coupe, 1948 and older -- 1. Neil Barnard, Kansas City, Mo., 1941 Red Chevrolet convertible; 2. Dan Tallman, Bonner Springs, 1934 Ford coupe.
¢ Class 12, street rod sedan, 1948 and older -- 1. Allen Alexander, Tonganoxie, 1934 Ford two-door; 2. Ben Alexander, Tonganoxie, 1934 Ford two-door.
¢ Class 13, street rod truck, 1948 and older -- 1. Jim and Sue Rhoades, Topeka, 1940 Ford truck.
¢ Class 19, modified truck, 1965-1979 -- 1. Ralph Snyder, Kansas City, Mo., 1966 Chevrolet El Camino; 2. Jerry Starcher, Tonganoxie, 1978 Chevrolet truck.
¢ Class 20, modified truck, 1980 and newer -- 1. Chuck Brown, Lawrence, 2000 Chevrolet S-10 truck; 2. Heath Murry, Tongan-oxie, 1983 Chevrolet truck.
¢ Class 21, pro street -- 1. Gene Poff, Leavenworth, 1950 Willys sedan delivery; 2. Heath Murry, 1967 Chevrolet II truck.
¢ Class 22, unfinished -- 1. Jim Beth, Kansas City, Mo., 1954 Chevrolet two-door sedan.
¢ Class 24, 21 and younger -- 1. Daniel Dressler, Overland Park, 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle; 2. Richard Reishchman, 1992, Chevrolet 1500 truck.
The group started the day with 24 umbrellas. By late morning, they had sold 12.
Ed Boyd of Bonner Springs didn't have similar success. Boyd, who sells wood patio furniture, had a couple people stop by during the rainy morning hours, but that was about it.
Once morning turned to afternoon, however, Tonganoxie Days had a different feel downtown.
The sun finally poked out through the clouds. People started to congregate on Fourth Street as foot traffic suddenly picked up.
The sound of shoes touching asphalt was music to organizer Connie Torneden's ears. Some vendors either packed up early or didn't come at all because of the early rains. But once the sun came out, it was business as usual downtown.
"I was glad to see that," Torneden said. "The vendors that stayed and toughed out the rain seemed to think that they did OK. And they said that they wanted to come back next year so that was good."
Torneden said she thought Saturday marked the first time it rained on Tonganoxie Days when it was held downtown.
The festival is advertised as "rain or shine," which didn't seem to bother some vendors.
"I had one vendor pay for booth space Saturday for next year," Torneden said. "And I had a call yesterday of someone wanting me to send information."
One stitch at a time
One quilt takes at least a year to complete, but Lynn Paul doesn't mind because of the beauty that comes with quilting.
"It's a real art because you come up with all these different designs," she said.
Paul and other area residents got the chance to display their stitched artwork Saturday at the annual quilt show, part of Tonganoxie Days.
The show featured 39 quilts, including several pre-1955 vintage quilts, and fancy needlework pieces. The show also featured demonstrations on quilting and weaving.
This year's show was the fourth year quilts have been displayed during Tonganoxie Days, said Frances Frick coordinator from Sacred Heart Altar Society. Frick, along with Janet Stucky, sent fliers to community members to display their quilts or needlework at the show, which was open to everyone.
The number of quilts has remained around 40 each year, but every quilt on display Saturday was different from previous years, Frick said.
Paul, who led quilting demonstration, displayed five quilts and three miniatures. The sampler quilt -- each piece had a different design -- on display took her nearly three years to make. She pieced it together in 1998, but didn't finish quilting until 2001.
Quilting is the actual stitching of the quilt's three layers. Each quilt is full-bed size.
Paul's father, Fred Leimkuhler, 84, demonstrated weaving on a loom he built in the 1980s. Similar to Paul, Leimkuhler enjoys the artful process of weaving.
"As you sit here, you can see your pattern developing," he said, sitting in from of his homemade loom.
The show was sponsored by the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society and the Sacred Heart Altar Society.
This year's Tonganoxie Days demolition derby could have been a bit drier.
"It was a mud-fest," organizer Chris Blauvelt said. "The pits were horrible."
But that didn't stop the derby from the continuing. The event was more down and dirty, with vehicles slopping around in the mud, but area cars won titles in three events Saturday at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.
In the modified division, Linwood's Chris Demaranville took home the top spot, while Richard Neis of Eudora earned top honors in the compact class.
And in the main feature, Daniel Smith of Kansas City, Kan., was the last car standing.
Here are the top placers in each derby race:
- Modified class: 1. Chris DeMaranville, Linwood; 2. Mike Peterson, Kansas City, Kan.; 3. Brad Lancaster, Weston, Mo.
- Compact class: 1. Richard Neis, Eudora; 2. Billy Wood Jr., Eudora; 3. Nick Bass, Leavenworth; 4. Bill Wood Sr., Eudora.
- Main feature: 1. Daniel Smith, Kansas City, Kan.; 2. Mike Stein, Leavenworth; 3. Kenny Patterson, Tonganoxie; 4. Steve Trieb, Tonganoxie.
Barbecue is king
Rain that stretched from Friday evening through late Saturday morning didn't stop 27 teams from competing in this year's barbecue cook-off at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.
"Since it quit raining, it's a lot better," Bill Heard said Saturday afternoon.
Heard and his three teammates of Oskaloosa-based Big Daddy's BBQ had managed to stay dry under their covered tent as they prepared through Friday night for Saturday's competition.
"Every team stays up all night," Heard said. "You just don't have enough time for sleep."
Each team is responsible for every preparation -- from firing up the grill to making its own sauce.
This year's grand champion was Smokin' Guns from North Kansas City, Mo. Parrothead, an annual competitor from South Dakota, won the reserve grand champion ribbon.
In addition to competing for the grand prize of overall best barbecue, each team competed in four categories: chicken, ribs, Boston butt pork roast and beef brisket.
Each entry had to be turned in every half-hour, starting at noon Saturday. The brisket was the last of the four entries turned in at 1:30 p.m.
To be fair, the judges replaced every group's official number with a new number for each entry. For example, Big Daddy's BBQ had number 13, but was given the number 29 for its chicken entry.
Big Daddy's BBQ first competed in Tonganoxie in 2000 when it won its first ribbon. The team has never won a grand champion ribbon, but it did win the reserve grand champion ribbon in 2003. The team attends competitions throughout northeast Kansas, including Lawrence and Leavenworth.
They have also competed in Oklahoma, but Heard said the 100-degree Oklahoma heat was unbearable.
"You don't go south in the summer and cook barbecue," he said.
The team included Bill's wife, Darla, his brother, Rod, and their friend, Eddie Rogers. Bill, Darla and Rod grew up in Tonganoxie.
Despite the hard work, Heard and his teammates said they enjoyed the competition. But after Saturday afternoon, the team members probably didn't have any local barbecue.
"After cooking for two days, we usually go to Sonic because barbecue just doesn't sound good," Heard said, laughing.
Cruisin' at the park
Rain kept several hot rods away Saturday from the Country Cruisers Car Show at VFW Park.
Last year, the show attracted 83 vehicles. This year, the show consisted of 38 cars.
Derek Mize of Eudora, who brought a car to the show in 2004, braved the elements again.
"I have a better chance this year," Mize said about winning a trophy.
Later that day, Mize's modified 1980 Chevrolet Camaro earned first prize in the modified division for cars from 1975 and newer.
Owners had vehicles shined up and ready to roll when they came to the car show. But rain forced last-minute detailing.
"It's kind of frustrating, but it's not too bad," Mize said. "That's why they say rain or shine at these classic car shows."
Mize, who also owns a 1967 Camaro, has been interested in cars most of his life. His father, after all, owns a body shop in Oskaloosa.
A 1972 Chevelle was parked a few cars to the north of Mize's Camaro. The Chevelle, owned by Daniel Dressler of Overland Park, has gone through a major transformation during the last year and a half.
A photo album of pictures showing how the car looked 18 months ago rested on the car's engine.
The vehicle at the car show in no way resembled the photos taken more than a year ago.
Dressler said the restoration could have been completed in less time, but he only could work on the project on weekends. He and his parents also had an agreement.
"I had to keep my grades up to work on it," the high school student said.
Dressler didn't leave the show empty-handed. He won first prize in the 21-and-younger owner division.
Dressler, like Mize, was busy cleaning his car as the clouds cleared out and gave way to an afternoon of sunshine.
"Everyone's up against the same situation," Dressler said, referring to the rain.
"You've got to sweat a little bit and keep yours shining like the next guy."
The Tonganoxie Days car show marked Dressler's first, but he hopes to enter in several more.
Richard Reischman, a 2005 Tonganoxie High graduate, placed second in the 21-and-younger category with Dressler.
Reischman displayed a 1992 Chevy 1500 truck that he customized through a class at an auto body, collision and repair school in Kansas City.
On Friday, Reischman, who lives on a gravel road, parked his truck in a friend's garage in Tonganoxie hoping to avoid the rain. Saturday morning, a flustered Reischman re-cleaned his truck at the car show.
"I cleaned it all up yesterday," Reischman said.
At previous car shows, rows of cars could be seen throughout VFW Park. On Saturday, numbers were small enough that the cars lined the parking area leading into the park.
Despite the lower turnout, organizer Chip Marquardt was pleased that nearly 40 cars still made their way to VFW Park for the show.
Several trophies were given out at the event, but organizers also drew a name for a $600 cash prize. Tonganoxie's Ron Snapp won the money, but donated $300 to Tonganoxie police Lt. John Putthoff for medical expenses. Putthoff underwent a liver transplant last month.
Marquardt said proceeds from the Country Cruisers car show itself go toward scholarships for students entering the automobile field, to adopt families during Thanksgiving and Christmas and assist the Family Alliance Shelter, along with other organizations.
Donations help family
On May 7, Tonganoxie police Lt. John Putthoff underwent a liver transplant. Since then the community has stepped forward to help the Putthoff family with medical expenses.
For Saturday's Tonganoxie Days celebration, Matt and Vickie Bichelmeyer planned a barbecue sandwich fund-raiser. Originally, they planned to hold it outside their Fourth Street restaurant, Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse. But because of rain, it was kept inside.
On Monday, Matt Bichelmeyer said the drive raised about $450.
"We charged six bucks," he said. "Everybody put in $10 or $15. As a matter of fact, one guy donated $50 and just took three sandwiches."
At Country Cruisers car show, held Saturday at VFW Park as part of Tonganoxie Days festivities, Ron Snapp, Tonganoxie, won a $600 drawing and donated half to the Putthoffs.
Saturday morning's rain didn't prevent 110 entrants from participating in the Friends of the Library Fun Walk, and 10K and 5K run.
Debbie Zerrer, who has helped with the run for three years, said Saturday's was the largest turnout since she's helped organize the event.
"Most of the participants might be there to compete with others, or to compete with themselves, trying to better their previous time," Zerrer said.
The race started at 7:30 a.m. and continued into the morning. Midway through the first race, rain started to fall but Zerrer said it didn't stop anyone from competing.
Trophies were awarded to the top-three female and male participants for both the 10K and 5K race, and a medal is awarded to the first-place winner in each age group.
The winners were:
First: Theodore Roundface and Jeanie Reams. Second: Marr Riley and Caren Chellgren. Third: Ben Coffman and Samantha Foulk.
13 and younger: Thomas Reams and Taylor Tummons.
14-19: Levi Huseman and Jeanie Reams.
20-29: Thomas Powell and Marsha Tinder.
30-39: Matt Bond and Suzette Downing.
40-49: Paul Boone and Terri Huseman.
50-59: Keith Dowell, Jeanie Williams.
60 and up: Tom Lobb.
First: Joe Schur and Dawn Calbi.
Second: Jay O'Neil and Marsha Odgers.
Third: William Eakin.
20-29: Jason Carrillo.
30-39: Edward Grusch and Donna Myers.
40-49: Mike Buckley and Rhonda Andrews.
50-59: Roger Schnell and Diana Bahr.
Flag Day ceremony
Tonganoxie VFW post commander Larry Meadows planned on a fly-over for Saturday's Flag Day ceremonies at VFW Park.
But Meadows learned last week that the Air Force didn't have enough pilots for Saturday's scheduled fly-over.
Without an aerial show, the ceremony opened with the singing of the national anthem. A rifle salute followed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the ceremony ended with the playing of "Taps."
"We were able to have it at the spur of the moment," Meadows said.
Four participants of the Miss Tonganoxie pageant walked away with crowns Friday night.
Winners were Katy Kolman, Miss Tonganoxie; Junior Miss Tonganoxie, Taylar Morgan; Petite Miss Tonganoxie, Micaela Weaver; and Tiny Miss Tonganoxie, Rylie Putthoff.
Those who participated in the Miss Tonganoxie pageant included:
Birth to 1 year: Anastasia Johnson, Johanna Williams and Gertchen Bannwarth.
1 to 2 years: Kaila Jarman, Taylor High, Rylie Putthoff and Tessa Calovich.
2 to 3 years: Abigail Marcouillier, Merkaia Khanthabourty, Demi Hull and Molly Blankenship.
4 to 6 years: Micaela Weaver.
7 to 9 years: Taylar Morgan, Rachel Gumm, Jordan Tannehill and Ashley O'Connor.
10 to 12 years: Katelyn Colgrove and Niki Beggs.
13 to 15 years: Katy Kolman and Kelsey Conrad.
16 to 19 years: Amie Riddle.
The pageant, sponsored by Starstruck Dance Studio, was held in the administration building at the fairgrounds.
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